SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- The president of the Puerto Rican Basketball Federation says five Cuban players are missing from an international tournament.

Carlos Beltran says the five men did not show at practice Tuesday just before a game against Nicaragua. Cuba lost to the Bahamas 81-66 on Monday. The teams are in Puerto Rico for the Centrobasket Championship 2012.

Some Cuban athletes in the past have used international competitions as an opportunity to defect. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and Cubans who make it to the island generally are allowed to apply for legal residence.

SLIDESHOW: A Timeline of Fidel Castro's Life
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    As <em>The Guardian</em> <a href="" target="_hplink">reports</a>, Cuba became the first Communist state in the western hemisphere after Castro, then a 32-year-old lawyer, leads his rebels to victory on the streets of Havana, overthrowing the regime of U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista.


    As Reuters is <a href="" target="_hplink">reporting</a>, Castro holds the Guinness Book of Records title for the longest speech ever delivered at the United Nations: four hours and 29 minutes, on Sept. 29, 1960. Still, even that pales in comparison to his longest speech on record: a whopping seven hours and 10 minutes, at the III Communist Party Congress in Havana in 1986.


    Though the image of Castro as a cigar-chomping guerrilla fighter has become iconic, the Cuban leader actually gave up cigars back in 1985, Reuters is <a href="" target="_hplink">reporting</a>. "The best thing you can do with this box of cigars is to give them to your enemy," he once said.


    According to former Cuban Security Chief Fabian Escalante, Castro is said to have survived 638 attempts on his life since he came into power. <a href="" target="_hplink">According to</a> <em>The Independent</em>, Castro is quoted as saying, "If surviving assassination attempts were an Olympic event, I would win the gold medal."


    As<a href="" target="_hplink"> Reuters points out</a>, Castro outlasted nine U.S. presidents, from Eisenhower to Clinton, and faced increased hostility under President George W. Bush, who tightened enforcement of financial sanctions and a travel ban.


    Though Castro was once believed to have been scouted by the New York Yankees and the Washington Senators, the rumors are false. Still, <a href="" target="_hplink">according to</a> <em>The Independent</em>, Castro is known to be a baseball fan and excelled at the sport as a student.


    As Reuters is<a href="" target="_hplink"> reporting</a>, Castro has at least eight children. His eldest son Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart, who is the image of his father and is known as Fidelito, is a Soviet-trained nuclear scientist. Daughter Alina Fernandez, the result of an affair with a Havana socialite when Castro was underground in the 1950s, escaped from Cuba disguised as a tourist in 1993 and is a vocal critic of her father's rule from her Miami radio program. Castro has five sons with his second wife Dalia Soto. Their names all begin with A. The youngest, Antonio, is the national baseball team's doctor.


    In his years as Cuban leader, Castro was rarely seen wearing anything other than his trademark green fatigues. Still, as <em>The Independent</em><a href="" target="_hplink"> reports</a>, Dutch designer Merel Van't Wout is said to have once persuaded Castro out of his fatigues and fitted him for several suits in dark blue, grey and dark green.


    The Associated Press is <a href="" target="_hplink">reporting </a>that Castro's 85th birthday will be celebrated in his native Cuba with "Serenade to Fidelity," an extravaganza featuring two-dozen singers and musicians from nine Latin American nations.