Cuba clamps down on security with world watching

August 05, 1991|By Knight-Ridder

HAVANA -- The Cubans are trying very hard to put their best foot forward during the Pan American Games. They are well aware that with hundreds of foreign journalists in town, any miscues will become instant news.

Police presence in areas tourists frequent and around games sites is heavy, and crowd control is carefully orchestrated.

There is no admission charge for Cubans who want to attend the competitions, and popular events like Saturday's U.S.-Cuba basketball game are drawing overflow crowds.

Although Havana's Sports City coliseum, where the U.S. team beat Cuba 92-88, was packed to the rafters -- with many people unable to get inside bunched at the entrances listening to the game on the radio -- police seemed adept at moving spectators in and out.

Though many Cubans question whether the country should have gone ahead with the Games given the island's current economic crisis, people are starting to get caught up in the competitions.

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