In March, the first World Baseball Classic begins. Finally, there will be a world cup-type tournament for baseball and Canada will field a pretty nice team. Jason Bay, Erik Bedard, Eric Gagne, Corey Koskie, Justin Morneau, Matt Stairs and others of note should be competitive. I mean, they'll probably be outmatched by the USA, Dominican Republic or Cuba. What's that you say? Cuba isn't playing? Why not?
In an absolutely bonehead move, the US govt will not allow Cuba into the country to play in the tournament. I don't even think it's entering the country that's the problem. The govt doesn't want Cuba taking its share of the profits from this tournament due to the ongoing embargo against that country. Castro must be loving this, as his country is the victim and the USA is being viewed as the evil guys who won't let Cuba play. The International Olympic Committee is saying that the USA will have serious trouble being considered for an Olympics in the future is they don't allow Cuba to play in an international tournament but, being the arrogant fools they are, the USA will not abide.
See, long ago, Cuba was the playground for the rich. The wealthy and the mafia ran the island at the expense of the native people. When Castro led the revolution and kicked the Americans out, the Americans in turn have held such a grudge against him that to this day, there is no communication between them and the island. Oh, they'll claim they won't speak with Cuba because their people are not free under communist rule, yet the USA does just fine with China. Sure, Castro isn't the nicest of guys (political prisoners and crushing dissent aren't at the top of Santa's good list) but it's all sour grapes for getting their collective ass kicked out. And now, 45+ years later, this harmless tiny island cannot play in an international tournament where they belong.
Any baseball tournament without Cuba is illegitimate.