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San Francisco, Venezuela Hosts Annual Latin America Regional Meeting

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (April 12, 2005) – The present and future of Little League Baseball and Softball in the Latin America Region was discussed March 11-12 in San Francisco, Venezuela.

Nearly 80 people, including more than 30 delegates from 15 counties, attended the Latin America Region’s annual meeting. Also taking part were representatives from several Latin American cities interested in hosting future Latin America regional tournaments.

Among the topics of discussion were changes to International Tournament rules, a report on preparations for the 2005 tournament season, and improving the process for acquiring travel visas. Also discussed were training clinics for league volunteers, acquisition of playing equipment, and proposed improvements at the local, national and regional levels.

“This meeting was two days of hard work,” Carlos Pagan, Latin America Region director, said. “The Latin America Region continues to grow, so it was important for delegates from different countries to meet and express how Little League is operating in their countries.”

Representing Little League International at the meeting was Patrick Wilson, director of regional operations for Little League Baseball and Softball. The meeting was hosted by Mr. Pagan, and Jorge Antúnez, Venezuela country director. In 2005, Venezuela celebrates its 50th year of affiliation with Little League.

“At least two delegates per country attended, as well as many league presidents and district administrators,” Mr. Wilson said. “Locations for upcoming regional tournaments were decided, and among the questions answered were those regarding travel from the Latin American Region to the United States, as well as the acquisition of playing equipment.”

Little League’s Latin American Headquarters, based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, oversees the operation of 427 local leagues in 24 nations. Little League has chartered programs in Latin America since 1950. In 2004, the Latin America Region had more than 3,100 teams chartered and nearly 48,000 children participate in the Little League program.

Delegates from 30 countries attended the annual Latin America Region meeting held in San Francisco, Venezuela. Seated from, left to right, are: Felix Rivera (a member of the Little League International Board of Directors), Patrick Wilson (director of operations, Little League International), Carlos Pagan (director, Latin America Region), Saady Bijani (Mayor of San Francisco), Oslando Muñoz (director, Zulia State Sport Institute), Ubencio Blanco (representative from National Sport Institute), Leonel Cabezas (representative from Maracaibo County Sport Institute), Jorge Antúnez (Venezuelan country director) and Ruben Araujo (president, Maracaibo Series Organizing Committee). In 2005, Venezuela is celebrating its 50th year of affiliation with Little League Baseball and Softball.