May 7, 2000
Member of Cuban baseball team leaves group in Minnesota

                  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 Hubert
                  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 and
                  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. "We
                  need to leave it to immigration officials to sort out."

                  Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.