MIAMI, United States. — The performance of Team Asere in the recently concluded World Baseball Classic and the controversy surrounding the integration of the team continue to give people something to talk about.
This Wednesday, in your YouTube space Right of ReplyCuban filmmaker Ian Padrón revealed fragments of an interview with pitcher Yoan López before the event, in which he discussed details about the conditions imposed by the ballplayers from the island who were active abroad and who were summoned by the Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB).
López, who currently plays for the Yomiuri Giants of the Japan Professional Baseball League (NPB), said at the time that one of the players’ conditions was not to be involved in political acts or in exchanges with island authorities.
“We do not want to be part of something being mixed up, because when they go to the flag we all know, and it is not a secret to anyone, the government people go and we do not want to be there,” he explained.
According to the pitcher, the response from the FCB was that the Cuba team would not be involved in issues related to politics and propaganda, although, in reciprocity, the players should avoid, at the request of the authorities, phrases such as “Homeland and Life”.
“The only response we received was ‘we are not going to link the political with sport.’ We ask for respect about that. When we demanded that, they had no problem, and they know how we think about the system. And they ask us then: we are not going to impose ‘Patria o muerte’ on them, but we are not going to allow ‘Patria y Vida’”, pointed out López, who got off the payroll before the start of the contest.
The promises made by the Cuban authorities would be broken even before the team left Cuba, when the ruler Miguel Díaz-Canel visited a training session of the national team at the Latin American Stadium.
Throughout the tournament, and to the extent that Team Asere recovered from the two initial defeats against the Netherlands and Italy, won its qualifying group and advanced to the semifinals in Miami, the Castroite staff did not skimp on trying to get political gain from the team’s performance.
On Friday, January 17, in a political-cultural act held on the steps of the University of Havana, Díaz-Canel himself asked Cubans to support Team Asere and, immediately afterwards, called on them to vote for the Revolution in the upcoming elections on March 26.