By Ronal Quiñones
HAVANA TIMES – I thought we wouldn’t touch on this topic again, but this week the controversy surrounding the Cuban Professional Baseball Federation (Fepcube) team based in Miami increased instead of decreasing, particularly within the Cuban community there.
The team had attempted to participate in the 2024 Intercontinental Series, scheduled to take place from January 26 to February 1 in Barranquilla, Colombia. However, pressures from the Cuban government led to the cancellation of the tournament.
Beyond the sports aspect, the debate intensified in the United States due to the “concessions” the team had to make to participate in the event, which was their primary goal, regardless of what happened on the baseball fields.
To achieve this goal, a powerful blow to the Cuban dictatorship, as demonstrated by the repressive machinery’s effort to stop them, they decided to forgo carrying the Cuban flag and singing the National Anthem.
In a way, they tried to follow Russia’s current approach, where athletes are currently unable to compete with their anthem and flag. However, unlike them, the intention was to sing the anthem, even acapella, as the most crucial thing was to be there and be present for the civic and social significance it entailed.
The “play ball” call never happened, but Fepcube faced fierce attacks from the Cuban exile community, not only for making concessions but also for raising money for the cause, even though there are millionaires among them. The integrity of some individuals associated with the project was also questioned due to their past with the official Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB).
In this regard, former pitcher José Ariel Contreras, who may not be able to return to Cuba after this, was very clear and explained the pressures Cuban athletes in all sports face. To carry out their work, they have to lower th