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THE PALM BEACH POST SUNDAY, MARCH 29, 1998 14 1 Cubas successfully mixes business with humanitarian aid 16A What Joe Cubas sets his mind to, he will get done. ' JOSE BASULTO Brothers to the Rescue president were in vogue. This is the first trip that Dominguez or any other agenf has taken to the Bahamas to help these people," he said Friday. "We are there for the right reasons." -T Some of those are economic and some are humanitarian. Cubas does have his reasons, that much is certain. claimed territorial privilege. "These guys are always a day late and a nickel short," Guim said. "Where has he been all these years?" Cubas, who is fond of saying that the baseball is less than 10 percent of his work, pointed to his record and how this idea had come to him at Barcelona long ago, before refugee signings t times travels with bodyguards. During this recent sensitive period when negotiations were not with ball clubs, but with the government of the Bahamas, he refused to discuss publicly anything but humanitarian matters. "We were extremely sad and disappointed that these Cuban baseball players landed in the Bahamas," said Guim, Cubas' spokesman. "But we are also delighted because now the world media knows what's going on there and attention has been drawn to the horrible conditions those refugees in the camp have been living with." The game is not totally obscured by humanitarian concern, however. Last week, Gus Dominguez, a rival agent from Total Sports International of Beverly Hills, Calif, went to Nassau to test the waters for potential clients. Guim and Cubas quickly tries the Dominican Republic for those who defect while in the United States and Costa Rica for those who come via boats to the Bahamas so as to circumvent baseball's amateur draft. By entering as citizens from other countries, rather than refugees in flight, his players have been able to sign big-money free agent deals instead of being forced to negotiate only with one team. Halfway house for players Cubas has turned his home into a halfway house for players who are adjusting to life in the United States. He has said as many as a half-dozen have lived with him at one time. A career in his father-in-law's construction business likely would have claimed Cubas' future had he not attended the Olympics in Barcelona six years ago and watched the baseball there. He saw the talent of the Cuban play ITJ WALL UNIT Z 1 HOME THEATER 3f I 100 Solid Wood- Imported Ur X Introductory Price J1 490" 5k wvrm One of a Kind Furniture, Dining Sets, Desks, Beds, Wall Units, Armoires, uecor, etc. nvco iiwi (I IDNKHIN,; BFADY DELIVERY Direct Importers & Manufacturers since 1987 4624 N. Power Line Rd, Pompano Beach (34 of a mile north of Sample Rd. on Powerline) :iMAM-iM-Ae J A1A A7 a wnsTrnMFWill AVAIWBIf 3H-W0sAWY6uAlbT0f 1WI IK CUBAS From 1A agent, after all, who brought pitcher Livan Hernandez, World Series MVP, to the Florida Marlins. Cubas needed a week of shuttle diplomacy between Nassau and Miami to work out the details that enabled Brothers to the Rescue to land. It wasn't quite like reasoning with George Steinbrenner, but it was just as touchy. "Getting supplies in there is just the first step," Cubas said. "The second is getting the refugees their visas to the countries where sponsors and relatives are waiting for them." Among those waiting is this 37-year-old first-generation Cuban-American himself. Four of the refugees in the camp are promising Cuban players who Cubas intends to usher through Costa Rica and then to the United States, where lucrative major league contracts are waiting. But this is not about baseball. "This is about peoples' lives," said Rene Guim, Cubas' associate and spokesman. "Ballplayers will not be taken out of there just because they are ballplayers." About 150 of those interned there are Cuban. They live in dilapidated trailers fenced by razor wire and were on a hunger strike for four days until the deal to bring supplies was announced. Working to bring in supplies The Bahamas has an agreement with the Cuban government to return those who enter the country illegally, but often they DPPN MON-SAT 10 A SUN 1 -5 ITUESDAY'S CLOSED! I" "If you keep doing these things, we're going to come and cut off your legs," a menacing voice says. "Cut out my heart instead," Cubas is said to reply. "It's bigger." Cuba's contempt for dictatorial personalities doesn't stop with Fidel Castro. It also has extended to George Steinbrenner. Cubas publicly assailed the New York Yankees owner earlier this month when negotiations for the services of Orlando "El Du-que" Hernandez stalled. "I'm sick of George's tactics," Cubas told reporters. "I'm fed up and tired of it. I don't respond to scare tactics." The feisty posturing worked. A few days after it, Hernandez signed a $6.5 million deal, 5 percent of which his agent pocketed as commission. But a recurring theme with Cubas is the irrelevance of the money that has come to him. "More than anything, I'm here to help my clients," he says. "That is my greatest joy." Perhaps Cubas' greatest innovation has been the skillful manipulation of immigration policy to his financial advantage over Major League Baseball rules. He has been adept at moving his Cuban clients to third coun ammt Palm Beach Neurological Group is currently