The Cuban baseball federation responded by stating it would donate proceeds from the games to those displaced from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Venezuelas baseball federation has offered to host the games as an alternative to Puerto Rico, to ensure Cubas participation. Puerto Ricos baseball federation announced its withdrawal from hosting the games to protest the U.S. governments exclusion of the Cuban players.
International Baseball Federation (IBF) president Aldo Notari, of Italy, said that IBF backing for the games is based on the Olympic charter principles, which prohibit discrimination against a country on grounds of politics, reported the Toronto Sun. The IBFs stance has put the games in doubt as member countries are expected to not participate if Cuba is excluded or face being banned themselves from future IBF-sanctioned competitions.
The games, billed as the first-ever World Baseball Classic, are an 18-day tournament featuring 16 teams of mostly professional players from North and South America, Asia, Europe, Australia, and Africa. They are to be played March 3-20 in Japan, Puerto Rico, and three U.S. statesArizona, California, and Florida.
MLB officials have expressed disappointment at the U.S. governments decision and have reapplied for a license to include Cuba in the games, reported the Miami Herald. Cuba is the reigning Olympic and World Cup champion in baseball. Cuban baseball teams have won 25 of the 36 World Cup tournaments since the games began in 1938.
La Gaceta takes up fight against racism in Cuba
How Cubas support for Angolas liberation struggle began
The role of women in Cubas revolutionary army
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