The Future of Cuban Athletes
Fidel Castro banned professional sports in 1962, but the Caribbean island has given some exceptional sports figures. Let's take for example Miami Marlins pitcher and Santa Clara native José Fernández, who died in a tragic boating accident off of Miami Beach in the early hours of 25 September 2016. He was already an American citizen, years after surviving several harrowing attempts to cross the straits. Three times he and his mother had tried to get to Florida by boat, and each time the U.S. Coast Guard intercepted them and sent them back to Cuba, reports Roads and Kingdoms magazine.
Fernández will not celebrate its sports success in Havana, where Castro managed to build the 55,000-seat capacity Estadio Latinoamericano. The stadium hosted a baseball game between Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team during President Obama’s historic 48-hour visit to Havana last year. There wasn’t an empty seat in the house, yet, in accordance with the Cuban state’s philosophy on sport and cultural events, not a single ticket was sold for money.
This was why so many understood the hell it had been for so many Cuban athletes to remain on the island, reports Roads and Kingdoms. Away from the field, however, conditions for sport in Cuba have drastically changed over the last 20 years. Over the last 15 months, 115 players from the Cuban National series have left Cuba and gutted the once dominant Cuban national team to find their American Dream.
Read more in Roads and Kingdoms.