Baseball player Yulieski Gourriel is denied entry to Cuba after more than five years away from the island

Baseball player Yulieski Gourriel is denied entry to Cuba after more than five years away from the island

The Cuban immigration authorities denied this Saturday the entry to Cuba of the baseball player Yulieski Gourriel who left the Cuba team in the 2016 Caribbean Series that was played in the Dominican Republic. The relatives of Yuli they were waiting for him in Varadero where they were going to spend a few days on vacation together, according to reports the portal Full Swing.

The refusal to enter the country was only communicated to Gourriel, now a player for the Houston Astros, a few moments before boarding the flight that would take him to Havana. One of his relatives published the news on social networks: “Heading to Varadero to reunite with the Gourriel Castillo family. The main character will be missing for reasons beyond his control, and yes by the will of others.”

When the 37-year-old player left the Cuban team in 2016, he did so with his brother, Lourdes Gourriel, and a few months after his arrival in the United States, he signed a contract with the Houston Astros for four years in exchange for 56 million dollars.

The refusal to enter the country was only communicated to Gourriel a few moments before boarding the flight that would take him to Havana.

The sources of Full Swing They assure that Gourriel’s entry, scheduled for this Saturday, would take place without problems because “everything was in order” with the part of the migration authorities on the Island. However, at the last minute, a decision “taken from above” it ruined what would be the player’s first visit to Cuba.

In February 2021, Gourriel completed five years of having left the Cuban team, but most athletes who are considered deserters must pay an eight-year penalty in which they cannot return to the island after escaping from a national team during a competition. international.

The escape of two members of the so-called “Gourriel clan” surprised experts and fans at the time. Yulieski was seen as one of the top prospects for his major league deals through deals with the Cuban Baseball Federation, an opportunity that has fizzled out over the years.

In recent days, Lisban Correa, El Billy, stayed for more than two hours at the José Martí airport, before being returned to Panama after being banned from entering the country due to his inclusion on the list of deserting athletes, for having abandoned a contract while playing in Mexico.

In the last six years, official figures indicate that at least 635 baseball players left Cuba through different routes. If the entire decade is taken into account, there would be a total of 862 athletes from all kinds of disciplines who left the Island and, since 2012, 2,344 coaches have fled, 85 of them very high level.

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