By Nelson Rodríguez Roque
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
As of last February 16, it was admitted, through a circular of the Provincial Baseball Commission, the insertion in the 43rd edition of the Holguinera Provincial Series of the baseball players Lerys Aguilera and Yusmel Velázquez, who returned to Cuba before the historic agreement between the U.S. Major Leagues and the ball of the Island.
Those who are trying to sabotage the December 19 pact are deaf to stories like those of these boys, victims of human trafficking, but officially returned to the national sport, as evidenced by the fact that they represent their respective municipalities and are invited to the Holguin Stars Game, to be held on Dec. 31 at the Feliú Leyva Stadium in the City of Parks.
– “It’s inhumane what happens to you.”
An extreme situation is traumatic for any human being. That’s when the fibers of what’s made have to come out. This was experienced by Lerys Aguilera, when he decided to leave his country in April 2014 and try on another baseball. Before he emigrated, he was a consolidated figure in our National Series.
Born in Levisa (1985), Mayarí, province of Holguín, “El Búfalo”, at the time of his departure, had played 11 seasons on the Island and had 108 home runs and 434 runs-batted-in. Generally, he occupied the fourth wood of the holguinero representative.
– You declared that you did not advise anyone to take that path…
“Really, I said it and I reaffirm it, because it is something inhuman that happens to you, you become a bait, a commodity. You risk your life, in the end you go through moments you can’t even imagine. In good Cuban, they are siren songs, they promise you and say a lot, but not even 80 percent of that is fulfilled. Unfortunately, I had to live that experience. It’s a good thing I’m still here, to be able to tell it.
– You also talked about your journey in the illegal boat trip.
“I wouldn’t do it again at all. I was in danger twice. I have no idea where we’re going. I almost drowned, even knowing how to swim, but I was in a situation in which, due to ignorance, the clothes, the backpack and other things I carried weighed heavily on me. If I don’t grab the boat well, I fall and nobody would wait for me, as the night was a wolf’s mouth. It’s unspeakable.
– What are the conditions of the Cuban baseball players who do not win contracts and live in the Dominican Republic?
“It’s an odyssey what they live, we communicate continuously and it’s hard to be like this. When you can’t reach opportunities to play in the U.S. or elsewhere, everything becomes a save yourself. You have to do the unspeakable and work in jobs you’ve never done before, to have an economic income that allows you to survive.
“There are many young people who are in the Dominican Republic ‘eating a cable’, in good Cuban I tell you, having a tremendous job. Without support, without hope. I was able to receive help from many people, even before I left for Nicaragua, but not everyone is so lucky. It has been and continues to be difficult for the Cuban baseball players there.
– Many of them illegal?
“Yes, it’s the safest thing. What happens, most of them do their migratory procedures, stay, in Haiti. But once they cross into the Dominican Republic they become illegal. They are from here to there or they are deported. I managed to get my Dominican identity card, which I first saw as a way of being legal, but then it allowed me to be hired. On October 11, 2017, after coming into contact with the Boer Indians, I left for Nicaragua.
– Do you think that other baseball players can be seen with no apparent way out, like you?
“Of course, it’s desperate. When they cease to have an interest in you, everything becomes more complex. The issue of age can also marginalize you. I spend a lot of time thinking about everything I’ve been through. I had depressions and even tried to attack my life. I suffered from extreme hunger in the Dominican Republic and other very hard moments. I had to train on my own. Thanks to the Lord, those kinds of situations didn’t go to the extreme in me and I didn’t carry out my thoughts.
“What is being done now with legal hiring is a magnificent thing. The baseball players can return to their country without any problem. That’s the way I recommend. Ignore the propositions. The opportunities Cuba opens are the right ones.
– Another Puppy in “return plan”
2015 was a record year in terms of departures of players from the country, legal or illegal. Some, such as colleague Francys Romero, put the number at 150. Among the baseball players who left Cuba was right-handed pitcher Yusmel Velázquez, from Holguín, who had played six National Series, with 34 wins and 35 failures, but at the time was already considered the puppies’ best pitcher.
