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Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Cuban athletes "defecting"

Whenever a Cuban athlete "defects" from Cuba, as happened in a number of cases at the recent Pan-American Games, it's guaranteed to be news in the U.S. media, and trumpeted as a failure of the Cuban system. By contrast, here's something the average American will never read:
In 2005, when the number of soccer players playing abroad reached record numbers, Brazilian clubs made deals worth $159 million US for 857 players, while 64 million tons of banana exports brought in just $33 million US.

In 2006, the "sale" of players abroad reached $131 million US, way ahead of the $64 million US in grain exports.

So far this year, the number of players joining foreign clubs has already reached 600, for a price tag of some $50 million US.
The number of players in 2006 isn't noted, but interpolating, we can guess that in the last three years, well over 2000 Brazilian soccer players have left their country to play abroad.

There's a big difference, however. A Brazilian player playing in the U.S. doesn't have to apply for asylum in order to play, and can repatriate their salary to their own country. Thanks to U.S. law, a Cuban athlete can do neither.

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