Baseball officials reapplied for a permit that would allow Cuba to join World Baseball Classic and Puerto Rico’s baseball federation also announced that San Juan would withdraw as a host city if the Cubans were not allowed to participate
Baseball spokesman Pat Courtney said a new application was submitted to the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. The commissioner’s office and the players’ assiciation had said they planned to address government concerns and ensure that no money would go from U.S. entities to the Cubans.
Israel Roldan, president of the Baseball Federation of Puerto Rico, and Hector Cardona, president of the Puerto Rico’s Olympic Committee, opposed the decision by the U.S. Government.
“What we are saying is that we should renounce our position as host if Cuba is not permitted to compete,” Roldan said. Roldan sent a letter to International Baseball Federation President Aldo Notari saying the island would decline to be a venue because of the U.S. government’s decision.
Notari said he sympathized with Roldan’s view but said it was up to Major League Baseball to move the games out of Puerto Rico, which is scheduled to host games during the first and second rounds. “I won’t enter into a problem with the national committee,” Notari said. “The position of Roldan is very good and very clear.”
Cardona also mentioned that he was talking to other Latin American officials to enlist their support in persuading the U.S. government to change its position.
Cuba is scheduled to play Puerto Rico, Panama and the Netherlands in Puerto Rico in the first round of the tournament on March 7-10.