Cuba December 19, 2007

Cuba denied participation in Stanford 20/20

Cuba will not be playing in the 2008 Stanford 20/20 because of a political embargo by the USA government, the competition's board of directors has announced
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Cuba will not be playing in the 2008 Stanford 20/20 because of a political embargo by the USA government, the competition's board of directors has announced. Click here for the full story.

Martin Williamson argues that there's a certain double irony about the USA's actions.

Will Luke is assistant editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mike on October 28, 2008, 17:03 GMT

    Its very dispointing that cuba is not particpating in tournament it would be benifical to the cuban team playing against good teams. And getting good experince. This was their first offical tournament.. Its very sad that policates is involved in sports

  • Chris S on December 29, 2007, 18:07 GMT

    Actually Steven Davies-Morris, the Cuban team in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) was an actual team from Cuba and not a team of Cuban defectors. Cuba was initally denied participation in the WBC but then Puerto Rico threatened to pull out as co-hosts and the International Olympic Committee hinted that the move would adversely affect all future applications by US cities to host the Olympics. That pressure forced the US government to back down and allow Cuba to participate. Unfortunately cricket means little or nothing to the US government, so even if say the USVI threatened some action it would achieve nothing and the ICC only just recently achieved IOC recognition so at the time at least the IOC wouldn't have gotten involved to ensure fairness. Since Cuba was all prepared I would hope that they play some twenty20 matches against some the Stanford teams (e.g. Jamaica and Bahamas) outside of the tournament itself.

  • Turlough Kelly on December 21, 2007, 1:09 GMT

    Omar, there IS a sporting exemption but it only applies to US sportsmen competing in Cuban-hosted events. The "problem" here is that Stanford is a US citizen seeking to inject cash into Cuban sport. The irony of a US regime which has sacrificed billions of dollars and countless lives in its quest to make the world safe for free market capitalism telling one of its citizens what he can and can't do with his money is rather rich, not to say pungent. Perhaps Stanford could nominally relinquish control of this tournament in future and run it via a holding company based in the Caribbean to prevent this situation arising again?

  • Steven Davies-Morris on December 20, 2007, 21:37 GMT

    The biggest irony here is that in 2005 when the first World Baseball Classic (not to be confused with the 70 year old Baseball World Cup) was staged in conjunction with Major League Baseball, Cuba was represented. Granted the Cuban team was staffed by already defected major and minor leaguers, but they were playing under the Cuban flag and were very proud to be the runners-up. I suppose the financial clout of MLB vs Stanford and it being baseball vs cricket carries more weight, but there really is no good reason why the State department should enforce this absurd double standard. I hope Mr. Stanford's legal team will point this out as they work to get a genuine Cuban national cricket team permission to play in the Stanford 20/20. Maybe not in 2008, but hopefully in 2009 and beyond, as one more barrier to political normalization and Cuba's eventual rehabilitation is broken down.

  • Jude on December 20, 2007, 8:30 GMT

    Another reason how U.S. politics interferes with other worldly events, this time with sport. Sad

  • NAV1181 on December 19, 2007, 22:30 GMT

    like America's in the position to talk about tyranny

  • daniel on December 19, 2007, 21:16 GMT

    I agree Sports and Politics should not mix, however, Castro uses sports to prop up the "triumph" of his revolution. I happen to be Cuban, and would have loved to see my fellow countrymen participate, and later defect. This is a tough, personal issue for me. I live in Brasil and was happy to see the Pan Am games, the medals, and the defections. One should note the Cuban delegation was whisked away in the dead of night under guard for "their protection" but the truth is it was to prevent more athletes from abandoning the delegation. Since the fall of the Iron Curtain they are the last country that treats their athletes in this matter, preventing them from freely moving about. Just think of this: You don't see athletes from other nations defecting in the numbers you see from Cuba.

  • kirby on December 19, 2007, 21:12 GMT

    Sad situation..Maybe the Test nations and other cricket playing nations can invite the Cuban team to those countries or have some kind of exchange program to promote the sport in Cuba..

