Cuba to Let Athletes Play in Other Countries

But apparently not in the US, at least for now
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2013 5:20 PM CDT
Cuba to Let Athletes Play in Other Countries
In this 2011 file photo, Cuba's Frederich Cepeda is congratulated by teammates after scoring during a Baseball World Cup game.   (AP Photo/Andres Leighton, File)

Pro athletes in Cuba make all of $20 a month, which goes a long way toward explaining why so many baseball players, boxers, and others have been defecting of late. But now the government hopes to remedy that: New rules will let Cuban athletes sign contracts to play in foreign lands for the first time, reports Reuters. It's a little unclear, however, whether that means baseball players will be able to jump to American teams. Both Reuters and AP think Cuban officials will prevent that, at least in the near future, because of the American embargo on Cuba.

Athletes who want to play elsewhere will still have to fulfill some obligations to their homeland, including a pledge to compete on behalf of Cuba in international competitions. Raul Castro's government also is raising athletes' monthly pay from that measly $20 to somewhere between $40 and $200, says Reuters. Now contrast that with the seven-year deal for $42 million signed by Cuban defector Yasiel Puig with the Dodgers. (Read more Cuba stories.)

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