As conditions in Venezuela continue to deteriorate amidst a violent clash between the Maduro government and the opposition, several Venezuelan Major League Baseball players have spoken out in support of the protesters. This week a video was released by six current and former MLB players speaking out about their desire for a better future for Venezuela, hoping to draw attention to a crisis affecting thousands. While many players are reportedly hesitant to speak out for fear of retaliation against their families who still live in the country, a growing number of players are voicing discontent with the mistreatment of their people. Baseball is the most popular sport in Venezuela, and these players’ words matter.
Miguel Cabrera, Elvis Adrus, Rougned Odor, Robinson Chirinos, Martin Perez, and Omar Vizquel partnered to film the video of support for Venezuelan protesters that was published this week. “Keep fighting until we can get what we all want, which is a better future and change for our country,” said Perez, a pitcher for the Texas Rangers. His words echo the sentiment expressed by the other players in the video, who cite concern for the future and a hope that the protests will ultimately lead to democracy’s return to their country. Former all-star Omar Vizquel spoke of the danger of being in the country through the protests: “You really can’t even be on the streets right now. The situation we are living in is very difficult.”
The efforts from players began publicly earlier this month, when Pittburgh Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli posted a video on his Instagram page with short messages supporting the protestors from thirteen players from three teams:
BASTA YA!!! CLAMAN MILLONES DE VOCES POR VENEZUELA. Credito: @DavidComedia ProducciónAudiovisual: @Guille0266 GRANDESLIGAS MLB: @enderinciartem @chperez02 @jaguilarmke @arciagiral @eugenio_suarez7 @jose_peraza_9 @felipe_43rivero @eliasdiaz29 @fran_cervelli @salvadorp13 @gorkyshernandez @alcidesescobar2 @joseosuna36 #YoPuedoVENEZUELA #GRANDESLIGAS #BastaYa
“All the Venezuelan athletes in the world, we’ve got to make noise,” Cervelli told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He said many players refused to participate in the video initially, fearing their families’ safety in the country. His rallying cry has apparently emboldened other players to speak out publicly, and the video posted by ESPN Deportes this week is only the latest effort by players to bring attention to the dangerous situation occurring in their country.
Also earlier this month, MLB released instructions for teams to safely scout players in Venezuela, as well as announced that the Office of the Commissioner would hold three showcases for players outside of the country.