"I am appalled by the Biden Administration's decision to allow the regime to export its shameful exploitation of Cuban baseball players to the United States," stated Rep. Diaz-Balart.
I am appalled that the Biden Admin allows the #Cuban regime to export its shameful exploitation of Cuban baseball players to the US. I requested info on who traveled with the team & whether they were vetted for ties to the regime & military. pic.twitter.com/ekEZIELTxf
— Mario Diaz-Balart (@MarioDB) March 17, 2023
Diaz-Balart is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs of the House Committee on Appropriations. As such, he's requesting several things from the Biden Administration, including "information on how the policy of permitting Cuban baseball players, and their regime 'minders' in the United States, is consistent with U.S. policy to end human trafficking and prevent revenue from enriching the Cuban people's oppressors."
He also added that he "would like to know what Cuban nationals traveled with the team, and whether any are known human rights abusers, and whether they were vetted for their ties to the Cuban regime and military."
Citing the State Department's 2022 Trafficking in Persons Report on Cuba, Diaz-Balart shared that Cuban has once again been delegated "as a Tier 3 country for its failure to respect minimal labor standards. The report also "noted concerns about the vulnerability of 'Cuban economic migrants, including cases of professional baseball players' who were subjected to human trafficking."
The Florida Republican warned that "the report... compared the regime's exploitative medical missions program to other exploited professions, stating that the regime 'profited from other similarly coercive labor export programs, including teachers, artists, athletes, sports coaches, engineers, forestry technicians, and nearly 7,000 merchant mariners across the world.'"
Ultimately, Diaz-Balart argues that this even will be used to further "exert control over the Cuban people, generate revenue for its machinery of oppression, and to expand its audience for propaganda," adding that "in Cuba, everything is political."