  • Joel on December 19, 2007, 20:46 GMT

    Shocking but not unexpected. USA was conceived as the home of freedom by its "sons of liberty" but has become what those pioneers fought against, a totalitarian state.

  • andrewkeogh on December 19, 2007, 19:39 GMT

    pathetic!

  • Mike on October 28, 2008, 17:03 GMT

    Its very dispointing that cuba is not particpating in tournament it would be benifical to the cuban team playing against good teams. And getting good experince. This was their first offical tournament.. Its very sad that policates is involved in sports

  • Chris S on December 29, 2007, 18:07 GMT

    Actually Steven Davies-Morris, the Cuban team in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) was an actual team from Cuba and not a team of Cuban defectors. Cuba was initally denied participation in the WBC but then Puerto Rico threatened to pull out as co-hosts and the International Olympic Committee hinted that the move would adversely affect all future applications by US cities to host the Olympics. That pressure forced the US government to back down and allow Cuba to participate. Unfortunately cricket means little or nothing to the US government, so even if say the USVI threatened some action it would achieve nothing and the ICC only just recently achieved IOC recognition so at the time at least the IOC wouldn't have gotten involved to ensure fairness. Since Cuba was all prepared I would hope that they play some twenty20 matches against some the Stanford teams (e.g. Jamaica and Bahamas) outside of the tournament itself.

  • Turlough Kelly on December 21, 2007, 1:09 GMT

    Omar, there IS a sporting exemption but it only applies to US sportsmen competing in Cuban-hosted events. The "problem" here is that Stanford is a US citizen seeking to inject cash into Cuban sport. The irony of a US regime which has sacrificed billions of dollars and countless lives in its quest to make the world safe for free market capitalism telling one of its citizens what he can and can't do with his money is rather rich, not to say pungent. Perhaps Stanford could nominally relinquish control of this tournament in future and run it via a holding company based in the Caribbean to prevent this situation arising again?

  • Steven Davies-Morris on December 20, 2007, 21:37 GMT

    The biggest irony here is that in 2005 when the first World Baseball Classic (not to be confused with the 70 year old Baseball World Cup) was staged in conjunction with Major League Baseball, Cuba was represented. Granted the Cuban team was staffed by already defected major and minor leaguers, but they were playing under the Cuban flag and were very proud to be the runners-up. I suppose the financial clout of MLB vs Stanford and it being baseball vs cricket carries more weight, but there really is no good reason why the State department should enforce this absurd double standard. I hope Mr. Stanford's legal team will point this out as they work to get a genuine Cuban national cricket team permission to play in the Stanford 20/20. Maybe not in 2008, but hopefully in 2009 and beyond, as one more barrier to political normalization and Cuba's eventual rehabilitation is broken down.

  • Jude on December 20, 2007, 8:30 GMT

    Another reason how U.S. politics interferes with other worldly events, this time with sport. Sad

  • NAV1181 on December 19, 2007, 22:30 GMT

    like America's in the position to talk about tyranny

  • daniel on December 19, 2007, 21:16 GMT

    I agree Sports and Politics should not mix, however, Castro uses sports to prop up the "triumph" of his revolution. I happen to be Cuban, and would have loved to see my fellow countrymen participate, and later defect. This is a tough, personal issue for me. I live in Brasil and was happy to see the Pan Am games, the medals, and the defections. One should note the Cuban delegation was whisked away in the dead of night under guard for "their protection" but the truth is it was to prevent more athletes from abandoning the delegation. Since the fall of the Iron Curtain they are the last country that treats their athletes in this matter, preventing them from freely moving about. Just think of this: You don't see athletes from other nations defecting in the numbers you see from Cuba.

  • kirby on December 19, 2007, 21:12 GMT

    Sad situation..Maybe the Test nations and other cricket playing nations can invite the Cuban team to those countries or have some kind of exchange program to promote the sport in Cuba..

  • Joel on December 19, 2007, 20:46 GMT

    Shocking but not unexpected. USA was conceived as the home of freedom by its "sons of liberty" but has become what those pioneers fought against, a totalitarian state.

