Diaz hopes to reunite soon with mom in Cuba

May 12th, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG -- When decided to defect from Cuba in 2013, he understood that there was a chance that he wouldn't be able to see his mom and his family for a long time, or maybe ever again.

"At first it was really tough, but we both knew that there wasn't a lot of opportunity in Cuba," Díaz said in Spanish. "She understood that if I made that decision, it was to help our quality of life and have some money and just live like other people.

"That decision was tough, but at the same time it was easy because I came here to fight for the two of us."

Díaz says his mother, Elsa Maria Fernandez, worked seven days a week from 5 a.m.-7 p.m. to be able to have food every day for the family.

"She did everything," Díaz said. "At that time, there wasn't a lot of opportunities for us to have a good life. She fought for me, and thanks to her I was able to eat meals throughout the day, and you know, she's done everything for me."

The two talk every day through WhatsApp or FaceTime, and Díaz hopes to be able to see his mom in person soon. In the past, it was impossible for defected players to return to Cuba, but with recent law changes between the United States and Cuba, Díaz is optimistic that he'll be able to return home to see his mother for the first time in six years.

"My mom is the biggest thing that I have in my life," Díaz said. "I'm hoping to go this year. I have all the paperwork, and hopefully they let me back into Cuba so I can see her."