During the recent Women’s World Baseball Cup held in Edmonton from August 10-19, much was made in the monopoly media of the so-called “defection” of four players from the Cuban women’s team. The first player who left the team immediately entered the United States, clearly pointing to U.S. involvement in the incidents. This is not surprising. The U.S. ruling circles have long tried to use promises of high salaries to lure Cuban baseball players to the U.S., beginning in 1991 with Rene Arocha who left a plane in Miami, the main U.S. hotbed of anti-Cuba organizations and activities. The golden promises of imperialism have long ago proven to be fraudulent as only a handful of tempted players have ever actually become members of U.S. professional teams, with most only for a short time.
The long-term U.S. program to steal athletes from Cuba and other countries has extended beyond baseball but has been met by principled resistance by almost every Cuban athlete. Teofilo Stephenson, the Cuban champion heavyweight boxer who won three gold medals at the Olympics (1972, 1976, and 1980), three golds at the World Amateur Championships, and two golds at the Pan-American games, and who passed away on June 11, 2012, was also approached with promises of a lucrative professional career in the U.S. Stevenson, who defeated at least three subsequent U.S. professional heavyweight champions at the Olympics, and was often referred to as “the greatest fighter who never turned pro” refused. In 1974, he turned down a $5 million offer to fight U.S, champion Muhammad Ali, responding, “No, I will not leave my country for one million dollars or for much more than that. What is a million dollars against eight million Cubans who love me?”
In their articles about the Edmonton tournament, the monopoly media freely use the Cold War term “defectors” to deliberately suggest that the four Cuban players are not returning to Cuba for political reasons, trying to turn the incidents into another political attack on Cuba. This is ridiculous as it is well known that millions of people emigrate every year from countries around the world, including the United States, for many different reasons. For example, Wikipedia states that, “As of 2010, the number of American long-term residents in the United Kingdom giving up on their U.S. citizenship has overwhelmed the U.S. embassy to the point where waiting lists extend for more than half a year.” If the monopoly media is so interested in “defections” why not write an article on the hundreds of thousands of defectors from the United States?
Glaringly, the monopoly media articles about the Edmonton tournament make no mention that Cuba has been under an economic blockade by the United States that began in 1958 with an arms embargo even before the January 1, 1959 Cuban Revolution. In March 1960, President Eisenhower approved a covert action plan that included: a) termination of sugar purchases b) the end of oil deliveries c) continuation of the 1958 arms embargo, and, (d) organization of a paramilitary force of Cuban exiles to invade Cuba. This plan led to the dismal failure of the U.S.-organized Playa Giron (Bay of Pigs) invasion on April 16, 1961, which was routed by the Cuban people. Over the decades, the U.S. has tightened the blockade, for example, the Torricelli Act (1992) and the Helm-Burton Act (1996), to try to force the Cuban people to change their political views and organization, all to no avail. The Cuban people continue to stand up for their right to determine their own future and refuse to be intimidated.
The relevance of the 54-year long illegal U.S. blockade is that it has had a very negative effect on the Cuban economy, creating much hardship for the Cuban people. That is why it is opposed by the majority of the world’s people. In the last United Nations General Assembly vote on the blockade in October 2011, 186 countries voted against the Cuba blockade with only the U.S. and Israel voting in favour. This was the 20th consecutive United Nations resolution by a huge majority calling for an end to the blockade. However, the United States, which calls itself a “democracy” still ignores world opinion and international law, and fanatically continues its illegal measures against the Cuban people. The U.S. ruling circles still futilely dream of restoring a pre-revolutionary Cuba run by U.S. sugar millionaires and mafia gangsters but those days are long gone.
It is estimated that since 1994, the reinforcement of the U.S. blockade has damaged the Cuban economy in terms of lost income and forced expenditure to the tune of one billion dollars, which is equal to half of the country’s current import capacity. Even though international law clearly forbids stopping the flow of food and medical supplies, Cuban patients have been deprived of every medication internationally patented by any U.S. manufacturer since 1980. This covers almost half of newly discovered medicines. The decades-long U.S. attack on the living conditions of the Cuban people is likely the most important factor in causing a few random individuals to succumb to the false promises of U.S. agents and their counterparts in foreign countries. The rest continue to emulate their champion Teofilo Stevenson. As former Cuban heavyweight Félix Savon said at Stevenson’s funeral, “They offered him, offered him and offered him and he did not abandon his country.”