Cuba has denounced the “vile aggression” it says was unleashed upon their baseball team during the semi-final of the V World Classic played on March 19th in Miami. The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Relations has ruled against the “harmful attacks” on the team and their relatives in Miami, and have stated that the city does not meet the minimum conditions to organize sporting events with Cuba. Cuban television showed images of the moment when some spectators threw food and drinks at a group of wives and children of Cuban baseball players who were in the stands. The Cuban Foreign Ministry recognized that “the conduct of the US team and its management were respectful and in accordance with the spirit of sports.” However, it highlighted the hostility of some attendees from the Cuban community in Miami, which included “direct attacks, threats, the use of offensive and vulgar language, harmful attacks on the moral of the Cuban team and other incidents aimed at undermining the spirits of the athletes and harm the show”.
This latest incident has highlighted the complicated relationship between the United States and Cuba. Although the countries have made some progress towards normalizing relations over the past few years, incidents such as this show that there is still a long way to go. It is likely that there will be calls for action to be taken against those who carried out the attacks on the Cuban team and their relatives. However, it is also clear that measures will need to be taken to improve relations between the Cuban community in Miami and the Cuban government if sporting events are to take place successfully in the future.
It is a shame that such incidents occurred during what should have been a celebration of the sport of baseball. It is crucial that all those involved in sporting events, from athletes to officials to supporters, behave with respect and dignity towards one another. The fact that the US team and its management were respectful towards the Cuban team is commendable and shows that it is possible for the two countries to come together in a spirit of sportsmanship. Let us hope that incidents such as this do not occur again in future sporting events, and that sports can continue to bring people together from all over the world, regardless of their nationalities and backgrounds.