Cuban national footballer Reinier Alcantara says he defected to the United States last week by running away from his team’s hotel in Washington.
Alcantara, 26, was one of two players who defected during the team’s trip to Washington to play a World Cup qualifier at RFK Stadium. The other was midfielder Pedro Faife, 24, The Washington Post reported Monday.
Talking to the newspaper about his defection, Alcantara said he bolted from the Crystal City Doubletree Hotel and ‘started running like crazy and didn’t look behind’. He hailed a cab, drove aimlessly for awhile and got out at a McDonald’s restaurant.
After finding a cheap motel, a mutual friend called an Atlanta contact, and after the three had met for lunch at a diner, Alcantara was driven to Georgia, housed and given money for clothes and other necessities, the newspaper said.
Cuba’s coach, Reinhold Fanz, said: ‘We have security, but you can’t handcuff them to their rooms.’
Immigration law in the US allows Cuban defectors to remain there as long as they are able to place foot on land.
A Cuban immigrant who arrives in the US may receive a permanent resident green card after one year.