BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Senator Ben Cardin released a statement in regards to a new agreement allowing Cuban baseball players a safe and legal path to play professionally in the United States.
In the past, players had to defect from Cuba and were often trafficked off the island by smugglers. Now, Cuba’s baseball federation reached a deal with Major League Baseball (MLB.)
MLB teams who sign Cuban players under the new system will now pay a so-called “release fee” and the players can keep their Cuban residency. Similar fees are paid to pro clubs in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
“This agreement will put an end to these dangerous practices, while extending greater freedom to the Cuban people and enhancing our shared national pastime,” Senator Cardin said in his statement.
He also mentioned he remained concerned about the Cuban government’s “horrendous record on human rights” but that he advocates for “greater engagement – not isolation – is required to increase liberties and freedoms for the Cuban people.”