December 17 marked one year since President Obama announced historic steps to begin the process of normalizing relations with Cuba. One of the most exciting opportunities opened by the Administration’s policy is strengthening our ties with the Cuban people, including through educational exchanges.
The Dodgers arrived in Cuba Tuesday on a goodwill mission for the first time in 16 years, inspiring hope that Cuban-American relations are headed for better. [...] If Cuban-American relations eventually allow Cubans to freely leave, it wouldn’t initially have a huge impact on the MLB, says Joe Kehoskie, the first non-Cuban, American baseball agent to sign Cuban defectors.
The PD implications of a baseball goodwill mission to Cuba.
For half a century after Cuba’s revolution in 1959, the island’s sports fans knew little of professional leagues beyond their shores. But today, thanks to the internet’s belated arrival and a wave of Cuban players defecting and starring in MLB, in-depth knowledge of American baseball is a badge of honor for baseball-loving Cubans—that is, nearly all the men and plenty of the women, too.
Some of Major League Baseball's biggest Cuban-born stars put dozens of boys through batting, pitching and catching drills in a sunny Havana ballpark, part of a 3-day mission meant to warm relations between the U.S. league and this baseball-mad nation. […] Defectors who were once reviled by Cuban officials [...] but who have returned in triumph following last year's historic detente between the Cold War foes.
If the United States is no longer the enemy, why are ordinary Cubans still denied the right to peaceful protest, to a free press, to a public airing of their many grievances? [...] The barrage of propaganda coming out of Havana fails to reflect the business-like atmosphere of the public diplomacy.
Players as pawns in political games is not always a bad thing. Major League Baseball is about to visit Cuba on a "Goodwill" tour that marks the Dec 17 meeting last year between Barack Obama and Raul Castro when the two presidents agreed to start to "normalise" the relationship between the countries.
The one-year anniversary of the US and Cuba restoring diplomatic ties is coming up on Dec. 17. Akin Gump, which launched its Cuba practice a few months ago, recently held a reception with the Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba, Dr. José Ramón Cabaña.