Daniel W. Drezner

Could Hugo Chavez threaten Venezuela baseball?

Maria Burns Ortiz has a story at ESPN.com that indicates Hugo Chavez’s nationalization policies are starting to foreign direct investment — in baseball: With that kind of talent emerging from Venezuela in recent seasons, one would assume that big league clubs would be flocking to the South American nation in search of the next superstar. ...

Maria Burns Ortiz has a story at ESPN.com that indicates Hugo Chavez's nationalization policies are starting to foreign direct investment -- in baseball: With that kind of talent emerging from Venezuela in recent seasons, one would assume that big league clubs would be flocking to the South American nation in search of the next superstar. However, the cultural and political scene in Venezuela is undergoing rapid and radical transformation, and instead of flocking to the country, teams are fleeing over concerns about safety and political uncertainty. They aren't leaving in droves just yet, but the stream has been steady enough to raise a red flag about the future.... The number of clubs pulling their player development operations out of Venezuela has been a concern for Major League Baseball. Nineteen teams have participated in the Venezuelan Summer League in the past, but only 11 did so this year. The Padres, for example, had planned on leaving Venezuela following this season after they built a multimillion-dollar facility in the Dominican, but the current situation accelerated the move. The team moved all its player development operations out of Venezuela following the 2005 campaign, two years earlier than originally anticipated. "We just figured we might as well do it [then] to avoid some of the hassle of having to deal with some of the legislation that [President Hugo] Ch?vez passes down there in hiring coaches, worrying about severance pay and just getting in and out of the country," says Juan Lara, San Diego's Latin American operations coordinator. San Diego is not alone. Baltimore ceased operating its academy following the 2006 season. The Red Sox -- one of the teams the Padres shared an academy with -- left when San Diego did in 2005. Cleveland pulled out in 2004.

Maria Burns Ortiz has a story at ESPN.com that indicates Hugo Chavez’s nationalization policies are starting to foreign direct investment — in baseball:

With that kind of talent emerging from Venezuela in recent seasons, one would assume that big league clubs would be flocking to the South American nation in search of the next superstar. However, the cultural and political scene in Venezuela is undergoing rapid and radical transformation, and instead of flocking to the country, teams are fleeing over concerns about safety and political uncertainty. They aren’t leaving in droves just yet, but the stream has been steady enough to raise a red flag about the future…. The number of clubs pulling their player development operations out of Venezuela has been a concern for Major League Baseball. Nineteen teams have participated in the Venezuelan Summer League in the past, but only 11 did so this year. The Padres, for example, had planned on leaving Venezuela following this season after they built a multimillion-dollar facility in the Dominican, but the current situation accelerated the move. The team moved all its player development operations out of Venezuela following the 2005 campaign, two years earlier than originally anticipated. “We just figured we might as well do it [then] to avoid some of the hassle of having to deal with some of the legislation that [President Hugo] Ch?vez passes down there in hiring coaches, worrying about severance pay and just getting in and out of the country,” says Juan Lara, San Diego’s Latin American operations coordinator. San Diego is not alone. Baltimore ceased operating its academy following the 2006 season. The Red Sox — one of the teams the Padres shared an academy with — left when San Diego did in 2005. Cleveland pulled out in 2004.

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. He blogged regularly for Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2014. Twitter: @dandrezner

Tag: Theory

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