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MLB player becomes American citizen years after escaping Cuba

In 2013, Yasiel Puig had simply signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers and used to be a emerging celebrity in Main League Baseball. The rookie had simply signed a seven-year contract price $42 million — however he wasn’t at all times secure and protected. Only a yr prior, he used to be being smuggled into the US. 

Puig’s harrowing get away from Cuba used to be detailed in Los Angeles Mag via journalist Jesse Katz. His tale captivated The united states — and now, Puig introduced he’s now a U.S. citizen. 

“Thanks God for this nice alternative to be an American citizen,” stated Puig, who now performs for the Cleveland Indians. 

His highway to citizenship used to be no longer a very simple one. Puig used to be smuggled from Cuba via Mexico, via a Miami guy named Raul Pacheco, in line with the Los Angeles Mag tale. Pacheco introduced Cuban smugglers $250,000 to get Puig into the U.S. – with the assistance of a Mexican drug cartel.

Pacheco did not in an instant pay up – and Puig used to be stored in a motel off the coast of Cancun and held captive for greater than 20 days “as the cost for his head is being negotiated,” Katz advised CBS Information in 2014.

Pacheco ultimately despatched a rescue staff that introduced Puig to Mexico Town. “And actually inside a pair days he is auditioned for Main League scouts,” Katz stated. He used to be then signed to the Dodgers.

That $42 million contract? Smartly, 20% of Puig’s lifetime income will pass to Pacheco, the person who helped him get into the rustic, in line with the Los Angeles Mag tale.

In 2014, Katz described Puig’s tale as human trafficking, pronouncing: “I believe in this finish, Main League Baseball, the Dodgers, the U.S. executive, does not actually wish to find out about what he went via and what he suffered to get right here.”

Writer Peter Bjarkman stated the U.S.’ dating with Cuba makes it an advanced procedure for baseball gamers to transport right here for paintings. “Gamers in different nations should not have to defect,” Bjarkman advised CBS Information. “As a result of Main League Baseball’s laws, with a purpose to signal as a unfastened agent, he has to first take place of abode in a 3rd nation. He cannot come immediately to the US.”

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