Latin America & Caribbean

Cuban baseball star Misael Siverio 'defects to US'

Cuba baseball players Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Cuban team is playing a series of matches against US college stars

A baseball player from Cuba's national team has reportedly defected to the United States ahead of five matches against a US college stars team.

The 24-year-old pitcher Misael Siverio is said to have disappeared from the hotel where the Cuban national team had been staying in the US state of Iowa.

The heads of the Cuban delegation do not expect him to return, reports say.

At least two of the American Major League Baseball's rising stars are Cubans who recently defected to the US.

Mr Siverio, one of the 24 players in the US for a five-game series, told the El Nuevo Herald newspaper that he was going to try to make it in the US baseball leagues.

'Not easy'

"Leaving behind your country is not easy, but this was a decision that I gave a lot of thought," Siverio reportedly told Miami's El Nuevo Herald.

Siverio was not in the Cuban team list published by the US organisers on Wednesday.

The Cuban delegation has reportedly declined to comment on the situation.

"From their perspective, he's no longer a member of their delegation," US Baseball director Paul Seiler told the Des Moines Register.

Cubans Yoenis Cespedes, from the Oakland A's and Yasiel Puig, from the Los Angeles Dodgers, who defected in the last two years, are considered to be among the US major baseball league's (MLB) rising stars.

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