Cuban Coach Disappears From Little League World Series

It's not clear whether Jose Perez defected
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2023 12:20 PM CDT
Cuban Coach Disappears From Little League World Series
The Cuba Region champion Little League team from Bayamo, Cuba, rides in the Little League Grand Slam Parade in downtown Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Monday, Aug. 14, 2023.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

This is the first year a team from Cuba has taken part in the Little League World Series, which has been held every since 1947—and they might be going home minus one coach. Little League officials say Jose Perez left the complex where the teams are staying in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Saturday night and did not return, PennLive reports. The team from Bayamo, Cuba, was eliminated the next day with a 3-2 loss to Panama. Little League International didn't say whether the disappearance was being considered a defection.

"Little League International has communicated to all appropriate authorities" and will ensure the Cuban team "continues to have the best support and experience while in Williamsport," communications director Kevin Fountain said in a statement, per the Williamsport Sun-Gazette. An executive order from President Biden earlier this year made it more difficult for Cubans to claim asylum in the US, Al Jazeera reports. Last year, around 300,000 Cubans—well over 2% of the island's population—entered the US via the border with Mexico. (More Little League World Series stories.)

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