Trump Cancels MLB Deal With Cuba Because Obama

The Washington Post reports:

The Trump administration canceled a four-month-old deal between Major League Baseball and the Cuban Baseball Federation Monday, saying that the federation was part of the Cuban government and trade with it was illegal under current law.

The announcement came less than two weeks after the start of the 2019 baseball season, and just days after the federation released the names of 34 Cuban players it said were eligible to sign with Major League Baseball. Some of those players were expected to be signed and playing this year.

NBC News reports:

The Obama-era policy came as former President Obama had worked toward rapprochement with Cuba during his second term, re-launching diplomatic relations after more than half-century of enmity.

It was intended to avoid the previous scenario under which Cuban players who wanted to play on U.S. teams had to defect and declare residency in the U.S. to join a team. Doing so often meant coming into contact with organized crime groups and risking violence.

“The MLB deal with Cuba solved a horrible human trafficking problem,” said James Williams, who runs the group Engage Cuba that promotes closer ties between the U.S. and the island. “By breaking that deal, the White House now owns this and exposes Cuban players to human rights abuses.”