MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- A member of a Cuban baseball team visiting here got
into a car and sped off Saturday in a possible defection as his team was leaving
the terminal at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
The player was a member of "Equipo Caribe," Team Caribbean, which is made
up mostly of students from the University of Havana and some students from a
technical institute in the Cuban capital, said Doug Hennes, a spokesman for the
University of St. Thomas, which is sponsoring the visit.
After a welcoming ceremony about 3 p.m., the student walked out of the
Humphrey Terminal along with other players, coaches, staff and faculty
Hennes identified the missing man as Mario Miguel Chaoui.
Chaoui did not contact his group or government authorities, and his whereabouts
remained unknown Saturday night, he said.
"We haven't heard hide nor hair of him," said Jim Winterer, another spokesman
for the St. Paul college. "He just got in the car and is gone."
The team is in Minnesota to return a visit to Cuba by the St. Thomas baseball
team last winter.
The Rev. Dennis Dease, president of St. Thomas, who was at the charter
international arrivals terminal to welcome the Cuban delegation, said he hoped the
player would contact the group and return to the team.
"There is always a possibility of this happening," Dease said in a statement.
need to leave it to immigration officials to sort out."
Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.