April 18, 2014 |
More Americans are going to Cuba, which makes the U.S. the second tourism source for the island nation after Canada, according to a new report. Despite a travel embargo that's been in effect for half a century, 173,550 Americans went to Cuba in January through March. "The data confirms, although the Cuban government does not recognize it publicly, that the United States, even with the effect of the embargo, is the second greatest source of tourists to Cuba after Canada," Emilio Morales, president of U.S.-based Havana Consulting Group, wrote in a report provided to the Associated Press . "Most of the U.S. travelers are Cuban-Americans visiting family but others have no ties to the island and travel to participate in academic and cultural programs," the AP reports, noting most flights originate from Miami.
April 17, 2014 |
SAN FRANCISCO -- On the publication day of a second magazine article detailing Yasiel Puig's dangerous escape from Cuba, the main subject of the story was smiling. “I feel normal,” Puig said in Spanish. “I'm focused on baseball and giving the best of myself to the team and, hopefully, everything turns out well on the field. Those things that are happening aren't affecting me.” Asked how he could remain focused in light of recent revelations about his past, Puig was about to start answering, only for a Dodgers staffer to prevent him from doing so. The next inquiry was also shut down by Roman Barinas, the Dodgers' manager of international scouting.
April 15, 2014 |
Fleeing Cuba is harrowing and costly, whether it's done in a flimsy boat headed for U.S. shores or a speedboat headed for Mexico. Yasiel Puig, the gifted Dodgers outfielder, set off on the latter route, smuggled out by men who then threatened his life and held him hostage in a Mexican motel. A Florida man with a small-time criminal past helped get him out; in exchange, Puig promised to pay the man 20% of his lifetime earnings. Puig's difficult journey was the result of the longtime U.S. economic embargo on Cuba, which, among other things, makes it illegal for Major League Baseball to hire players directly from Cuba, a veritable incubator of baseball talent.
April 14, 2014 |
Seemingly from the moment Cuban refugee Yasiel Puig showed up at Dodger Stadium out of nowhere, arriving last June unwilling to discuss his unknown background, the talk behind the batting cages has been rife with unprintable rumors. There were rumors Puig was smuggled out of Cuba by members of a Mexican drug cartel. There were rumors he still owed the smugglers money, and that his life could be in jeopardy. There was talk about Puig being essentially owned by a Miami businessman with a criminal record who hired those smugglers in exchange for 20% of the ballplayer's future earnings.
April 14, 2014 |
The Dodgers and Major League Baseball declined to comment Monday about a magazine article detailing Yasiel Puig's dangerous escape from Cuba and the death threats the 23-year-old right fielder received last year from human traffickers under control of a major Mexican drug cartel. Through a team spokesman, Puig also declined to comment on the story, which is scheduled to run in the May issue of Los Angeles Magazine. Puig has never talked about how he left Cuba. The Dodgers and MLB wouldn't say what measures they have taken to ensure the safety of Puig and his teammates, though the club is known to have hired full-time security detail last year.
April 14, 2014 |
Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig is typically reticent to discuss any topic with the media, but the one subject he has always made completely off-limits was how he escaped from Cuba. And apparently with excellent reason. An exclusive story in Los Angeles Magazine details his complex odyssey, a stunning tale of human trafficking, smugglers, a drug cartel, a staged kidnapping, betrayal, revenge and even alleged death threats. The monthly magazine said the lengthy investigative report took contributing writer Jesse Katz five months to piece together.