January 08, 2006

Strike One, You’re Out!

We don’t have to play ball with anyone we can’t conquer. Or so it would seem by last month’s announcement that Cuba will not be allowed to play at the upcoming World Baseball Tournament (March 3-20 in the U.S., Japan and Puerto Rico) because of the embargo.

Should it matter that some of the best baseball players in the world come from Cuba? Or that Cuba has won 3 of the 4 gold medals since baseball became an Olympic sport? What stands out is that the leader of the free world, a former baseball team owner, would rather continue the practice of isolationism.

Such ideology is equally prevalent in Cuban policy.

In November of last year, a group of dissident Cuban women (the Ladies in White) won a prestigious European human rights award, but were denied permission to travel and receive their prize in Strasbourg.

All of which points to the fact that Bush and Castro may have more in common than plain idiotic hate of the other.

Last July a Cuban soccer team was allowed to play in the U.S., perhaps because they didn’t violate the embargo by receiving any money, or perhaps because Castro is not a soccer fan.

Of course, not every Yale-Harvard alumni would have seen how much more troublesome it would have been for Castro if Cuban teams had been allowed to play.

For example: 1. A few of those Cuban players might have defected, giving Fox News something to report on the island other than balseros (rafters). 2. The Cuban team might have lost, maybe even to an American team. 3. The money that the ballplayers took home might have become encouragement or inspiration for future defections or changes on the island.

Instead, Castro can still point to a bully-superpower that clearly prefers conflict and isolationism to cultural and sportsmanlike exchanges.



Post a Comment

<< Home