A couple of weeks ago, apropos the final results of the Central/Caribbean Games in Mayaguez, I mentioned a 'rumor' that Cuba (who had failed to participate in that event) would seek the privilege of participating in the 'final chance' competition for the one remaining slot in each of the men's and women's events in the PanAmerican Games next year. It did turn out that Cuba indeed made such a request, but it has now been confirmed that the Executive Committe of the PanAmerican Federation turned it down.
As I noted, this was of course the only reasonable outcome; anything else would have been a shameful manipulation and a great unfairness to the other teams who are eligible to participate in the 'final chance' event. These teams have expended money and efforts to participate in regional events in order to have this final chance, and it would have been highly improper to see another team 'entering through the back door', without having made the effort to go through the same qualifying process as the others.
There are some suggestions that the Cubans tried to use the argument that they had not been able to obtain U.S. visas to participate in the Central/Caribbean Games. It seems that one needs to be careful with such assertions, as such claims can easily be investigated. Instead one could imagine several other reasons for the Cuban absence in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, but I will not enter into such speculation here. The main thing is that the PATHF took the right decision, and they should be congratulated.
So what now remains is to see which teams will qualify directly from the USA-Canada matches (both men and women) for the PanAmerican Games in Guadalajara October 2011, and which teams will have to participate in the 'final chance' events. joining the men from Uruguay, Puerto Rico and Guatemala, and the women from Chile, Costa Rica and El Salvador, respectively, And then will come the important decision about which countries will gain the advantage of hosting these events. This will be determined following the USA-Canada matches in late December or early January.
Editor's Note: Christer may have chosen not to speculate, but it should be noted that any Cuban who steps on American soil is granted residency in the U.S. with no questions asked. Even without the political dimension of defection this is a very tempting economic opportunity. Also, while Puerto Rico has it's own national teams and other aspects of an independent nation, it is still part of the United States.