SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- More than fifty years after the country's last appearance in the Caribbean Series, Cuba could return to the Caribbean Confederation and participate in next year's event in Mexico.
On Thursday, Caribbean Confederation commissioner Juan Francisco Puello said he is leading a delegation to Cuba next month to present a proposal to the island's sports authorities in an effort to bring them back to the series.
"We are thinking about including Cuba in some way," Puello said. "We believe they will be a big factor in the next Caribbean Series in Hermosillo [Mexico]."
An original member of the Caribbean Confederation, along with Panama, Puerto Rico and Venezuela, Cuba played host to the first Caribbean Series in 1949, one year after the federation was formed.
From 1949 to 1960, Cuba won the title seven times. In '59, Fidel Castro took over in Cuba and declared it a Communist nation, ending its participation in the Caribbean Series after '60.
"It will depend on them," Puello said. "In regards to Cuba, people are mistaken. We never shut the door. It was them who didn't want to come for various reasons. Now, we are working on a proposal in this case to see if we can get them excited about returning to the Caribbean Series."
Puello added that Panama, Nicaragua and Colombia will not join the Caribbean Federation in the near future, because the leagues have struggled economically and could not host a Caribbean Series any time soon.
"In regards to those leagues, if you can't take care of your own house, you can't take on another," he said. "Nicaragua, Colombia and Panama have economic problems internally. Solve your problems internally. If those leagues are functioning well economically, we will open the doors to the Confederation."
Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB.