Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Cubans Watch Their Native Sons

Cuban television viewers got to see some of their native sons, such as Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez, pitch for the first time since they defected. The Cuban government allowed the airing of "Fuera de Liga", a documentary which features interviews and highlights from the American careers of El Duque and others.

The film was made in 2003 by Ian Padron and features the Industriales of Havana team, the "Yankees of Cuba".
"I'm an Industrialista. I am not a traitor to the Industriales," Hernandez said in the film. "I've had the opportunity to play for the two best teams in the world: Industriales and the Yankees."
Among the players included are Angels' 1st Baseman Kendry Morales. The AP reported that a speech by Cuban leader Raul Castro (who took over for Fidel in 2006) in December focused on the excess of restrictions placed on the Cuban people, and helped lead to the decision to air the film.

El Duque was happy about the decision. He's quoted in El Nuevo Herald, a Spanish newspaper based in Miami, as saying, "I imagine the documentary will be a breath of fresh air on television for Cubans."

Now if only Cubans could come and go as they please.

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