Cuban athletes escaped and requested asylum in Chile

2023-11-07 19:46:15

Seven athletes from Cuba will request asylum or refuge in Chile after escaping of the delegation from their country that competed in the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games. Among the participants there is an athlete who won a bronze medal and explained that They do not have their passports because they were detained by the sports leaders of their country.

«There are seven athletes, “six women and a man, who are going to ask for refuge or asylum and that is something that we are going to determine during the course of today,” he said this Tuesday. lawyer Mijail Bonito in statements to the Chilean press.

As far as could be known, they are six members of the field hockey team and a hurdle competitor who won a bronze medal in the games that closed on Sunday.

«Their primary intention is to stay in Chile. “I took on this case for a personal issue, because I was born in Cuba,” added Bonito.who was a former immigration policy advisor to the government of former President Sebastián Piñera, and took over the representation of the athletes.

According to the lawyer, came into contact with the seven athletes once they left the Cuban delegation that stayed in the Villa Panamericana de Santiago. Now “no one is in Santiago, They are at friends’ houses, support groups in three different regions of the countryaccurate.

Little time to make a decision about Cuba’s athletes

The athletes They have a visa to stay in Chile until November 12, but they do not have their passports because they were withheld by the sports leaders once they entered the country in mid-October.

The serious economic crisis that Cuba is going through has caused a mass exodus in the last two yearsmainly young people.

Even with the losses of elite athletes, Cuba closed among the five best countries in the Pan American medal table behind the United States, Brazil, Mexico and Canada. The islanders They obtained 30 gold medals, 22 silver and 17 bronze.

The exodus of sports talent is repeated in Cuba

The eventual asylum o protection of the seven Cuban athletes took a political tone. The government of President Gabriel Boric celebrated the fifth place of the “great power” of Cuba in the gameswhich fueled rivalry with those who question the island’s regime in defense of human rights.

According to official figures, From 2022 to date, 187 high-performance Cuban athletes have migrated, among them more than a dozen boxers, including star Andy Cruz, for many considered the best boxer in the country.

Athletics has been one of the sports hardest hit by leaks that have affected Cuban sports for several years and that increased with the current economic crisis, the worst in three decades.

Reflection of this exodus is Santiago Ford, born in Cuba and nationalized Chilean. at the end of last year, who starred in one of the most emotional moments at the 2023 Pan American Games when he won the gold medal in the decathlon competition.

With a broken voice He recalled that he entered Chile walking through the desert after having left the island in 2018, He traveled by plane to Guyana and by land he arrived in the South American country to which he dedicated his victory.

The Ford case He remembered his compatriot Andy Cruz, Olympic gold in Tokyo 2020, who was expelled from the island’s sports system in 2022. after trying to leave the island on a raft.

Some Months later he managed to emigrate legally and on July 16 he won an international lightweight title. of the IBF (International Boxing Federation) in a fight in Los Angeles, California.

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