Cubs catcher Dioner Navarro left for good more than a decade ago once he saw the direction the new president was taking his country. He later stopped vacationing there because of safety concerns and has since offered to move his parents to the United States, to no avail.

Third baseman Luis Valbuena envisions a day he, too, can earn enough job security in the majors to relocate to the United States and has looked at possible homes in the Miami area.

“I want to see it better for us,” Valbuena said, “for everybody in Venezuela.”

As spring training continues its lazy pace through March across Florida and Arizona, this is the more pressing reality for many Venezuelan-born players since the death last week of polarizing socialist president Hugo Chavez, who waged a propaganda war against the United States during his 14-year presidency.

“It’s sad what happens. Nobody wishes anybody bad,” said Navarro, a Caracas native who lives in the Tampa, Fla., area. “Nobody knows what’s going to happen. But hopefully the change is for the best and not for the worse.”

The events leading up to the April 14 elections in Venezuela between Chavez’s handpicked successor and the opposition leader are certain to be a focus for players and coaches in every clubhouse in the majors.