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Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera spoke out Monday about fear of returning to his native Venezuela and paying “protection money” so his mother won’t get kidnapped.
Evan Woodbery of MLive passed along comments the two-time American League MVP made in a series of videos posted on his Instagram page.
“If I go to Venezuela they’ll break me, they’ll kill me,” Cabrera said.
He added: “I’m tired of paying protection money so they don’t kidnap my mother.”
Rachelle Krygier of the Washington Post reported on the dire situation Monday, highlighting the impact of food shortages and 700 percent annual inflation. It’s reached a point where residents must save up for daily necessities, noting “a tube of toothpaste costs half a week’s wages.”
In May, Cabrera was among the MLB players who spoke about the problems in Venezuela as part of an online campaign to bring more attention to the issue, per Ted Berg of USA Today.
“It’s hard right now,” he said. “We are going through a harsh situation right now in Venezuela. Sending a message right now does not mean anything, because they’re fighting right now. They’re fighting for food. They’re fighting for a better life. They’re fighting for everything, for medicine. Somebody’s got to step up… because people are dying in Venezuela.”
The 34-year-old slugger has continued to represent the South American country at the international level, most recently playing in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. The team won a bronze medal for finishing third in the 2009 edition of the event.
Cabrera, who posted a .357 on-base percentage with 11 home runs for the Tigers before the All-Star break, called for an end to communism in the videos Monday. He added, “to the people of the resistance, you are not alone,” before pleading again for the safety of his family members, per Woodbery.
“Please do not do anything to my family. That’s what I ask,” he said.