Velázquez, 27, after entering Haiti three years ago on a risky sea crossing from Maisí (Guantánamo) and staying in the Dominican Republic, returned to his province.
“He had been thinking about returning for months,” he said at home in the City of Parks. The native of the municipality of Urbano Noris is on the island since last November 4, after arriving in the company of his wife and son. But that is present. The future can play a good trick on him.
– Why did you decide to emigrate, just when you were already the pítcher leader of the holguinero staff and perhaps you could have integrated some team Cuba?
“At that moment, I went out in search of better economic conditions. Knowing that I had had good previous years, such as when I made the pre-selection for the Central American and Caribbean Games Veracruz-2014 and, personally, I thought I deserved to be on the team, but I was left out.
“Then, we were told that those of us who had been eliminated were going to the Rotterdam Tournament and then I didn’t make the trip either, without any explanation. Everyone who plays ball in Cuba aspires to become a national team and represent the country. I was a little disappointed that, on so many occasions, I had been pushed aside.
There are still some who think that signing with a U.S. franchise is just a formality. How was your particular case in the Dominican Republic?
“It’s not easy, it’s too big a change. You get to a different baseball, you face difficult training, very different from what you did in Cuba. Sometimes you have to spend several months getting in the right shape, so the Major League teams can see your skills. In the case of pitchers, they have to shoot over 90 mph. I saw very few Cubans who managed to sign.
“There’s still a lot of work going on there, because it’s hard to get hired. I came to be in the form required by the franchises, but for reasons beyond my control, for people who decided for me, I couldn’t be signed. They were three years lost, although at the same time I do not deny that I gained in experience and learning, and perhaps, with the knowledge acquired, I will be able to be a better pitcher in Cuban baseball and help my teammates.
– The “Dominican dream”…
“To the boys who go that way, I say it’s complicated. That it’s an area where you can’t believe in everyone. They, who capture us, promise many things that, in the end, when you are there, are not fulfilled. There’s a lot of ambition for money and you depend on others.
“I was never foreign to the Holguín team, I always followed it on the Internet, I was watching it all the time. Since I returned to Cuba, I didn’t miss a game at the Calixto García Stadium.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
In clear violation of the Vienna Convention, the United States police entered by force, after 37 days of resistance, the premises that housed the Venezuelan Embassy and arrested the four activists protecting the diplomatic headquarters from the terrorist vandalism of the so-called “Venezuelan opposition.
“The Venezuelan government will respond to the invasion of its embassy in Washington within the framework of international law,” declared Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza. “Once again, Donald Trump’s administration has shown how much the truth hurts and has reacted with arrogance, in violation of international law.
The Bolivarian Minister of Foreign Affairs reported on Thursday, May 16, that his country is evaluating its response to the illegal invasion of its Embassy in the United States, although he advanced that this will be within the framework of international law and protected by the principles of reciprocity.
From his Twitter account, Arreaza had repudiated the illegal seizure of the diplomatic headquarters by the U.S. police on Thursday. He emphasized then that with this action Washington was not fulfilling its obligations under the Vienna Convention, to which the United States and Caracas are signatories.
The foreign minister said that by forcibly evicting the four activists who were inside the embassy with the authorization of the Venezuelan government, the U.S. security forces additionally violated their human rights. “The morale of these activists proved to be more powerful than the force of repression carried out by the dozens of armed police officers deployed by Washington,” Arreaza said.
Carlos Ron, Bolivarian vice-minister for North America, recalled in an improvised press conference that the only legitimate government of Venezuela did not authorize the entry of U.S. police forces into the building of what was its embassy in Washington, so the police irruption constitutes, according to the Vienna Convention, a flagrant violation of international law.
The Washington Metropolitan Police illegally entered the facilities of the Venezuelan embassy in that U.S. capital city, violating the immunity from jurisdiction of the diplomatic headquarters and the documents and archives that rest there.
This action by the United States sets a dangerous precedent, because it sends a message to the world about possible aggressions of this nature that threaten other diplomatic offices in the future.
Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the Code Pink movement for peace, on Thursday had denounced the entry into the facilities of the Venezuelan Embassy of the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington (MPD) to forcibly evict the activists stationed there. The activist and public health specialist warned that the police illegally broke into the diplomatic headquarters in an act that she described as a violation of international law.
“By breaking into the Venezuelan Embassy to illegally arrest the Embassy Protection Collective, the police violated the Vienna Convention and international law,” Medea Benjamin said through his Twitter account.
CodePink had assumed the defense of the Venezuelan diplomatic headquarters in the United States in support of democracy in the South American country violated by Donald Trump’s administration.
Last Friday, President Nicolás Maduro publicly acknowledged the group of activists defending the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, “who have faced the aggressions of a “sick right” and imperialist interference.
“I send a solidarity greeting, full of deep gratitude and admiration to the Protection Collective of our Embassy in Washington, who have bravely faced the aggressions of a sick rightist and a criminal empire,” the Bolivarian President declared in a message posted on his Twitter account.
Outside the Venezuelan embassy in Washington D.C., activists were present to support the collective in defense of the building, who were guarding it to demand that food be allowed in. The activists denounced that supporters of the opposition to the Venezuelan government maintained the siege of the building, preventing the entry of food and medicines, cutting off the electricity and water supply, all in collusion with the government of Donald Trump.
About 15 activists remained inside the compound since mid-April to prevent Carlos Vecchio, the “representative” of the self-proclaimed opposition deputy interim president, Juan Guaidó, from taking over the embassy.
May 17, 2019.
This article may be reproduced by quoting the newspaper POR ESTO as the source.
By Luis Autié Cantón email@example.com
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Cuba is lagging behind. And no, I’m not talking about transportation or technology. I’m talking about boxing. Our men’s squad are championss because of their respect for each other. To name the four letters in a pugilistic event is to sow, among rivals, fear of the coming storm. It is to know that they will have to die on the canvas to defeat ours. We’ve earned that right over the years. But, I insist, we are lagging behind. When the next edition of the World Series begins, if it sees the light after the corruption scandals at the highest levels of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA), it will be competing in eight male divisions and, listen well, in four female divisions. While this is not yet confirmed, when the river sounds…
And our female boxing, dear reader, doesn’t even bring stones.
Nelsy Torres is 21 years old and gets up early every day to train. Her greatest aspiration is to be able to compete officially.
“As a boxer, I need boxing to be legalized because I want to fulfill a dream. If they don’t give me the opportunity, they are slowing down women’s rights. While other countries advance with results, Cuba is lagging behind. I’m sure we can have the same results as men. Even better. We can’t wait for generations of boxers to go by, and we can’t get anywhere,” she says impotently.
Rolando Acebal, helmsman of our main boxing squad, confesses that he has not seen any girl fight here in Cuba, but he does not hide his opinion that we could have good exponents in the future. “Currently, in the world, the countries that practice male boxing also practice female boxing, and no harm has been seen to the health of the athletes. If it had been any other way, it would have been detected and it would all be over.
“There are Cuban coaches abroad who work with women’s boxing. I think we should not deny that right to women who have the desire and have requested the opportunity to train and compete. There are even mothers advocating for their daughters’ opportunity. We’ve been told that they’re analyzing, doing medical studies, but we’ve been doing it for a few years now and we’re lagging behind in that sense.
The girls with their jabs, their uppercuts and their hooks are not rain that just fell. Since the 18th century, there have been sports fights between women in this discipline. The Londoner Elizabeth Wilkinson, in 1722, is the oldest known champion. A little more than a century later, it was fought for the first time on this side of the Atlantic, when the bell rang for the North Americans Nell Saunders and Rose Harland to face each other, ring by ring, in 1876, on American soil.
In 1954, almost 80 years later, a women’s poster could be seen on television. One of the fighters who appeared in the “magic box” was Barbara Buttrick, one of the most famous boxers of all time.
