[Marxism] U.S. Approves Cuba for World Baseball Event (NYT)

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Fri Jan 20 06:54:21 MST 2006

January 20, 2006
U.S. Approves Cuba for World Baseball Event

Cuba has been granted a license to participate in the World Baseball
Classic by the Treasury Department, two people with direct knowledge
of the process said today, enabling the country to compete in the
16-team tournament that runs from March 3-20. The license eliminates
a thorny complication and potentially fatal blow to the event. If
Cuba had been denied a license, the inaugural event would have been
jeopardized because the International Baseball Federation said it
would remove its sanction.

The two people with knowledge of the decision spoke on condition of
anonymity because they were not yet authorized to discuss it.
Officials from Major League Baseball and the Players Association were
certain to be relieved that Cuba, which won the 2004 Olympic gold
medal, could participate in the World Baseball Classic. Cuba, a
traditional baseball power, is in Pool C in the four-pool event, with
Puerto Rico, Panama and the Netherlands. An official announcement
about the license was expected this afternoon.

When the World Baseball Classic first sought a license for Cuba, the
Treasury Department denied it because the Cubans would have made
American dollars. That would have violated the United States' trade
embargo against Cuba.

The tournament organizers submitted a second license request on Dec.
22 and eliminated any possibility that the Cubans would earn money.
Paul Archey, baseball's senior vice president for international
matters, and Doyle Pryor, a union lawyer, met with Cuban officials
last week to gather information that had been requested by the Office
of Foreign Assets Control, a division of the Treasury Department.

After Mr. Archey and Mr. Pryor gave the information to the Treasury
Department, they were optimistic that Cuba would soon get a license,
and the approval came through today. The deadline for provisional
rosters has already passed so Cuba will have to provide its roster as
soon as possible.

The dispute had threatened to have more far-reaching implications for
the United States. In addition to the international federation's
threat to withdraw its sanction, Jacques Rogge, the president of the
International Olympic Committee, linked the Cuban situation to a
possible American bid for the 2016 Summer Games.

Mr. Rogge told The A.P. this week that he would welcome an Olympic
bid, but added that there must be assurances that all countries would
be allowed to compete without interference.

"We would need to have guarantees in terms of immigration, of all
athletes and all countries, to avoid this issue that we have with
Cuba," Rogge said. "These are things we need to have."

U.S. to Allow Cuba in Baseball Tournament
Published: January 20, 2006 
Filed at 11:23 a.m. ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- Cuba will be allowed to play in the World Baseball
Classic, after all.

The U.S. Treasury Department issued a license Friday allowing the
Cubans to participate in the 16-team tournament, a government and a
baseball official said. The pair spoke on condition of anonymity
because an official announcement had not been made.

Baseball's first application was denied in mid-December by the
Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, but the
commissioner's office and the players' association reapplied after
Cuba said it would donate any profits it receives to victims of
Hurricane Katrina.

U.S. laws aimed at punishing Fidel Castro's communist government
prohibit certain commercial transactions with Cuba, generally
attempting to deny money.

After the initial rejection, the International Baseball Federation
threatened to withdraw its sanction of the tournament if Cuba was not
allowed to participate. In addition, Puerto Rico threatened to
withdraw as a host.

The tournament, the first in which the world's top players will
participate on national teams, runs from March 3-20.

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