Detroit Tigers star Miguel Cabrera, in a series of videos posted to his Instagram account Monday, railed against corruption in Venezuela in addition to making pleas to protect his family members who live there.
Amid three months of often-violent confrontations and economic turmoil in the country, Cabrera is among the increasing number of Venezuelan players in Major League Baseball who are speaking out against the government and showing solidarity with their compatriots protesting in the streets.
Cabrera, the most famous baseball player from Venezuela, has rejected the violence in videos posted on social media. The two-time American League MVP also has appeared with other Venezuelan players from the Tigers and the Texas Rangers.
“We want a better country, we want a solution. We want to have someone that steps up and stop this because we cannot continue living like this, killing and fighting for something not worth it,” Cabrera said in Spanish during an ESPN Sunday Night Baseball broadcast.
The almost-daily protests in Venezuela have left at least 90 people dead and hundreds injured. The protests have been fueled by widespread discontent over shortages of basic goods, runaway inflation and allegations that President Nicolas Maduro is undermining democracy in the country.
“I protest for truth, for the end of communism, and I am not with dictators,” Cabrera said in the videos posted Monday. “To the people of the resistance, you are not alone.”
Venezuela is the second-biggest exporter of foreign players in the majors, behind the Dominican Republic. The 76 Venezuelan players on the 25-man rosters of the 30 MLB teams was a record at the start of the season.
In the videos, Cabrera said he was “sick of paying protection money against the threat that they are going to kidnap my mother” and that he continues to try to help his homeland.
“I have helped Venezuela a lot,” he said. “I have sent medicine and food. What do you want me to send? Weapons? Don’t tell me that we are not doing anything.”
Cabrera said he’s finally speaking out “because the country has been hijacked” and because of his concern for his family.
“Please do not do anything to my family. That’s what I ask,” Cabrera said. “… As the chavistas told me, ‘If you go to Venezuela, they will break you, they will kill you.'”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.