Saturday, December 17, 2005

Let the Cubans Play

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Treasury Department - in effect, the Bush administration - has refused to allow a Cuban team to enter the United States to play in the first World Baseball Classic this spring.

U.S. major league baseball and its players union, the sponsors of the event, envision the Classic as a World Cup-style tournament, played every four years and featuring the world's best national teams and best players. More than 177 major leaguers are expected to participate.

The reason for the ban on a Cuban team is the four-decades-old embargo, tightened by the Bush administration to prohibit most commercial transactions, on Fidel Castro's regime. Treasury should reconsider and the organizers say they will appeal.

The 16-team tournament will be played in the United States, Japan and Puerto Rico, where Cuba is scheduled to play its first two rounds. The tournament has excited baseball fans, not only because of the fascinating match-ups - China vs. Japan, the U.S. vs. everybody else - but what it will do for the sport internationally.

To the rest of the world, the ban makes the United States look mean, petty and small-minded.

Let the Cubans play.

- Scripps Howard News Service

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