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Baseball Star Jose Abreu Ate His Fake Passport on Flight to the U.S.

The Cuban defector and Chicago White Sox star's bizarre tale is indicative of how ridiculous immigration policy can be.

Papers and beer, please?Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire DCTChicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu — a Cuban defector and one of the most dynamic young stars of Major League Baseball (MLB) — testified that on a 2013 Air France flight from Haiti to Miami, he ordered a beer and then "little by little" ate the pages of his fake passport.

Abreu's testimony came as part of an immunity deal he received in exchange for his cooperation with the prosecution in the trial of sports agent Bartolo Hernandez and baseball trainer Julio Estrada, whose trial on charges of conspiracy and alien smuggling continues in a Miami federal courthouse, according to the Associated Press.

Why did Abreu eat his passport? Because under the long-standing "wet foot/dry foot" policy (abandoned by President Obama in the final days of his presidency) which afforded a swift and near-automatic path to legal residency for Cubans who entered the U.S. by land, Abreu was better off having no "papers" than fake papers. "I could not arrive in the United States with a false passport," Abreu testified.

The AP reports Abreu also testified that he obtained the fake passport to ensure he was able to board a U.S.-bound flight from Haiti, after being smuggled by speedboat out of Cuba. Abreu — who says he was paid $20 per month to play baseball in Cuba — took such drastic measures to avoid missing a deadline that would have cost him the $68 million contract he ended up signing with the White Sox. Abreu made the deadline and immediately became a star, winning American League Rookie of the Year honors in 2014.

Abreu also paid his smugglers almost $6 million for their efforts, and according to the AP, even had Estrada serve as best man at his wedding. "These were people who had helped me a lot in getting into this country, so I had a lot of trust in them," Abreu testified in the Miami courthouse, adding, "In my case, I had the ability to perform that charitable work, you might call it."

Bizarre stories like Abreu's passport lunch may end up serving as a time capsule of the last days of "wet foot/dry foot," but even after Obama's attempts at normalizing relations with Raul Castro's government, free and unrestricted travel for Cubans is still prohibited, particularly for Cubans the government would rather keep in service of the motherland — such as doctors and baseball stars. Those high-value Cubans (like most Cubans) will still desire to live free from government repression and earn a better living for themselves than they will ever be able to do as long as the impoverished island is governed by the same corrupt regime that has ruled over the country for almost 60 years.

Photo Credit: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire DCT

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  • Citizen X - #6||

    Maybe he got really hungry. Government documents, even fake ones, are certainly more palatable than airplane food.

  • SomeGuy||

    depends the airline. Some airlines have good food but man...its amazing how they make such shitty food. I generally would rather have a fucking sandwich

  • SomeGuy||

    or even a damn MRE lol

  • Crusty Juggler - #2||

    I've eaten worse.

  • ||

    I bet you did.

  • ||

    Jeeezus. Why not just flush it, or slip it in the carry on of that one drunk & disorderly dude that's on every flight?

  • Zeb||

    Presumably it had his picture in it and could have been traced back to him. And I doubt an airplane toilet would take it.

  • SomeGuy||

    in pieces it would.

  • ||

    Yep...he could have dissolved it in water, too, before tearing it up and flushing it. That blue stuff would have foiled the rest of forensic efforts.

  • Zeb||

    Good point. Maybe he just likes eating paper. Or was feeling extra paranoid.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I'd always choose to accept refugees from communist countries. They seldom seem to want to visit communism on their new hosts. Having seen what it's actually like, they're usually good at painting a realistic picture of why you want to avoid going down that path.

  • timbo||

    Exactly. This guy has a job, earns real wealth and knows how toxic communism is. He should be ushered in on one of those chairs like a roman queen.

    All children should watch the 30 for 30 on Orlando Hernandez and his brother escaping from cuba.

    I watched if with my kid and she could not understand why he could not just leave that terrible place.
    You know something is horseshit when a 10 year old knows it's horseshit.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    In my experience, kids need to have been through at least a decade of indoctrination before their sense for adult-style bullshit shuts off. Santa Claus is one thing, but a president is gonna fix everybody's problems? That's a load of crap.

  • timbo||

    At least Santa represents the good effect of not being a rotten little shit. Meaning kids have to at least be good to get presents and they snap to when Santa might stiff them

    The santa clause in communism comes to your house with an AK and executes you in front of your kids.

  • Bra Ket||

    "The Cuban defector and Chicago White Sox star's bizarre tale is indicative of how ridiculous immigration policy can be."

    Seems to me it's indicative of what someone will do for 68 million dollars. I'd eat a fake passport for a fraction of that amount.

  • timbo||

    I'd eat the squirrel on trumps head for $68mm.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Your mom should have normalized her relations with sobriety while she was pregnant with you.

  • timbo||

    Your mom. Excellent.

  • timbo||

    Real free trade would be the best start. How about a trade agreement with every country on earth that says:?

    You can buy and sell anything you want with each other that you agree too, anytime, any place, anywhere.
    The end.

    The Cuban people would have gotten enough cool stuff over time that they would have eventually deposed the castro's or at least had a Russian referendum.

    On that note, if the Chinese want to dump cheap steel here, why can't the American consumer take advantage of that. That's what I love about idiotic "free trade " agreements that obviously mean nothing of the sort.
    But hey, USA and unions, and buy America, they took our jobs. Fucking sheep.

  • timbo||

    It does not automatically lead to freedom. Do you think China would have moderated at all had Nixon not opened the door with them? Yes most of our trading partners are still shitholes but the relative prosperity that they all have achieved vs their previous condition is because of access to modern technology and human conveniences that capitalism has brought.

  • timbo||

    And it is not liberal bullshit. Liberal bullshit is Marxist collectivism masked as global warming alarmism and trade protectionism and cronyism and global currencies and FED reserve banks controlling market prices and free shit for parasites.

    Free trade and free markets, be they completely perverted, are still the best option for developing economies around the world. Without China allowing even a little of their perverted form of capitalism in, the Chinese megacities would still be wooden hovels.

    And as much as our economy resembles more of a fascist cronyist system, there is still some capitalism left that makes it the only place left to have a chance. let's hope the dems and repubs do not success in totally extinguishing it.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    ctrl+f "draft"

    Hmmmm...

  • Social Darwinist||

    Glad he made it here even though I hate the team he's on. I look forward to the day when the Castro's are gone. Hopefully then Cuba can transition to a democracy and we can fully normalize relations.

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