Expertise's Politics and Sports Blog

Monday, June 28, 2004
Kudos to Jose Contreras

Jose Contreras, a pitcher for the New York Yankees, pitched a top-notch game today with a career high of 10 K's as the Yankees dominated the Mets 8-1.

You think it had anything to do with him now having his family back.

Contreras's family snuck out of Cuba on a raft on Sunday night and he was able to reunite with his wife and daughters on Tuesday.  Contreras, who was a star on the Cuban National Team before he defected and made it to Nicaragua in 2002, has been without his family for a year and a half, and was told by the Cuban government that he would have to wait 5 years before he could see them again.

He signed a four-year contract with the New York Yankees upon defecting to America for $32 million.

Contreras has been quite vocal about his frustrations with both the Yankees and the Cuban Government.  According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Contreras stated that the Yankess weren't doing anything on their side to try to influence Cuba to release his family.  While he has formally established residency in Nicaragua, and was allowed to see him twice, Contreras said the Cuban government were punishing him for defection.  Cuban officials have harrassed his family, which should come as no surprise to anyone.  His wife has been arrested twice; once on suspicion of leaving that prison island and another on prostitution. 

Before his family got here, Contreras stated that he wishes he would have left 20 years ago if he realized that the Cuban government were going to treat him the way they did, and that he could never go back to Cuba.  If he even stepped into the airport, they would shoot him on sight.

The only problem that stands now is the fact that Contreras's parents are still there, supposedly living in the house his wife was able to buy once he sent money to her.  I don't know if they actually got rid of the farm they had in rural Cuba, but I wouldn't be surprised if Cuba decides they want to take the house. 

Here's an interesting tidbit I found:

"Carlos Rodriguez, Cuba's national director of baseball, said defectors are allowed back for visits "if they don't speak negatively about Fidel Castro or Cuba or join the mafia or say life is difficult here."

Baseball defectors are viewed as "traitors who abandoned their country," Rodriguez said. "The people don't pardon them."

After Contreras left, down came the posters of him that had plastered bars and restaurants in Havana and Pinar del Rio. But many baseball fans said they continue to adore the powerful 6-4, 245-pound righthander, who was the country's top pitcher until he skipped town Oct. 1 while playing for the Cuban national team in Mexico.

"He's still the best," exclaimed fan Livan Lescano, 29, an elevator operator, as he strolled the main street of Pinar del Rio - a city of crumbling, pastel-colored houses that's so rural, most taxis are bicycle- or horse-drawn buggies. "We're sorry he's gone, but if I were him I'd have done the same."
In other words, you can't have freedom of speech even AFTER you leave Cuba.  And since his parents are there and he has 8 other siblings he isn't in the clear yet.
Here's some more, from that same article:

"Despite their condemnation of Contreras, Cuban authorities have been kind to his family. They let his wife keep the blue Peugeot 400C sedan they gave her husband two years ago, around the same time they gave him a couple of bonuses - one of $2,000 and one of $5,000, Myriam Contreras thought - to supplement his monthly salary of 600 Cuban pesos, about $23."
Well isn't that nice of Castro?  Actually allowing them to keep what was theirs.  What a benevolent dictator, huh?  A very good, objective analysis by Letta Tayler (sarcasm).

Once again, well wishes to the Contreras family.  I feel sorry for all the Cubans who continue to live their lives in that destitute island prison by that lowlife piece of cigar-smoking scum and his cronies.  May Castro begin his travel into the depths of hell wearing long johns under a solar suit and an eskimo fur coat.

Here's a very good complilation of articles in regards to Jose Contreras's attempts to bring his family here to America courtesy of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Posted at 03:20 am by Expertise



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