14ymedio, Havana, 28 January 2019 — The 2019 Caribbean Series, which was to be played in Barquisimeto (Venezuela) next week, will be held “in an alternate venue.” The decision was made by the Commissioner of the Caribbean Professional Baseball Confederation (CBPC by its Spanish acronym), who reported on Sunday that the resolution is “official” and irrevocable.
Three of the four full members of the CBPC voted to withdraw the series from Venezuela, with the only opposing vote cast by the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League (LVBP by its spanish acronym).
The organization based the decision on three reasons, the first of which is the information provided by the Venezuelan executive, in which a state of “usurpation of powers” as well as “acts of a foreign enemy, hostilities and coup d’etat” is being experienced. These facts, the CBPC argues, “are outside the control or influence” of the LVBP and the organizing committee of the event.
Another of the reasons given by the Confederation is the rupture of relations between Venezuela and the United States, which makes it impossible to “obtain visas to Venezuela for US citizens who form a major part of the teams that will eventually participate.”
Finally, and also as a consequence of the above, the recommendation that Major League Baseball (MLB) officially made to its affiliated players “not to remain in Venezuelan territory, compromises the participation of a large majority of players,” the statement said.
The organization recognized the “enormous effort” the Venezuelan league and the organizing committee have made to date, and said they did not make this decision before conducting “the deepest analysis of its impact and consequences” for professional baseball in Venezuela and all the leagues that are members of the Caribbean Confederation.
The organization also confirmed a slight delay with respect to the dates of the tournament, now scheduled for February 4-9, instead of the originally scheduled February 2-8. The Venezuelan champions of the 2018-2019 season, the Lara Cardinals, will be unable to play in the sporting event on their home turf.
The new venue for the event and details of the game dates, the competitors and the schedule format will be announced in a few hours at a press conference. Some of the options under consideration are Mexico, Dominican Republic, Colombia or Panama.
The announcement coincides with the one made by the Cuban baseball authorities, which offered Sunday to host the Caribbean Series venue in 2020 or 2021, if it achieves approval as a full member of the CBPC.
During the act of presenting the flag to the group of players that will represent the Island in the upcoming 2019 Caribbean Series, the president of the Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB by its Spanish acronym), Higinio Vélez, said that after attending as an invited guest five editions of the event Cuba will reiterate its request to join the CBPC.
Velez said that there is no longer any impediment for Cuba to gain membership at the next meeting of the CBPC after the signing of the agreement between the FCB and the Major League Baseball on December 19.
Cuba was one of the founding nations of the Caribbean Series in 1949, when its club, Almendares, was crowned champion, the first of eight titles, seven in the period from 1949 to 1960, and another in 2014 after its return to the series as a guest nation.
This year, the Island will participate in the Series with a selection made up of members of the Leñadores de Las Tunas (Las Tunas Lumberjacks) team — winner of the just concluded national championship — reinforced with players from other squads.
Translated by Wilfredo Díaz Echevarria
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