Miami, FL - Cuba's national baseball team bullpen catcher Ivan Prieto is believed to have defected to the US following the World Baseball Classic on Sunday.
According to the Center for a Free Cuba in Washington, Prieto has reportedly defected following the World Baseball Classic in Miami on Sunday.
Prieto was not seen boarding the plane to return to Cuba with the rest of the team, and activist Ramon Sanchez suspects that Prieto had to separate himself from the team, management, and staff, who closely monitored each player to prevent defection.
Prieto is believed to be staying with his brother and friends outside South Florida, leaving behind his family, including an infant daughter in Cuba.
The incident occurred after a game where protestors held a sign that read “Freedom for the Cuban Prisoners Arrested July 11th” at Loan Depot Park on Sunday, referring to the hundreds of people arrested in Cuba after protestors took to the streets in July of 2021.
Carlos Alvarez, Antonio Fernandez, and Danilo Maldonado-Machado were arrested on Sunday for their protest and are now facing a misdemeanor charge of trespassing.
Prieto is the only player believed to have defected, and there is no word on whether he will be granted asylum in the U.S.
The Cuban government has not yet responded to reports of Prieto’s defection.