US visas in progress for Havana for the team, a first since 2017 – File info – Tokyo 2020

Members of the Cuban baseball delegation were received on Wednesday by the US Embassy in Havana for their visa application for the pre-Olympic tournament in Florida, a first on the island where this process has been suspended for Cubans since 2017. “12 players” were interviewed on Wednesday and two others groups of players will be auditioned on Thursday and Friday, Luis Daniel Del Risco, head of arbitration and treasury in the Cuban federation, told AFP. baseball.

On Monday, the federation warned that the United States had not yet issued a visa to delegation members, while the tournament begins May 31 in Florida. The US embassy stopped the visa service in 2017, due to the mysterious case known as the alleged “acoustic attacks” on US diplomats, who complained about various ailments and health problems. Since then, Cubans have been forced to travel to a third country to apply for a visa to the United States. 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 baseball delegation, consisting of 41 members, had therefore started its visa application on April 19 in Mexico, but in the face of the impossibility of obtaining them on time, it began looking for other ways to do the process in Panama. Or Guyana on. , Del Risco explained. “Until we find the opportunity to do it here” in Havana, where the application was submitted on 11 May. “The United States has a responsibility to facilitate the presence of all countries” in the tournament, the federation said Monday worried as the event approached.

The 32-player Cuban preseason will also play two preseason matches in Florida, against the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, on May 27 and 29. Mr. Del Risco is the highest-ranking representative of Cuban baseball after the death of Covid in recent weeks by the two most important leaders in the federation, Higinio Vélez and Ernesto Reinoso. Although a visa has not yet been issued, he considered on Wednesday that these talks were a gesture of goodwill from the US authorities. “It seems like a good thing for us, the boys can continue to train, we did not have to travel anywhere else,” he said.

Baseball / softball returns to the Olympics this year, for the first time since the 2008 Beijing Games.

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