(Havana) The Cuban Baseball Federation announced on Tuesday that they had received a visa from the US Embassy in Havana for the pre-Olympic tournament in Florida, a first on the island where this process has been suspended for Cubans since 2017.
“This afternoon we were informed about the issuance of processed visas at the US Embassy in Havana to attend the pre-Olympic tournament in America to be held from May 31 in Florida,” the National Sports Institute announced in a statement.
“The news was welcomed by members of our team, who were awaiting this decision. […] essential to realize our desire to fight to achieve the dream of reaching Tokyo “, he added, specifying that the Cuban delegation would travel to the United States” in the next few hours “.
On Twitter, Secretary of State Bruno Rodriguez welcomed the announcement: “Cuba thanks all the institutions and individuals who, with their goodwill and active leadership, have helped to overcome the many obstacles to securing team participation. Cuban baseball in the pre-Olympic tournament in Florida.”
The issue of visa for the team had turned to the puzzle when the US Embassy in Havana stopped the visa service since 2017, due to the mysterious case known as “acoustic attacks” on US diplomats, who complained about various health conditions and problems.
Since then, Cubans have been forced to travel to a third country to apply for a visa to the United States, as the 41-member Cuban baseball delegation had tried in vain.
Last week, the federation was concerned that the United States had not yet issued visas to members of the delegation, just days before the tournament.
“The United States has a responsibility to facilitate the presence of all countries,” the federation said.
Relations between the two countries are at their lowest since the mandate of Donald Trump, who increased sanctions against the island, a policy so far unchanged under Joe Biden.
The Cuban team of 26 players must first play in Florida two games before the tournament, against the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, May 27 and 29.
Baseball / softball returns to the Olympics this year, for the first time since the 2008 Beijing Games.