It will be a reunion several years in the making when Juan Carlos Oliva travels from Cuba to see his brother, Minnesota Twins legend Tony Oliva be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame later this month.
The office of Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., helped secure a visa making the trip possible, along with Twins team officials.
“I appreciate you very much, Minnesota Twins. Amy, I understand you have been through it for us and how much [[work]] you put in…for my little brother to be here,” Oliva said during a news conference at Target Field.
The United States recently restored limited consular services in Cuba, after the embassy had been closed since 2017, because of the so-called “Havana Syndrome” attacks on diplomatic staff. Most Cubans wishing to travel to the U.S. still have to go to other countries, which is costly and time-consuming.
For example, Klobuchar said Juan Carlos Oliva was told the next visa appointment in the Dominican Republic would not be until 2024. She said the case highlights the need for improved relations between the two counties.
“It is possible for us to change foreign policy when it comes to Cuba because what we have been doing has not been really working, and I think it is time to open the doors more,” she said.
Oliva said, politics aside, he was just pleased that his family will be able to reunite for the ceremony, capping a life in baseball that began when he and his brother were children.
“Everything worked out perfect. I’m really happy,” Oliva said. “That would be another dream for me for America and Cuba … to be a friend again.”
Juan Carlos Oliva is expected to arrive in Minneapolis on Monday in time to attend the induction ceremony later this month in Cooperstown, N.Y.