As my parents remember, professional sports were outlawed in Cuba in 1961.
That was then, or the days of the Soviet subsidy and when the regime survived stealing the property of Cubans and foreign interests.
Cuba had the best winter ball league before Castro. The rosters included Cubans, like Minnie Minoso and Camilo Pascual, and many American players looking to make a good impression before spring training. It was an elite winter league.
This is now, or the reality that Cuba desperately needs hard currency and no one is lining up to lend the regime any money. Why would you lend money to an enterprise that defaults often?
A few weeks ago, the Castro regime made a change and announced that Cuban athletes could play overseas.
Alfredo Despaigne is the first "test case" for Castro Inc. The arrangement is that the regime keeps 20% of the salary. He played in Mexico this year and hit well.
However, Cuban players want to play in the US because they know that the best baseball is in the majors.
They "defect" and run great personal risks to play here. Some of these defectors are Puig of LA, Cespedes of Oakland, Ramirez of Chicago and the young Martin in Texas.
Major League baseball, and the US government, should take a tough position against Castro Inc. when it comes to these ballplayers.
I believe that Commissioner Selig and the players' union should make it clear that MLB is not going to play this game. The players should be free to sign their own deals and negotiate directly with a team. They should not be forced to share their income with Castro Inc.
Last, but not least, there is also the issue of "the embargo" and money flow between the island and the US.
Let's fill the majors with Cuban players. However, let them be "FREE" Cuban players not "servants" of Castro Inc.