FREEDOM of speech is not the freedom to harass. The treatment of Cuban athletes in Indianapolis since the start of the Pan American Games has been inexcusable. Cuban-American groups have been baiting the Cubans - flying a plane over the competition area with a phone number to call to defect, tossing leaflets and fliers into playing arenas to the same end, provoking fights.
Corrective steps are being taken. Indianapolis officials have increased security for the Cubans. Edward Derwinski, undersecretary of state for security assistance, has explicitly stated that no government agency in the United States is behind the troublemaking. And so forth.
More should be done. Vice-President Bush, who took part in the opening ceremonies, should follow up with pointed remarks about good sportsmanship. Television and print commentators should stop playing up any contrived Cuban-United States rivalry for medals.
Casting others as ``enemies'' - Fidel Castro and the communists, in this case - makes it difficult to meet with them later in play. Government Castro-bashing may be taken, wrongly, to permit the public to do the same.
International sports competitions should be declared politics-free zones. Washington and Havana may not get on amicably, but at least their countries' athletes should be allowed to show the way.