Cuba’s state media on Sunday lashed out after nearly a dozen Cuban baseball players defected in Mexico – believed to be one of the country’s largest and most embarrassing known incidents of mass defection in years.
Eleven young baseball players defected from the national team during a tournament for players under the age of 23, which began last month. The remaining Cuban players on the team are due to return to the communist-run island on Monday.
A statement from Cuba’s National Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation (INDER) slammed the missing players for “weak morals and ethics.”
Cuban officials also blamed the US for restrictions that force Cuban players to defect in order to play in the Major Leagues.
Typically only the players who are seen as most loyal to the government are selected to play abroad and are accompanied by government chaperones to prevent them from defecting.
Cuba has been hard hit economically during the pandemic with few tourists visiting and restrictions on international flights which has prevented many Cubans from leaving the island.