conducting research projects on G( Fr, f pl CI do ab th ni n bi Li th w! G th th ns 01 sr lo w n( O th is H B ta r s ai IV b sc fi. IT A tl v, v - It Depression DIAGNOSED WITH PRIMARY DEPRESSION AT LEAST 66 YEARS OF AGE Parkinson's Disease DIAGNOSED WITH PARKINSON'S DISEASE TAKING IMMEDIATE RELEASE LEVODOPA (SINEMET). Alzheimer's Disease DIAGNOSED WITH ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE GOOD GENERAL HEALTH AT LEAST 50 YEARS OF AGE ers and also saw in them the hunger for a higher standard of living. He has called that trip a great revelation in his life "like watching the Berlin Wall crack and begin to fall." If all goes well in moving the players from the Bahamas to Costa Rica, he soon should have about two dozen players under big-league contracts worth about $35 million, his 5 percent take looking better with each defection. Cubas keeps one eye in the rear-view mirror at all times. His home phone number is top secret except to his inner circle. There are no address numbers on the front of his house and he some For more information or to participate in one of these limited enrollment studies, please call our research department at: (561) 694-1010 (888) 369-1010 All care related to these studies is FREE of charge to you. Michael M. Tuchman, M.D., FAAN Principal Investigator 3365 Burns Road, Suite 206 Palm Beach Gardens are allowed to go elsewhere. Cubas was able to persuade Bahamian officials that bringing humanitarian supplies into the camp P n ai would not cause problems with Castro or promote uprisings among the detainees. "The conditions inside there were frankly about as bad as concentration camps," said Guim. "There was a lot of red tape. There are young children in there that have special needs a 3-month-old baby. The fact that there were ballplayers just helped shed tremendous light on the circumstances." Cubas, whose parents came i Miami on a honeymoon in 1960 id never went back to see the family sugar plantation again, made the rounds of the city's talk shows Friday urging contributions for the flights. Radio broadcasts were picked up inside the detention center. J "What Joe Cubas sets his nind to, he will get done, said Jose Basulto, the Brothers to the Rescue president who went into the camp Saturday with Cubas. fThere is great need among the refugees and this is a beginning. Cubas' gifts for shaping the politics of the moment are widely admired and feared among his rivals in the always-delicate field of securing international talent When he engineered the defec tion of 16-year-old Cuban pitching phenom Osmani Fernandez two years ago, Cubas immediately Mi W 1MB Called a news conference and turned it into an emotional event. : "Osmani is just like the Rafters," he said at the time. They are all seeking freedom and are willing to risk a lot to follow their dreams. '. Fernandez came no closer to a raft than Cubas' sedan waiting for EE him in the parking lot of a hotel in Fairview Heights, 111. He was touring there with the Cuban National Junior team when Cubas slipped him a cellular telephone, then called him in the middle of the night. Fernandez sneaked out 6f his room and was driven to freedom and the minor leagues. Called a 'vulture' Few people have been as openly reviled within the Castro regime as has Joe Cubas. ', "What he does is like being a vulture," says Evaristo Ruiz of the Cuban baseball delegation. "He has no talents of his own. He can inly feed on those who have them." ! Cubas has appeared oblivious to all manner of insult from the Castro government, drawing $trength and stature from it in-$tead. He has followed Cuba's (earns throughout the hemisphere and in Europe and now finds himself followed by Cuban security personnel whenever he Is spotted. ! He has disguised himself, traveled under aliases, used Kalkie-talkies, hidden in bath-fooms and hung out at budget hotels "cloak and dagger stuff The Advantage Rate Money Market Account from SunTrust. It gives you the advantages of a money' market account combined with the ease of check access. Plus an introductory APY of 5.5 on balances o) $50,000 or more. And if things are changing at your bank, maybe now is a good time to switch to SunTrust. A bank with over 100 years of experience building relationships in llorida. Where you get one-on-one attention from local decision-makers. People you know that make it happen. So when you're ready for an easy switch, stop by or call SunTrust. 1-800-2SWITCI I. that gets your adrenalin going," he calls it Cubas has managed to $tay ahead of the intrigue game. "I couldn't care less about the hings they say about me or what hey trv to do to intimidate me," .1 it.- 1 Itr m i hf i ' 1 mm; H-1 i'i. ,i . 'i 1 1 1 i ' j ' tuj Ivii mt f It as tli, in SW iVnl will t.un ,in M he said. !'. ... l-s- i ( j i .ft , m i ai M't : -t 4 t'ui Kii.nn cv U ! .vt . t. V 1 ' .';.! - J ) 1 - u iM t.un .hi Ar of 4 ' ' ! tv m.n mlti. e '' (M'il.'i ! t-. - hmiH - .( i ii .th i 'is x. i :- tt iiinv.i, 1 1. p tifim.HM -nv wM VUxnnnm ilt nil t M thM ih! t , , v VttJ'mi t h. s i iir. -v n j C.tlni !v. h V.iitir V 1 1 1, it .v u! I 1. 1 -u i W I . i i mt n a on 1 h it is jiit to ti . mnfs ..(mi Mt fv. 1 I M t Si;n i : list is a it U'M, t . . i m r i,, m.)'. 1m U i i; i"X, Ii tsi K lo Nun i flisl H tuts. IiH A favorite story of Cubas with the ringing of a ifl his Miami home.