Well, the Pan-Am Games seem to have become the event of choice for Cuban defections. This year at the Pan-Am Games four Cubans defected.
And this year wasn't even that bad by historical standards. In 1999 defecting was nearly an event at the Games. 13 Cubans, including a journalist, defected by the time it was all over. In 2003, Cuba sent home athletes during the middle of the Games that they thought might defect. And 5 of Cuba's best baseball players weren't even allowed to attend the 2003 Games because they were considered likely to defect. Ironically, two of the players managed to defect to El Salvador only a few months later.
This year Castro, fearing a repeat of 1999, even ordered the men's volleyball team to be rushed back to the island before they could accept their bronze medals.
But significant damage was done. The country's star boxer Guillermo Rigondeaux "disappeared" while he was in Rio de Janeiro to take part in the 2007 Games.
The 2000 and 2004 bantamweight Olympic champion apparently defected along with fellow boxer Erislandy Lara over the weekend of the 21st and 22nd, media in Rio reported last week.
"We gave them permission to go out last night and they did not return," Maximiliano Gonzalez Diaz, president of Cuba's National Boxing Commission, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa in Rio. "It is very sad."
Why they let Rigondeaux go out for a night is beyond me, considering there were rumors Rigondeaux might defect before the Games began.
Handball player Rafael Da Costa Capote and gymnastics trainer Lazaro Lamelas had earlier abandoned the communist island's delegation. Capote and Lamelas said last week that they plan to request asylum in Brazil.
With Rigondeaux's "disappearance," Cuba no longer has a reigning Olympic champion living on the island.
And to make matters worse, in December 2006, three other boxing stars - Yan Barthelemy, Yuriorkis Gamboa and Odlanier Solis - defected during a tournament in Caracas. They now box professionally in Germany.
This essentially means Cuba has no boxing team to send to Beijing in 2008, a sport in which they usually contend.
I'd don't think too many people are shedding tears for them.