The newly elected president of the Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB), Juan Reynaldo Pérez Pardo, gave a press conference this Tuesday at the Latin American Stadium, in Havana, in which he addressed various current issues for sports on the island and the projections of the federation he heads.
Before answering the questions from the media, the official released a document in which he established its position in relation to several of these issues, including the recent creation in the city of Miami of the Association of Cuban Professional Baseball Players (ACPBP).
La ACPBP intenta usurpar roles legítimos del #BeisbolCubano Así trasciende en un documento entregado hoy a la prensa en el Estadio Latinoamericano. #Cuba #BaseBall https://t.co/w0lj1O9V1P pic.twitter.com/gGUM1npOoj
— JIT Deporte Cubano (@jit_digital) April 12, 2022
Said entity, which has received the support of several former players and active players, as well as a group of fans from inside and outside the island, announced that one of its objectives was to form a team with players inserted in the Major Leagues (MLB) to represent Cuba in international tournaments, including the 2023 World Classic.
In this sense, the FCB document indicates that it rejects what it considers a “new monstrosity created by enemies of the Revolution,” and points out that its position has the public support of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) and other international organizations.
About the WBSC, the text highlights the “long and fruitful working relations,” “increased in recent years by its president Riccardo Fraccari and the unfortunately deceased Higinio Vélez Carrión.” In addition, it states that “providing legitimacy to the ACPBP would set a disastrous precedent for the development of baseball worldwide.”
In turn, the FCB questions the “markedly political and discriminatory” purposes of the newly created organization, as well as its declared intention to “usurp the role assigned to the FCB in terms of forming and endorsing the participation of teams from our country in international events, including the World Classic, contractually linked to the World Baseball Softball Confederation.
Regarding relations with the MLB (another of the organizers of the Classic), the Cuban federation expressed in its statement that it intends to extend the “respectful, ethical and professional” rapprochement that led to the agreement between the two entities signed in December 2018 and subsequently disabled by the Trump administration.
The FCB underlines that it aspires to maintain a stable and non-politicized relationship with the MLB “that guarantees the natural flow of Cuban players to and from that circuit” and that the ill-fated agreement represented “an effective tool against illegal emigration, human trafficking and other risks to our players and their families.”
For the Cuban side, vetoing the aforementioned agreement meant stripping the FCB of relations similar to those that the MLB maintains with various leagues in the world such as the Japanese, Korean, and Taipei, among others.
However, the document does not refer to the arguments of the detractors of the agreement and the administration of then President Trump, who pointed out that the FCB was a Cuban government organization, and its relationship with the MLB violated the provisions of the economic and financial embargo imposed by the United States more than six decades ago.
The FCB also points out in its document that those who play in the MLB do not constitute exceptions in its purpose of summoning Cuban players residing abroad for certain international commitments, and that when the time comes “the calls will be designed based on the prominence of the event and the technical-tactical demands.”
Other issues addressed in the statement were Cuba’s vision of the Caribbean Series and the relationship with the Caribbean Professional Baseball Confederation (CBPC). It recognizes that tournament “as a natural competitive scenario for the champion of our National Series,” taking into account that Cuba was one of its founding countries. Thus, it defends the right to have full membership in the CBPC, a position that it has assumed during the editions organized between 2014 and 2019 to which Cuba attended as a guest.
Relations between the FCB and the CBPC were markedly damaged when Cuba questioned the position of the regional body and its president, the Dominican Juan Francisco Puello, and considered that they yielded to “arbitrary pressure from the United States” to prevent the Cuban team from obtaining the visas to attend the 59th edition of the tournament that was held in San Juan, Puerto Rico in early 2020.
In addition to the election of the new president, the Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB) also renewed the members of its executive.
According to information from Jit, Pérez Pardo, who has served as national commissioner since September 2021, has a doctorate in Physical Culture Sciences and succeeds Higinio Vélez Carrión, who died on May 12 of that year due to complications associated with COVID-19.
From now on, the positions of vice president will be held by Rodolfo Puentes Zamora and Germán Mesa Fresneda, two former players with notable careers in the National Series and in international tournaments, the media reported.
Carlos del Pino Muñoz will act as Secretary General of the entity, Luis Daniel del Risco del Río will remain in the position of Treasurer and the members will be Margarita Mayeta Hierrezuel, Eros Bernal Morales, Víctor José Cuesta Padrón, Yovani Aragón Rodríguez, Judith Langaney Marrero and Wilfredo Sánchez González.