  • andrewkeogh on December 19, 2007, 19:39 GMT

    pathetic!

  • Barhos on December 19, 2007, 17:33 GMT

    This is awfully bad news, Sports and Politics should remain miles apart.

  • Rich B on December 19, 2007, 12:00 GMT

    That's a real disappointment for Cuba, after all that investment and training so hard. If the decision doesn't get overturned they at least ought to be included in the Americas Division 3 Championship in Buenos Aires in February, to give their team some international exposure.

  • Omar Davies on December 19, 2007, 10:17 GMT

    This is absolute backwardness. Apart from my total objection to the economic blockade, I thought that sporting contact was exempted. Furthermore, this competition has nothing to do with the US, except for the fact that the sponsor, Mr. Stanford, is a citizen of that country. Such heavy-handedness will do nothing to assist the image of the US, not only in the West Indies, but also through the cricketing world.

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  • Omar Davies on December 19, 2007, 10:17 GMT

    This is absolute backwardness. Apart from my total objection to the economic blockade, I thought that sporting contact was exempted. Furthermore, this competition has nothing to do with the US, except for the fact that the sponsor, Mr. Stanford, is a citizen of that country. Such heavy-handedness will do nothing to assist the image of the US, not only in the West Indies, but also through the cricketing world.

  • Rich B on December 19, 2007, 12:00 GMT

    That's a real disappointment for Cuba, after all that investment and training so hard. If the decision doesn't get overturned they at least ought to be included in the Americas Division 3 Championship in Buenos Aires in February, to give their team some international exposure.

  • Barhos on December 19, 2007, 17:33 GMT

    This is awfully bad news, Sports and Politics should remain miles apart.

  • andrewkeogh on December 19, 2007, 19:39 GMT

    pathetic!

  • Joel on December 19, 2007, 20:46 GMT

    Shocking but not unexpected. USA was conceived as the home of freedom by its "sons of liberty" but has become what those pioneers fought against, a totalitarian state.

  • kirby on December 19, 2007, 21:12 GMT

    Sad situation..Maybe the Test nations and other cricket playing nations can invite the Cuban team to those countries or have some kind of exchange program to promote the sport in Cuba..

  • daniel on December 19, 2007, 21:16 GMT

    I agree Sports and Politics should not mix, however, Castro uses sports to prop up the "triumph" of his revolution. I happen to be Cuban, and would have loved to see my fellow countrymen participate, and later defect. This is a tough, personal issue for me. I live in Brasil and was happy to see the Pan Am games, the medals, and the defections. One should note the Cuban delegation was whisked away in the dead of night under guard for "their protection" but the truth is it was to prevent more athletes from abandoning the delegation. Since the fall of the Iron Curtain they are the last country that treats their athletes in this matter, preventing them from freely moving about. Just think of this: You don't see athletes from other nations defecting in the numbers you see from Cuba.

  • NAV1181 on December 19, 2007, 22:30 GMT

    like America's in the position to talk about tyranny

  • Jude on December 20, 2007, 8:30 GMT

    Another reason how U.S. politics interferes with other worldly events, this time with sport. Sad

  • Steven Davies-Morris on December 20, 2007, 21:37 GMT

    The biggest irony here is that in 2005 when the first World Baseball Classic (not to be confused with the 70 year old Baseball World Cup) was staged in conjunction with Major League Baseball, Cuba was represented. Granted the Cuban team was staffed by already defected major and minor leaguers, but they were playing under the Cuban flag and were very proud to be the runners-up. I suppose the financial clout of MLB vs Stanford and it being baseball vs cricket carries more weight, but there really is no good reason why the State department should enforce this absurd double standard. I hope Mr. Stanford's legal team will point this out as they work to get a genuine Cuban national cricket team permission to play in the Stanford 20/20. Maybe not in 2008, but hopefully in 2009 and beyond, as one more barrier to political normalization and Cuba's eventual rehabilitation is broken down.