Cuban Athlete Defections Continue

Christine Rousselle
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Posted: Jul 27, 2015 11:50 AM
Cuban Athlete Defections Continue

I wrote last week about the surprising number of Cuban athletes who have defected to the United States in the past month at various athletic tournaments. The string of Cuban defections continued this weekend, as one half of Cuba's men's field hockey team defected to the United States at the Pan-American Games in Toronto. Eight of the 16 members of the team defected to the U.S. and deserted the team as the games drew to a close. The lack of team members forced Cuba to play a modified version of the game with fewer players.

From AFP:

The sources said eight of the 16 Cuban players had deserted, while team member Roger Aguilera put the number at seven, just the latest in a rash of Cuban defections across several sports.

"Everyone knows what happened to our team, we have seven of them in the United States," said Aguilera, after the decimated Cubans were hammered 13-0 by Trinidad and Tobago.

Short of manpower, Cuba could only field eight players instead of the standard 11 plus five substitutes.

While things may be different in Cuba, some things sadly remain the same. Although athletes in Cuba typically enjoy a more privileged status over ordinary Cubans, they're still trying to flee at the first opportunity.