Saturday, March 8, 2008

Prospective U.S. invasion of Cuba enters second phase

In keeping with the previous post, I have now written and sent my letter to the US Soccer Federation in order to get those guys to help American supporters attend the US-Cuba World Cup qualifier, most likely to be held in Cuba, this fall.

Now, usually when it comes to something like a letter-writing campaign, I put it off and put it off until I remember, usually when I'm driving or at work or in the shower or far too late with a "Oh yeah, wasn't I going to...." sort of thing. Not this time. So to further help you, I've posted my letter below. Feel free to copy and paste it into your own letter to the USSF. Or you can send it to them at this site. They need to hear from you as soon as possible as arrangements of this sort take time, and the earlier they can get a head start on this, the better. It may eventually do no good at all, but at least we can all say we've tried right?

March 8, 2008

U.S. Soccer Federation
1801 S. Prairie Ave.
Chicago, IL 60616

To Whom It May Concern

As a US MNT supporter, I would like to ask the USSF what your office plans to do to accommodate the wishes of others like myself who wish to support our team when it (most likely) will play the national team of the Republic of Cuba in Havana this fall?

I am fully aware that a strict economic embargo is in effect, limiting travel and financial transactions with that country. However, since this is a World Cup qualifier, no less, with all of the seriousness that brings with it, I would like to request that the USSF do all it can to assist supporters of the American side who would like to attend the game and root for our national team. Following on with other supporters who have contacted you, I suggest the following actions:

1. Apply to the State Department for a cultural exchange permit for a group of US supporters to accompany the team.

2. Arrange for a charter flight that could fly the group in (on the same schedule as our team) and out of Cuba.

Your support for a legal group of US Supporters traveling to Cuba would reduce the chance of Americans traveling to Cuba through third countries on their own, an illegal act. However, that is the kind of enthusiasm involved here, from American fans who simply want to cheer on the American national side participating in a FIFA World Cup Qualifying round.

Of course, though it is not the USSF’s job to engage in international diplomacy, in the current climate of political change in Cuba, however slight that may be, this simple game could be the beginning of a bridge of understanding between our two antagonistic countries. For this and for the plain reason of helping Americans provide the maximum amount of support for the American national team, I request your help in facilitating ease of transport to this game.



Walter Lippmann said...

Sports, music, culture and politics: follow the Cuban story on CubaNews, a Yahoo news group which has posted over 80,000 items since August 2000.

I travel to Cuba often and report on life there as well.

Martek said...

Well Walter, how likely do you think it will be that the State Department will allow this trip?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Martek. I will be ripping off your letter and sending it with my name!

Martek said...

Excellent anon, though of course you'll have to sign your name to it for the USSF. :> The more we can get this ball rolling the better.

Anonymous said...

In the wake of the Cuban U-23 defections, I'm sorry, but I'm not sure there is a more eloquent argument for avoiding Cuba than this. Their own players will not be playing in Cuba when CONCACAF goes there! Does this not argue for fans not to go there as well? For instance, if you go there, is this desertion not telling you that you are attending, and by your presence endorsing, a despotic and dehumanizing situation that not even the players can endure? Why should the US Soccer Federation be a party to such a message?

Martek said...

I'm not in favor of ending the embargo or anything. Just getting USSF to put together a supporters trip. If CONCACAF schedules the game there, we have to play there and I think the US team should have US supporters there, especially in Cuba.

But agreed, it would be nice to hear something from the USSF, or at least MLS, about the defections. Not sure what they should say, other than "Welcome, and if you're good enough, we'll enter you in the SuperDraft next year or hold a special draft for you later this year."