US grants Cuban baseball players visas days before tourney

The U.S. government has finally issued visas for the players and coaches of the Cuban national baseball team to compete in the Baseball Americas Olympic qualifying tournament starting May 31 in Florida

“This afternoon we were notified about the issuance of visas,” said a statement released Tuesday by the Cuban Baseball Federation. “The news has been received with pleasure by the members of our team, given that the decision, as we have repeated in recent days, is essential for realizing our fight for our dream in Tokyo.”

According to Cuba’s baseball federation, the athletes would travel in “the next few hours” to Florida. The tournament runs from May 31 to June 5 in West Palm Beach and Port St. Lucie, but exhibition matches are scheduled before that.

With three gold and two silver medals, Cuba has dominated Olympic baseball.

Eight nations — Cuba, the United States, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Colombia and Canada — will be battling for one spot in the six-team Tokyo Olympic baseball tournament.

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