The United States was the country where women’s boxing developed the most, following that fight of the nineteenth century. Between 1975 and 1978 some women applied for boxing licenses. Particularly important was the successful trial that the boxers Cathy “Cat” Davis, Jackie Tonawanda and Marian “Lady Tyger” Trimiar carried out against the state of New York, due to the rejection of their requests for licenses. The wide media coverage of these events directed public attention to this discipline.
However, the persistence of restrictions and prejudices led Lady Tyger to go on a one-month hunger strike for women’s rights in boxing in 1987.
As can be seen, some of the most important fights in the history of women’s pugilism have not been fought on canvas, but in the courts. Five years after that hunger strike, in 1992, Massachusetts boxer Gail Grandchamp knocked the system out by getting the state Supreme Court to recognize her right to box after eight years of trial. At the time, the Court held that it was illegal for an official to deny a license to box on the sole ground of the applicant’s sex. However, Grandchamp was unable to practice boxing because he had already exceeded the maximum age of 36 for amateur boxers.
In 1993, the USA Boxing Association, which is responsible for amateur boxing in the United States, agreed to regulate women’s boxing throughout the country after 16-year-old Dallas Malloy won a federal discrimination lawsuit in court.
Despite all the official and unofficial history, of all that baggage that goes back to the eighteenth century, it was not until March 15, 1996, that occurs the fact that is considered by many as the birth of modern female professional boxing. We refer, in this case, to the fight between Christy Martin and Deirdre Gogarty. That same year, the UK Amateur Boxing Association repealed the 1880 ban on boxing for women, and a year later, in July 1997, the first U.S. women’s boxing championship was held. In the following years, other countries were authorizing and organizing this discipline, in the women’s section, and were consecrated world champions in all categories. That is why it is difficult to understand that, in a country like ours, where neither race nor gender distinctions are established, we still do not have the legal or institutional instruments that allow our girls to get into a ring and defend the four-letter t-shirt with their gloves.
Boxing was first included in the modern Olympic program in 1904 in St. Louis, but it wasn’t until London 2012 that women were able to fight under the five hoops.
At the British event, women competed in three weight categories and a total of 36 boxers took part. The Executive Committee of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) still refused to include women’s pugilism as a demonstration sport in the program of the Games four years earlier in Beijing.
The time for women’s boxing matches in summer events is four rounds, two minutes each, unlike men, who fight in three three-minute moments.
If we consider our route, in which boxing has undoubtedly been the sport with the most Olympic and world titles in our history, nothing takes away the right to think that we could, with a little time, become a power of female pugilism. I sign it, and I stamp it.
Perhaps one of the aspects that most restrains the Cuban Boxing Federation is the issue of the safety of girls in the ring. In this regard, Rafael Lerena Naples, head of the medical corps of the national team of this sport, believes that there is nothing to worry about in this particular case.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have an athlete in the squad at the moment. The problem is that the competent authorities have not yet authorized Cuban women’s boxing to begin. We are waiting for that”.
The doctor says that “there has never been any damage to the health of these girls”. In this regard, he explains that “the risk in sport is in all specialties. People are at risk of being injured, even walking down the street. However, the risks in high performance are always minimized. The Cuban athlete has entered satisfactorily in all the sports disciplines and for having, especially in the specialties of combat. So why not in boxing? Cuba has demonstrated, with results, quality in boxing since the triumph of the Revolution, and has made it clear that we are a source, a quarry, of good boxers. Why not have boxers”?
“Bebo” Alcántara, 76 years old, ex-bodeguero and boxing fan since childhood, does not understand why women should fight in a ring. “Boxing is a gentleman’s sport. My father always told me this when my mother protested against the violence of the fights. Now, I love boxing, but I don’t see any attraction in seeing two women “punching each other”. Women are more delicate. I think they would lose even femininity.
On the other hand, the soul of the ring, the protagonists, who live daily the intrigulis of this sport, have favorable opinions on the development of them in the pugilism. The light welter Andy Cruz, considered the most complete boxer in Cuba at the moment, expressed his support: “I like very much that they also take into account female boxing. I have seen Cuban women fight, many have come from other sports. I have liked them, I have seen that they have quality and I know that in the future they can achieve great things. I am sure that in a short time they will reach the same height that male boxing has achieved.
