The Mexico Handball Forum reports that Cuba has decided not to participate in the upcoming Central America and Caribbean Games this summer in Puerto Rico. The Handball tournament at this event serves as a qualifier for the PANAM Games. Unless the Pan American Team Handball Federation (PATHF) alters its qualification format, this will preclude Cuban participation at the PANAM Games. In addition to its status as the preeminent multi-sport event in the American Hemisphere the PANAM Games has also served as the Handball qualifier for the Olympic Games.
At the 2007 PANAM Games, the Cuban women finished 2nd and the Cuban men placed 3rd. Based on those and recent performances Cuba would again have been a contender to medal and challenge Brazil/Argentina for the title.
Cuba identified concerns with visas, landing rights for Cuban aircraft and security assurances that their delegation could avoid "continuing pressures and provocations" as their reasons for not participating. It should also be noted that Puerto Rico’s status as a Commonwealth of the U.S. would have meant that every athlete setting foot in Puerto Rico could immediately apply for asylum which under U.S. law is granted unconditionally to all Cubans.
Editor’s note: We have posted 2012 Olympic qualification pages (see right hand side links) based on the qualification process used for the 2008 games. These pages are projections based on unofficial information and will be updated once the IHF publishes the official qualification guidelines
Mexico Handball Forum (3 Mar 10): Cuba will not participate in the Pan American Games in Guadalajara!: http://handball.mforos.com/1179288/9442619-cuba-no-participara-en-los-juegos-panamericanos-de-guadalajara/