Cuba says Dominican officer helped slave ballplayers defect


Fox News Latino

Cuba’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic said a Dominican military man was involved in the defection of Cuban baseball stars Yulieski and Lourdes Gourriel during a tournament in this Caribbean nation.

The brothers, ages 31 and 22, respectively, on Sunday left the Cuban baseball team after it was eliminated in the Caribbean Series, which was won by Mexico.

In an interview published Thursday by Listin Diario newspaper, Cuban envoy Carlos De la Nuez Lopez said that a video exists in which Dominican air force officer William Solis can be seen arriving at the Cuban delegation’s hotel and making contact with the brothers, who then got into his vehicle and left for an unknown destination.

The video, De la Nuez Lopez said, was delivered to the Santo Domingo district attorney’s office.

“That is in the video. That is the complaint, that they left in the (official’s vehicle),” he said.

According to the ambassador, Solis on more than one occasion came to the hotel where the Cuban baseball team was staying.

A Dominican military source, who asked for anonymity, told EFE on Wednesday that the Defense Ministry and the National Investigations Department are investigating the officer’s alleged complicity.

The Gourriel brothers, according to media accounts, could now be in Haiti, which shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic.

Yulieski Gourriel is considered one of the Cuban ball players with the most talent to play in the U.S. Major Leagues, while his brother Lourdes has been praised for his talent as well.

During the Feb. 1-7 Caribbean World Series, the heads of the Cuban delegation complained that their players were being besieged by several “individuals” with links to “stealing athletes.”

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