Colombia Counts on Cuba’s Vote in Its Attempt To Regain the Venue for the Pan American Games

Press conference led by Gustavo Petro, along with several sports managers, after his meeting about the Pan Americans. (Presidency of Colombia)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 13 January 2023 — The participation of the Cuban Professional Baseball Federation (Fepcube) in the Intercontinental Professional Baseball Series is subject to “not singing the National Anthem or using the flag” of Cuba, nor the name “Fepcube Patria y Vida” during the event that is scheduled from January 26 to February 1 at the Edgar Rentería stadium in Barranquilla (Colombia), journalist Yordano Carmona said on his social networks.

“The use of these symbols,” he warned the governing body of Colombian sport, “would be interpreted as a clear violation of Cuba’s constitutional and sports rights.”

Carmona asked if the participation of the Independent Cuban team, Pelota Cubana USA, in the Intercontinental Series was in jeopardy? The Ministry of Sports “has neither a voice nor a vote” in the organization of a “private tournament” such as the series organized by Team Rentería USA, owned by the former U.S. Major League player, Edgar Rentería, and his brother Edinson.

The Ministry of Sports of Colombia has decided to support the Government of Cuba by rejecting this team of exiles

However, the Ministry of Sports of Colombia has decided to offer its support to the Government of Cuba by rejecting this team of exiles, and this is due to its attempt to recover the venue for the Pan American Games in Barranquilla 2027, which it lost due to the non-payment of 8,000,000 dollars, for “the right of organization” and “the granting of media rights.”

Prior to the trip of the president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, to Chile, to meet with Neven Ilic, president of the Pan American Sports Organization (Panam Sports) – in charge of designating the venue for the Pan American Games – “somehow the National Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation (Inder) has put pressure (on Colombia),” Carmona denounced.

“It will take the vote of the countries of the area to resume the Pan American Games,” the journalist anticipated about the event in which Peru and Paraguay have also shown interest. “Somehow Cuba has already started with that blackmail,” noting that “they (Colombia) will need that support.”

The Colombian Ministry of Sports deauthorized, on January 9, the event of Team Rentería USA, specifying that “it is not organized by the Colombian Baseball Federation, nor is it part of the events of the World Baseball and Softball Confederation, the only organization endorsed by the International Olympic Committee.”

The athletes see no impediment to complying with the prohibition of using national symbols in exchange for participating

The athletes see no impediment to complying with the prohibition of using national symbols in exchange for participating. “If we have to have a minute of silence, we will do it. If we have to kneel on the floor, we will do it. This is a Cuban exile team. We don’t need either the flag or the anthem; we carry them in our hearts,” stressed Yunel Escobar, a member of the Patria y Vida group, at the end of this Thursday’s training at Miami Dade College.

Days before, Escobar expressed to journalist Francys Romero the “honor” he felt when he was playing with the (Cuban) baseball players who are outside the country and “representing the political prisoners and the people who died at sea, who have suffered the Cuban dictatorship”

In the Fepcube Patria y Vida team are Aledmys Díaz, Alay Lago, Albert Lara, Alex de Goti, Alejandro Rivero, Josuán Hernández, Lázaro Rivera, Luis Avilés Junior, Rangerl Ravelo, Yandy Díaz and Yuli Gurriel. Among the catchers are Edgar Quero, JC Escarra and Harold Vázquez. The outfielders are Henry Urrutia, Lourdes Gurriel Junior, Peter O´Brien, Leonys Martín, Andy Martín, Jorge Soler and Sergio Barthelemy.

Among the pitchers are Aroldis Chapman, Yennier Cano, Cionel Pérez, Daysbel Hernández, Odrisamer Despaigne, Jorge Martínez, Yoanner Negrín, Jesús Balaguer, Pedro Echemendía, William Gastón, Raidel Orta, Yuniesky Maya, Yordan Nodal, Yusniel Padrón and Edilberto Oropesa.

The series will be developed with six guest teams from countries such as Curaçao, the United States, South Korea, Japan and Colombia, who will be represented by Caimanes de Barranquilla, the last champion of the Colombian League.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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