The American government has informed Major League Baseball that the Cuban team will not be allowed to participate in the World Baseball Classic next March. This is because the participating nations will each get a share of the money the tournament raises. If the Cuban baseball federation receives this money, it will be a violation of US law.
Whatever about the politics of the embargo on Cuba, I can't understand how Major League Baseball misplayed this one so badly. It's not like there is no precedent of Cuban teams playing in the US. Their Olympic teams have been to America on many occasions and only a few months ago their soccer team competed in an American tournament.
However, this also seems like a dumb move by the American government. Already some of the best Cuban players are playing professionally in the US thanks to their having defected. How many other Cuban stars will be lured by the big money on offer? This is not like the Olympics - nearly every other participant in the tournament will be among the world's highest paid athletes. Major League teams will be crawling all over this event looking for the best available talent. I'm sure one or two Cubans will attract a lot of interest. Current Cuban major leaguers could follow the team around.
This tournament is a much bigger problem for the Cubans than it is for the Americans. Allowing a few dollars to head south in exchange for one or two defections would surely be a price worth paying in the public relations battle with the Castro government.