Rice baseball team to visit Cuba

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HOUSTON – The Rice University baseball team is heading to Cuba.

The Owls will be the first collegiate baseball team to travel to the island nation since President Barack Obama announced re-established diplomatic relations with the county in 2015, sources within the school confirmed Thursday afternoon.

The team is expected to play five exhibition games against Cuban professional and amateur teams in Havana and surrounding communities.

The Rice University delegation is expected to be headed by President David Leebron and will include members of the Baker Institute for Public Affiars. The delegation is also expected to include City of Houston and Harris County leaders, including County Judge Ed Emmett who’s a Rice graduate, in an effort to open additional trade possibilities for Houston-area businesses with Cuba, sources said.

The trip will span 7-10 days and is expected to take place in late November, according to sources.

Rice baseball players will be briefed before the trip on Cuban political history and the current state of affairs in the country to better prepare them for the cultural exchanges that they will be part of during the trip, sources said.

The U.S. severed diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961.

(© 2016 KHOU)

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