Cuban baseball player defects after arriving in Florida

Sports

Several Cuban baseball players walk on the field during a break from the training session at the Estadio Latinoamericano in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, May 18, 2021. A little over a week after the start of the Las Americas Baseball Pre-Olympic in Florida, the Cuban team does not have visas to travel to the United States. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

HAVANA (AP) — The Cuban Baseball Federation says one of the players on the national team has defected a few hours after the squad arrived in Florida to participate in a qualifying tournament for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

The organization identified the player as 22-year-old César Prieto. Cuba’s team arrived in Florida on Wednesday after months of struggling to obtain U.S. visas, for which the players filed applications in three other countries due to U.S. sanctions that prevented the U.S. Consulate in Havana from issuing the documents.

The permits were finally delivered Tuesday under a special effort made by the U.S. Embassy in Havana.

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