Venable partner Ashley Craig was interviewed in a March 9, 2016 Law360 article on a proposal by Major League Baseball (MLB) that may eventually make it easier for teams to sign Cuban nationals. The move comes following President Obama’s call in 2014 to normalize relations with Cuba and his planned trip to the island later this month. Under its proposal, MLB plans to establish a nonprofit-like entity to invest in Cuban youth baseball and development.
"I applaud the MLB," said Craig. "What they are doing here is thinking outside the box, quite frankly, and taking advantage of the White House's clear intent to further relax the restrictions as best they can under presidential power without going to Congress and revisiting the whole embargo and embracing the warming of bilateral relations between the U.S. and Cuba."
Craig described MLB's proposal as a "goodwill" gesture to make inroads into Cuba for a possible future where the embargo is relaxed or lifted. "MLB is thinking that look, we create this thing and tap into a youth market between the ages of say 8 and 12, and we are going to play it forward," he said. "There could be a time in the not-too-distant future, depending on the politics, where we could have a Congress that is more open to revising or revisiting the embargo in a more complete way." He added, "In my opinion it is a very smart move…It is calculated; it is a bit controversial if you are a supporter of the embargo and anti-Castro regime. But at the end of the day MLB is recognizing that we have a historic moment with the thawing of the Cold War tensions."