CARIBBEAN NEWS: January 31st – February 6th, 2015

PUERTO RICO TO HOST BIGGEST BASEBALL EVENT IN CARIBBEAN—01/31/15
Puerto Rico will host the Caribbean Series, the largest baseball event in the region. The games will be played at the Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan. This is the first series in Puerto Rico in four years and is especially notable because Cuba will be a special guest.

LEPROSY CASES DECLINE IN CARIBBEAN—02/01/15
According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the number of cases of leprosy in the region has dropped significantly over the past ten years. There was a decrease in number of cases by nearly 40 percent between 2003 and 2013. The disease is present in 24 or 36 nations in the Americas and the Caribbean, but all nations except Brazil have eliminated it as a public health problem at the national level.

PLAN TO END HUNGER IN THE CARIBBEAN PRESENTED—02/02/15
A new program designed to address the issue of hunger in the Caribbean region and Latin America is under consideration at a summit of Caribbean leaders held in Costa Rica. The plan is being presented by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The plan is meant to be a tool that countries may use to design national plans aimed at eliminating hunger and extreme poverty in the region.

YACHT RACE TO FEATURE 60 YACHTS—02/03/15
The Caribbean 600 yacht race is set to feature as many as 60 yachts. The RORC Caribbean 600 race will start on February 23, 2015. The racers come from 13 different countries and will include yachts of all types of design.

TWO CUBAN BALL PLAYERS DEFECT DURING CARIBBEAN SERIES—02/04/15
Two players competing on behalf of Cuba in the Caribbean Series have defected. According to the national director of baseball in Cuba, Heriberto Suarez, Dainer Moreira, shortstop, and pitcher Vladimer Gutierrez, 19, made the decision to defect after the team return to its hotel after suffering a second loss in the series. Suarez noted the particularly painful nature of the players’ abandoning the team in the middle of a competition.

CARIBBEAN NATIONS CONCERNED ABOUT VENEZUELA’S OIL DEAL—02/05/15
Cheaper oil aids economic growth in the Caribbean, but struggling nations that depend on energy subsidies from Venezuela are not happy about the downturn in oil prices. The oil-dependent economy of Venezuela has been disrupted by falling crude oil prices, and this has left the country without cash to pay for the domestic energy subsidies and imported goods as in the past. Without rising oil prices, the future of Venezuela appears bleak, and the generous financing terms enjoyed by Caribbean countries are now in jeopardy.