Friday, March 4, 2016

Major League Baseball proposes to go into business with Castro Inc.

Major League Baseball's indecent proposal
Antonio Castro, Cuban dictatorship's point man for baseball business
Major League Baseball has sent a proposal to the U.S. Treasury Department that will turn baseball players into foreign workers of the Castro family while playing in the United States. This may already be going on informally with some recent "defectors" to the United States who have been allowed to return to Cuba. The Castro regime began "allowing" its players to play professionally in Mexico, Canada and Japan in 2013 for a percentage of their contracts.  
"MLB's proposal includes the creation of a license that allows players from Cuba to enter the United States on a visa. Additionally, the plan includes the creation of a new non-governmental body made up of Cuban entrepreneurs, MLB officials and the MLB Players Association. According to the proposal, a percentage of salaries paid to Cuban players would go to the non-governmental body."
Cuba in 2016 remains structurally a totalitarian state in practice. Independent non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are illegal but the regime there for years now has set up what human rights organizations call GONGOs (governmental non-governmental organizations). These GONGOs are controlled by the dictatorship. What Major League Baseball is proposing to the Treasury Department is a path for it to go into business with the Castro dictatorship which continues to control the entire economy.

The man that Major League Baseball is dealing with is Antonio Castro, vice president of the Castro regime's International Baseball Federation, and Fidel Castro's son. There is a propaganda offensive underway to promote and portray in a positive light the next generation of the Castro regime as the dictatorship now prepares for a generational succession.

However, when the dictator's son was photographed in Turkey in June of 2015 when leaving a restaurant he had his bodyguards beat up the reporters and try to take their cameras.  Antonio Castro had arrived on board his 160 foot yacht from the Greek island of Mykonos and booked five en suite rooms at a luxury hotel for himself and his entourage. 

This lavish lifestyle does not come cheap. The Castro regime exports workers abroad and gets billions of dollars a year with this practice. In 2014 the Cuban dictatorship forecast "$8.2 billion from sending doctors and nurses abroad." In order to achieve these results the health workers are paid miserable wages and as a result some defect.

Under an agreement signed in 2013 with Cuba through the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), the Cuban health workers get only one-fifth of the 10,000 reais ($4,100) a month that Brazil pays each physician in the program. The rest goes to the Castro regime. The Cuban health workers get paid 800 reais ($328) in Brazil and 1,200 ($492) reais are deposited in an account in Cuba for their families, who are not allowed to accompany them to Brazil. One can expect a similar arrangement for Cuban baseball players.

However, in extreme cases this arrangement can descend into de facto slavery as was revealed in the 2006 Curaçao Drydock Company lawsuit which the Business and Human Rights Resource Center described as follows:

In August 2006 three Cuban nationals accused Curaçao Drydock Company of subjecting them to forced labour in a lawsuit in US federal court under the Alien Tort Claims Act and other laws.  They alleged that the company conspired with the Cuban Government to traffic them and other workers to Curaçao to work for Curaçao Drydock Company as part of a forced labour programme.  The workers allegedly worked 16-hour days in dangerous conditions.  The workers were unpaid; instead their compensation was deducted from Cuba’s debt to the company.
The treatment of baseball players in Cuba, as Cubans in general, is as a resource to be exploited by the Castro regime. In the past when baseball players escaped from the dictatorship, friends and family members would be punished by the dictatorship. A high profile example occurred when Liván Hernández fled Cuba in 1995 to play in the Major Leagues. His brother, Orlando Hernández was banned from baseball and living in a shack behind the house of his best friend. Punishment for his brother leaving. Orlando would flee Cuba on December 25, 1997 and go on to a great career in the Major Leagues after having been forbidden to play baseball for two years in Cuba.

Brothers Liván and Orlando Hernández
With this new proposal Major League Baseball is going into business with a regime that treats baseball players like chattel, the same way they do with all Cubans. Shameful.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Muy estimado John,

    I just read your post and enjoyed it thoroughly as I'm always interested in lo que esta pasando en la isla.

    I have to say that hopefully we are nearing a time when Cubans will not be treated like chattel. It is shameful that the MLBPA is now endeavoring to align themselves with a regime that consumes the freedom of its people.

    Shameful, indeed.

    Furthermore, as developers of a baseball tabletop game centered around the MLB structure, we would cease to seek any ties in the future to the MLBPA if this becomes a reality.

    Most people, when they think about or discuss Cuba, have very little knowledge about what's really going on. If they only knew.

    Best regards,

    Jody Pike Mendez
    Game designer, Roll Saga Baseball

    1. Thank you Jody! Boycotting them and hitting them in the pocket book is something that they understand.

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