A CUBAN baseball team has been denied visas for an event in Puerto Rico.
The team was to participate in a qualifying tournament for the Central American and Caribbean Games, but has not received visas from the US government, Cuba’s Institute of Sports (INDER) said today (AEST).
Originally the team thought it was going to have permission to arrive only hours before the tournament’s Friday start, because of political differences between the US government and the Communist island nation.
Cubans need special US government permission to compete in global sports events on US soil or in US territories.
The situation comes as Major League Baseball officials await word on whether or not Cuba will send a team to compete against elite-level talent in next March’s World Baseball Classic.
Cuba is scheduled to join Puerto Rico, Panama and the Netherlands in a first-round group with round-robin games to be played in San Juan from March 8.
Two teams will advance to a second round-robin group, also to be played in San Juan.
Australia, Italy, Dominican Republic and Venezuela will compete for the other two second-round berths.
China, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan will compete from March 3-6 in an Asian group that will send two teams to second-round games at a US site against two qualifiers from a group including Mexico, Canada, South Africa and a US team.