Cuba Baseball Trip Criticized and Applauded on Capitol Hill
As we reported a couple of weeks ago, the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has issued a specific license authorizing the Twin State Peregrines, a youth baseball team comprised of 11 and 12 year-olds from New Hampshire and Vermont, to travel to Cuba and play a series of baseball games.
Apparently, the granting of this license was not well received by at least one member of the Florida Congressional delegation. The Washington Post's "In The Loop" column reported yesterday that Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL) convened a meeting of the Cuba Democracy Caucus on July 10th to discuss the license with OFAC and State Department officials. According to the report, the invitation said the purpose of the meeting was to "discuss the very troubling granting of a Treasury/OFAC license to a little league team to travel to Cuba in August . . . ."
Today's Rutland Herald reports that Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) responded to the criticism by releasing the following statement:
"I don't like the idea of the government telling ordinary Americans, let alone Little Leaguers, where and when they can travel . . . If the president can go to China at taxpayers' expense, these kids ought to be able to go on a privately paid trip to Cuba to play some baseball." The article indicates that Leahy went on to say "that there are far more important issues facing the country than taking issue with a group of youngsters playing baseball in Cuba." He also noted that "The Bush Administration, which tries to make travel to Cuba nearly impossible, decided it had no basis to deny the team's request shows how far off-base these critics are."The baseball team departs for Cuba next weekend and still needs additional funds to pay for its trip. Donations can be sent to the following address:
- Hanover Baseball Association
- Cuba Trip Fund
- 2 Freeman Rd
- Hanover, NH 03755