I am not surprised that Jorge Mas, vice chairman of the Cuban American National Foundation, has turned the baseball game between the Baltimore Orioles and Cuba's best baseball players into a political event [letters, May 21]. Mr. Mas criticizes the Baltimore Orioles and others for turning the game into a grossly politicized spectacle for adversaries of U.S. policy.

As Washington director of the Cuban Committee for Democracy, a Cuban -American organization favoring moderate policies of engagement with Cuba, I find this statement surprising. After all, adversaries of the current U.S. policy were not politicizing the game by protesting outside. That was the foundation and its allies. People in favor of increasing people-to-people contacts were not rushing the field and disrupting the game to make political statements. Once again, that was the hard-line segment of the Cuban American community trying to use this apolitical event for political gain. I agree with Mr. Mas's right to express his political feelings, but I am disheartened by his criticisms of this game as being politicized when his organization was the one politicizing it.

The Cuban Committee for Democracy also disagrees with Mr. Mas's assessment of the priorities U.S. policy should set toward Cuba. Forty years of hostility toward the island have only encouraged Mr. Castro and his government to resist change, for fear that the United States will return to the island with a heavy hand. We cannot expect to have our voice heard in Cuba as long as we are the enemy. Basing our relationship with Cuba on negotiation is the only way that the United States can hope to help Cuba in its transition to democracy. The baseball game is a step in that direction.


Washington Director

Cuban Committee for Democracy