INDIANAPOLIS, AUG. 10 -- Pan American Games organizers and city officials today condemned incidents of harassment of Cuban athletes by anti-Castro groups and said security around the delegation will be increased.
While Cuban officials expressed dissatisfaction, they also said they have no intention of pulling out of the Games.
The measures are a result of two incidents Sunday, the first day of competition in the 10th annual Pan Am Games, which are being held in the United States for the first time since 1959. A group hurled leaflets into the Cuban dugout at a baseball game and engaged in a shouting match with coaches, and Cuban Olympic Committee President Manuel Gonzalez Guerra was verbally accosted in a hotel elevator.
The Cuban delegation filed a formal letter of protest Sunday accusing local officials of complicity in the distribution of materials they said encouraged their athletes to defect. Cards listed phone numbers of local police, immigration services and the local Cuban American National Foundation.
Department of Safety Director Richard Blankerbacker, police chief Paul Annee, local organizing committee president Mark Miles and local organizing chairman Ted Boehm were among those meeting with the Cubans today. They denied any complicity with the propaganda and assured the delegation security would be improved.
"We have met with the delegation to assure them that we take these activities seriously and that throughout the games we will take those measures necessary to prevent these disruptions," said Miles.
Raul Amador Villanueva Torres, technical head of the Cuban Pan Am delegation, said the incidents were "unfriendly. What they are doing is damaging everything the organizing committee has done.
"Cuba will be here until the 23rd of August, sharing with the people of Indianapolis," he said through an interpreter. "Our delegation has come to compete, to show a spectacle."
Annee witnessed the incident late Sunday night at the Bush baseball stadium, when a small group flung leaflets onto the field before a game with Netherland Antilles. Cuban baseball coaches tore up the leaflets and flung them back into the stands, shouting at the protesters. After the game, there was a small skirmish in the stands between two groups wrestling over a Cuban flag.
Earlier in the day, Guerra was followed by a small group as he entered an elevator at his downtown hotel. The group insulted him, but made no physical contact.
"We can't take it out of perspective," Annee said. "We're talking about minor skirmishes. But we're doing everything we can to make sure that Cuba has the right to compete here. While we hold in high regard the right to dissent in this country, we do not hold in high regard these disruptions. The kind of incident I saw with my own eyes at Bush Stadium will absolutely not be tolerated."
Annee said officials haven't identified the groups involved in the incidents.
Miles said city officals had met with the Cuban American National Foundation in July to ask them what activities they had planned, and were told they would distribute only educational material. Miles said Annee and Mayor William Hudnut were scheduled to meet with the foundation again today.
The Foundation has acknowledged responsibility for two other irritants to the Cuban delegation. In the formal letter, Cuba protested a plane that flew near the opening ceremonies trailing a sign with a phone number for Cubans interested in defecting, and the distribution of cards to athletes at the ceremonies.
Security will be an issue Wednesday, when a Cuban defector will compete for the United States in weightlifting. Robert Urritia, once a three-time world champion for Cuba, defected in 1980 in Mexico City by lowering bed sheets from a hotel window.