Peter C. Bjarkman, as quoted in the Havana Times:
“How many ballplayers do you think will abandon the Cuban squad once they get to San Diego?” It is the favored starting point for just about every American, Canadian, European or Asian reporter. The political overtones of possible “defections” of Cuban ballplayers, in fact, seem at times to be the only burning issue for most in the North American press.
Few commentators outside the island care to write about the talented sluggers and hurlers that might make Cuba a legitimate tournament favorite. Fewer still care to examine how little-known Cuban League talent might actually stand up to the professional big league competition. Since few North American fans know the names or faces of top Cuban stars, there don’t seem to be many enticing story lines to be presented there.
Given decades of propaganda from a mainstream U.S. press aimed at portraying Cuba as a virtual prison camp from which every last island resident is desperate to flee, it is not surprising that such a storyline attaches to the vaunted national baseball team.
JG: I highly recommend reading Peter's complete article.