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updated: 2/3/2014 10:09 AM

Cuba baseball team draws protests in Venezuela

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  • Cuba starting pitcher Norge Ruiz pitches Sunday during the first inning of the Caribbean Series baseball game against Venezuela in Porlamar, Venezuela.  Associated Press

      Cuba starting pitcher Norge Ruiz pitches Sunday during the first inning of the Caribbean Series baseball game against Venezuela in Porlamar, Venezuela. Associated Press

 
Associated Press

Cuba baseball team draws protests in Venezuela

PORLAMAR, Venezuela -- Cuba's return to a tournament of the Caribbean's top baseball teams after a half-century absence is being met with protests in Venezuela.

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About 200 people carrying signs such as "Cuba go home" gathered outside a hotel on Margarita Island where the Cuban team Villa Clara was resting following their debut in the five-nation tournament.

Sunday's protest was called by Venezuela's opposition, which sees Raul Castro's communist government as the architect of their own country's socialist policies.

Cuba hosted the inaugural Caribbean Series in 1949 and won of seven of the first 12 tournaments before withdrawing from the competition when former President Fidel Castro banned professional sports in 1960.

Cuba returned this year despite concerns by Major League Baseball that its participation would violate a U.S. trade embargo against the island.

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