Anti-Castro sign at WBC sparks furor in Cuba
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- While Cuba played the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, a spectator in the stands raised a sign saying: "Down with Fidel," sparking an international incident that escalated Friday with the velocity of a major league fastball.
The image of the man holding the sign behind home plate was beamed live Thursday night to millions of TV viewers -- including those in Cuba. The top Cuban official at the game at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan rushed to confront the man.
Wuh oh! A Cuban official is upset! Surely the police will arrest the protestor right? Wrong!
Puerto Rican police quickly intervened and took the Cuban official -- Angel Iglesias, vice president of Cuba's National Institute of Sports -- to a nearby police station where they lectured him about free speech. "We explained to him that here the constitutional right to free expression exists and that it is not a crime," police Col. Adalberto Mercado was quoted as saying in El Nuevo Dia, a San Juan daily.
Local organizers of the tournament responded by banning posters of a political nature, but a top police official said his officers would not enforce the ban."The police of Puerto Rico will not interfere at any time with any type of expression," Puerto Rico Police Chief Pedro Toledo said.
Viva Puerto Rican Policia! Viva Col. Adalberto Mercado! Viva Chief Pedro Toledo!
Now that is how you do it!