By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, Jan. 22 — If Cuba’s athletes are going to be present at this year’s Central American and Caribbean games in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico depends little on that country’s authorities, but instead on the United States which controls Puerto Rico’s immigration and security matters.
The Cuban Olympic Committee sent out a press release on Friday that makes it clear that several issues must be resolved if Cuban athletes are going to participate in the games set to take place from July 17 to August 1 in Mayaguez.
Cuba insists that the US grant visas to its entire delegation of athletes, trainers, sports officials and support personnel including journalists, and entry of the equipment needed for the competition. It also demands “permission to land its charger airplanes at an appropriate airport in Puerto Rican territory with assurance that the planes will not be confiscated.”
The Cubans further want assurances for similar lodging, internal transportation and other facilities assigned to the other sports delegations.
Another key point for Cuba is a guarantee for the “safety and tranquility of its athletes, avoiding continuous pressures or provocations” from Cuban exile groups “during the delegations transport from one place to another, in the places where they are lodged and where they train and compete.”
“These just demands have been made to the US State Department by the head of the Cuban Interests Office in Washington. Only when we receive concrete answers can we decide on our participation in the Games. And the clock is ticking,” concluded the press release from the Cuban Olympic Committee.