U.S. embargo affects sports sector in Cuba: official

The U.S. embargo against Cuba has severely affected the island’s sports sector, a senior official told a press conference Friday.

Rodney Montes de Oca, director of Havana’s Anti-Doping Laboratory, said that the unilateral policy toward the country blocks funds for different services the scientific center delivers to a number of international organizations.

“We are not capable of meeting our international commitments with the World Anti-Doping Agency,” he said, adding that “the U.S. embargo hinders the country’s access to equipment, chemical reagents and supplies.”

First imposed in 1962, the embargo bars U.S. companies from doing business with Cuba and selling products containing more than 10 percent of U.S. components to the country.

For his part, Luis Daniel del Risco, treasurer of the Cuban Baseball Federation, said the United States had hindered the country’s access to logistics and sports equipment.

“The blockade harms the development of baseball across the country. We have been forced to be resourceful to maintain the vitality of our national sport,” he said.

On June 23, the Cuban government will present its annual draft resolution against the embargo before the UN General Assembly, which was postponed last year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.