March 26, 2006 [LINK]

No cash prize for Cuba

Fidel Castro will not be able to carry out his pledge to donate the 2nd-place prize money from the World Baseball Championship to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, because Cuba will not get any of the money. The first place team (Japan) is supposed to get nine percent of the net proceeds (if any), and the runner-up gets seven percent. As a condition for participating in the WBC, however, the Cuban government had previously agreed not to accept any money. Otherwise, it would have been a violation of U.S. laws. (See That's funny, I could have sworn the Cold War was over... Castro insisted that such a donation would not be "wasteful extravagance," but rather an "investment in humanity." (Whether the gesture might have been influenced in some small way by Cuban propaganda objectives is another question, however.) See the Granma Web site for the official Cuban version of these events (en español).

In Cuba's defense, it should be noted that not one Cuban player defected, quite a contrast to the Atlanta 1996 Olympics.