The US Treasury Department has granted licenses allowing transactions with two Venezuelan baseball teams, the local Baseball League and two sources said on Friday.
In November 2019, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) authorized transactions with six of the eight teams in the Venezuelan baseball league, which allowed them to bring Venezuelan and foreign players attached to the Big leagues.
At that time, the following teams were excluded from the authorizations: Navegantes del Magallanes, whose headquarters are in the city of Valencia, and Tigres de Aragua, from the city of Maracay, both in the center of the country.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro was quick to celebrate the move, saying: “Even though they wanted to sabotage it, they couldn’t!”
The Venezuelan Professional Baseball League of Venezuela (LVBP) wrote on Friday on his Twitter account that Navegantes and Tigres received licenses from OFAC, weeks before the start of the baseball season in the country.
“The Venezuelan Professional Baseball League has the great pleasure of announcing to the general public that the Tigres de Aragua and Navegantes del Magallanes teams received the license,” he said.
“Both currencies would reestablish their legal system before Major League Baseball and their reintegration into the Winter League Agreement, in order to use all the personnel that militate in organized baseball,” the organization added.
The Treasury Department has not commented at this time. Washington’s measures, imposed since 2019, do not allow Americans to do business with the Venezuelan government.
OFAC “issued the licenses on Friday and they are in the hands of the team’s lawyers,” he explained to Reuters a source linked to the Venezuelan league.
“People are no longer going to deprive themselves of seeing their stars (…) now they can dress up here,” said Oscar Henriquez, president of the Sports Committee of the Tigres de Aragua.
Faced with limitations, the Tigers last season played with Venezuelan players and others from Mexico who are in independent leagues and who did not have major league contracts, Henriquez added.
* Part of this report comes from Reuters.
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