United States grants visas to Cuban baseball players to qualify for the Olympics | Sports

Havana – The United States has finally issued entry visas to players, coaches, and personnel accompanying the Cuban team to attend the Olympic baseball preliminary games for the Olympic Games of the Americas in Florida.

The announcement of the issuance of visas comes after a controversy over the fact that they were not granted after their administration in three countries.

“We have been notified this afternoon of the issuance of the visas,” said a note from the Cuban Baseball Federation on Tuesday. “The news was received with pleasure by our team members, awaiting a decision so far, as we have repeated in recent days, it was necessary to fulfill the aspiration to fight for the realization of the dream of reaching Tokyo.”

The meetings will be held in West Palm Beach and Port St. Lucie, and islanders have tried to obtain permits in Mexico, Panama and Guyana before arrangements are made at the United States Embassy in Havana, whose consular section is almost paralyzed. Because of Washington’s sanctions.

According to the federation, the athletes will travel in “the next few hours.”

The pre-Olympic Games will be held in the Americas from May 31 to June 5, but before that, friendly matches are planned, for example, with the Dominican Republic. Cuba intends to make its debut against Venezuela in the Group Two match, which was completed by Colombia and Canada.

The first two groups of each group will be measured in the second phase. The first-placed team will qualify for the Olympic Games, where teams from Japan, Mexico, South Korea and Israel are guaranteed.

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Teams second and third will have to play another qualifying tournament, as a final way to go to the date in Tokyo, where baseball will return to the Olympic program after a 13-year absence.

Originally, this last qualifying competition was to be held in Taiwan. Due to visa restrictions on that island due to the pandemic, the headquarters changed to Mexico last week.

Last week, Cuban executives and players expressed concern about visa delays and tacit politicization as the United States continues to impose sanctions and restrictions on Cuba, and is pushing for a paradigm change.

With three golds and two silver medals, Cuba is the pre-eminent country in Olympic baseball in history. Cuba recently revealed the 32-man squad members, including contract athletes in Japan’s professional leagues.

Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez thanked, through his Twitter account, “all institutions and individuals who, in good faith and effective management, have contributed to overcoming the multiple obstacles.”

Amber Cross

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