Earlier this week, Venezuelan pelotero Miguel Cabrera took his Instagram Stories not to show off his All-Star Game vacation, but rather to make a political statement about his homeland. “They’ll break me. They’ll kill me,” said the Detroit Tigers slugger when referring to returning to Venezuela. He then went on to speak candidly about the political state in his country, which has seen government troops clash with protestors in an already-violent 2017.
This wasn’t Cabrera’s first time speaking on the subject but it was, without a doubt, his most powerful statement yet. Speaking in Spanish, he said, “I’m tired of paying protection money so they don’t kidnap my mother.”
Cabrera has made trips back to Venezuela in recent year, but hasn’t been able to stay for extended periods of time; during the 2016 offseason he made the trip back home but only stayed for about a week. Ahead of spring training he told David Mayo of MLive, “When I’m back in Venezuela, I went for one week. I used to live there. Now I live here, in the United States. It’s hard to leave your country. It’s hard to leave your family over there. My whole family’s in Venezuela. I worry about them. They worry too. They say, ‘Let’s keep fighting,’ you know?”
When referring to the protests that have sparked all over Venezuela so far this year, the 34-year-old Tigers first baseman showed his full support: “I protest for truth, for the end of communism, and I am not with dictators. To the people of the resistance, you are not alone.”
And that support cannot be understated. Although he may not be a politician or an activist, his word carries weight as one of Venezuela’s most famous exports.