Panama to host relocated Caribbean Series

January 28th, 2019

The 2019 Caribbean Series, originally scheduled to start Saturday in Venezuela, has been relocated to Panama because of problems in the South American country.
The tournament -- which features the winter league champions from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Venezuela -- will be played Feb. 4-10 at Rod Carew National Stadium in Panama City.
"From the time Barquisimeto was chosen, we though that Venezuela was apt to put this event together, but we also tried to line up alternative sites in case of any kind of trouble," Caribbean Federation president Juan Francisco Puello Herrera said. "When we looked at the situation, and although a lot of countries came to us with options, we chose Panama because it offers a lot of advantages at this time."
Cuba, which has participated in the Caribbean Series as a special guest since 2014, and Panama, which has not been in the event since 1960, will also play in the tournament.
Last week, the U.S. government and Major League Baseball sent out advisories to avoid travel to the country in the wake of the violent protests, as Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido each lay claim to power.
Last Thursday, the leagues -- known collectively as the Caribbean Federation -- held an emergency meeting to determine the tournament's fate, with the members agreeing to a 24-hour window to find another location for the tournament or canceling it altogether. On Friday afternoon, the group announced it was still considering all options. Three days later, Panama -- an original member of the Caribbean Federation -- was named.
The tournament could eventually lead to Panama's re-entry as a member of the Caribbean Federation. Nicaragua and Colombia could also become members in the future.
"We prepared our calendar for five or six teams and were ready for any of the options that were approved," Puello Herrera said.