Cuba, Basketball and Betrayal

Channel 4

Unreported World

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Ade Adepitan and Director David Fuller travel to Ciego De Avila, home to the best basketball team in Cuba. When some of its players traveled abroad to a tournament last summer, some defected - while the other players returned home. The programme investigates what made the defectors leave their teammates, friends and family forever - and why the others remain loyal to Cuba.

Nine months previously, Cuba’s government allowed the national team to visit the US territory of Puerto Rico. Within hours they defected, along with three players from other clubs.  Adepitan talks to some of their fellow team members, who had the chance to defect, but chose to return to Cuba. "They went to look for economic improvement," one of them tells him. “Players here don’t earn very much.”  

Some of the Buffalo players are good enough to play in top international leagues, but as they explain to Unreported World, while ordinary Cubans are now allowed to leave the country for up to two years, high value people like surgeons and sports stars are not given the same right. 


'Sound, professional journalism.'

- The Observer

'capturing an intriguing glimpse...'

- The Guardian

Critics Choice 

- The Observer, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, Sunday Telegraph, The Times

To view this episode in full, please go to

First Broadcast

April 12, 2013



Producer Director

David Fuller


Ade Adepitan

Executive Producer

Eamonn Matthews


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