Rolando Acebal explains that in Cuba women have had results in sports such as judo, weights or wrestling. “Traditionally, the Cuban woman is brave, a fighter, sacrificed. They are the example of Mariana Grajales, and have demonstrated over the years that they are capable of performing any task.
Hopefully, these voices will serve as a straight line to the chin to change mentalities. Hopefully, the brake and the lack of decision will not recover to the protection count of logic. We want to hear our National Anthem while, on a ring, the referee raises his arm to a Cuban girl.
No female boxing.
I am a passionate lover of boxing, in all its dimensions. I do not think it is right to truncate the wishes of any woman, who voluntarily loves this sport and wants to practice it. They want to see history more beautiful than Mary Kom’s. For me the best boxer of all time, within the amateur world. The one that fought against all adversity and prejudices and became multiple Olympic champion. Cuba is left behind, many times for banal justifications. the personal decision of the individuals to respect themselves, as long as it does not affect the general society. And approving female boxing, does not affect anyone. Let’s step forward and in a few years we will have our champions, I’m sure of that. The potential is.
Very much in agreement with this inclusion of women’s boxing we are missing medals and opportunities and above all we have not given women their opportunity to demonstrate their boxing qualities that I have no doubt that in a short time they resemble male pairs
Yesterday I saw a photo on Facebook where in the foreground you can see a woman with a machine gun and in the background a man with an apron in front of the sink and a text almost the same as the caricature .. What a strange coincidence.
No to Boxing for women ??? And when they have taken the rifle? If we are going to talk about danger.
Not allowing female boxing is simply discrimination against women. Only they must decide if they are boxers or not. Why do some people believe they have the right to decide what only they should do? For a long time the female weightlifting was stopped.
That other countries do something is not an argument for us to imitate them. But undoubtedly women have the right to practice any sport according to their physical characteristics. I personally do not like boxing and least of all feminine.
Well if they want to promote women’s boxing or drawing serves, very badly, each person independent of gender has the same rights, at least is what they enact.
it’s horaaa !!!
If it is found that there is no risk for women, that is, that does not cause any disorder to women because of the blows they may receive in the breasts, etc., I agree that it should be practiced; That the FMC of his opinion on the matter, because I am convinced that they will investigate before giving an opinion.
April 17, 2019
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
A new group of Cuban citizens deported from Mexico arrived in Havana on Wednesday as part of the migration agreements between the two countries.
The Mexican Federal Police aircraft landed at José Martí International Airport with people who had left the island legally, but became irregular migrants on their way to Mexico.
In less than a month, approximately 300 Cubans arrived on the island in five flights of the deported, many of them with anecdotes of vicissitudes and outrages suffered during their route through South and Central American countries bound for the United States.
As in previous cases, these human beings will return to their families after receiving the necessary attention, including health care, said immigration authorities, but said that those who left accounts pending with the legal system before leaving must face it.
The Cuban government took advantage of this situation to insist on its call for regular, orderly and safe emigration, in order to prevent people from becoming victims of criminal groups linked to human trafficking in the region.
The scenario has been complicated in recent months by the escalation in the aggressiveness of the U.S. government against the island, which includes the politicization of the flow of Cubans between both sides of the Florida Strait.
Recently, Washington reduced the period of validity of the B2 visa for Cubans from five years to three months, with only one entry, under the pretext of an alleged reciprocity with Cuba’s treatment of Americans.
Havana, through its Foreign Ministry, rejected the decision, describing it as ‘an additional obstacle to the exercise of the right of Cuban citizens to visit their relatives in that country’.
This measure adds to the closure of the services of the United States Consulate in Havana, to the unjustified interruption of the granting of visas to Cubans, forcing them to travel to third countries without any guarantee, and to the failure to comply with the visa quota established by the migratory agreements, he stressed.
With information from Prensa Latina.