Sunday, December 25, 2005

US Boycott of Cubans in Baseball Criticized



Panama, Dec 25 (Prensa Latina) The Pan American Baseball Confederation (COPABE) criticized the decision of US to stop the participation of Cuba in the World Baseball Classic Championship in 2006.

Eduardo de Bello, COPABE President, rejected Washington"s measure and said that once more, politics is in the middle of sports interests.

De Bello assured Cuba has the right to play, because of its condition of Olympic and World Champion, and reminded that Havana permits US players to play in Cuba.

Puerto Rico, one of the hosts of the event, said it was thinking of retiring from competition, in solidarity with Cuba.

The event is sponsored by the Major League Baseball Organization (MLB) with support of the International Baseball Federation (IBF).

Players like Panamanian Carlos Lee, slugger of the Milwaukee Brewers, were in favour of the attendance of Cuba to the event.

The Cuban Federation proposed organizers that incomes obtained by the World Champion in the event, were destined to the affected by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

The Office for Foreign Actives Control (OFAC) in US informed a few days ago that the participation of Cuban players was rejected, because every participant would have incomes in the event.

This was immediately criticized by different personalities, Olympic Committee leaders, MLB representatives and nearly 80 US congressmen.

Cuba would compete in Group C, with the teams of Panama, Holland and Puerto Rico, one of the hosts.

Cuba has got the World Champion title 27 times, and has become Olympic Champion three times, in the four times it has competed in the Olympic Games.

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