Cuba Still Waiting for Visas to Play in Olympic Qualifier in Florida
The United States appears to be dropping the ball in Cuba’s attempt to play baseball in the Olympic qualifier in Florida. The tournament is just one week away and Cuba has yet to have their players issued visas to participate in the event. If a country hopes to host international events (and the Olympics would qualify) being prepared to issue visas to athletes participating in these events should be part of that process. The United States does not appear to be ready to meet that responsibility.
Then President Trump closed the consular area for the United States embassy in Cuba in 2017. Documentation for the visas was presented last week, but they have not heard from them. The Cubans have also attempted to obtain visas from embassies in Mexico, Panama and Guyana, but to no avail. The event is arriving, but nobody appears home to address the Cuban needs for a visa.
The other alternative for the Cubans to qualify for the Olympics would be to play in the second qualifier that is scheduled for Taiwan. Technically, in order to qualify for that event they would have to finish in second or third in the United States event in Florida, but since China has dropped out of the qualifier to be held in Taiwan it is possible that Cuba could take their place if visas can not be issued in time for the United States qualifier.
The problem with Taiwan is now that the corona virus numbers have risen there travel for foreigners has been restricted. Currently only foreign residents living in Taiwan are not subject to travel prohibitions. There is concern the travel restriction will result in the cancellation of the second qualifier that is to be held in mid-June. The CPBL, the professional baseball league in Taiwan has announced an indefinite postponement of their season.
Of course, the final concern is that the Olympics themselves could still be in danger of being held. The mood in Japan is that most residents there would prefer the Olympics be cancelled. As it stands now, travel into Japan is restricted and only residents will be able to attend events for the Olympics. With the Olympics still just a couple months away there is still a loud clamor among Japan residents that they should not be held.
What a sticky mess this corona virus has weaved.
(Photo of Team Cuba: Estudios Revolución)