Cuban Athletes in America: The Defection Dilemma

Cuban Athletes in America: The Defection Dilemma
Due to the decades-long political conflict between the United States and Cuba, Cuban athletes have had to decide whether or not to defect, i.e. renounce their citizenship from their home country in order to give them any chance of signing a professional contract with clubs in the U.S.

Picture: Luis Paradela


As Cuba’s economy has worsened over the years, more and more athletes have elected to risk their lives and leave their families behind for a chance to make a significant amount of money and in turn help their families. Unfortunately, the rising number of defections has had a detrimental effect on Cuba’s various national teams, as evidenced by the recent poor performances of Cuba’s national teams and the gradual decrease in Cuba’s Olympic medal count. However, a football player’s recent decision to apply for an athlete visa to the U.S. has shown that a groundbreaking opportunity now exists for aspiring Cuban athletes to play in the U.S. without having to make the life-changing decision to defect. The hope is that U.S....

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