Features

Going, going, gone!

"Going, going, gone!" Continued...

Issue: "Bush picks Cheney as VP," Aug. 5, 2000

Mr. Lorenzo made his own escape to the United States in 1991. A Cuban Air Force fighter pilot, he flew a Russian-made MiG 23 to a Florida naval air station in a daring defection maneuver. A little over a year later, in perhaps the boldest act of defiance of the Castro era, he flew back into Cuba, landed on a highway, picked up his waiting family, and returned to the United States.

Family separation, a common feature of Cuban-American life highlighted in the Elián Gonzalez affair, has changed along with the easing of trade restrictions, according to Mr. Lorenzo. That should help ballplayer Morales, who, like Mr. Lorenzo, left behind a wife and two sons in Cuba. Now, with the opening of telecommunications to the island and increased media access, it may be harder for Mr. Castro to abuse family members when a defector shows up in the American limelight.

While he waits to be reunited with his family, Mr. Morales has plenty of career challenges in his new home. At least five Major League teams are courting the star third baseman. League rules demand that he go through an amateur draft. Or, if he moved to a third country, he would be able to return to the United States as a free agent and have more negotiating power. For now one thing is settled, and even he and Mr. Castro agree on it: Andy Morales won't be wearing the Cuban national team uniform ever again.

Mindy Belz
Mindy Belz

Mindy travels to the far corners of the globe as the editor of WORLD and lives with her family in the mountains of western North Carolina. Follow Mindy on Twitter @mcbelz.

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