A group of seven Cuban athletes abandoned their team after the Pan American Games to try to stay in Chile

Players of the Cuban field hockey team at the Pan American Games on October 26.Carlos Ortega (EFE)

Six Cuban women’s field hockey players and one athlete from the same nation walked out of the Cuban delegation at the Pan American Village where the athletes were staying during the Pan American Games in Santiago de Chile. The legal entity that regulates his immigration status. Gabriel Boric’s government said in the morning that none of them presented any kind of requirement to settle in the country and that they have visas for 90 days, which can be renewed for another 90 days. “There is always concern in these cases. said Camila Vallejo, a spokeswoman for La Moneda, a communist activist. A hypothesis that had been considered in Chile was confirmed: it was an abandonment. This is something that often happens when the island’s athletes leave Cuba.

According to a report issued by the National Sports Institute (IND) and The Santiago 2023 Corporation, the Investigative Police (PTI) has clarified that the athletes’ visas, which refer to only six women, will be valid until November 12. Chilean Olympic Committee. Neither the government nor the Pan American Sports Organization, known as Panam Sports, have confirmed this information, as Cuba has not officially released it. The However, the athletes contacted Hurtado y Bonito Abogados, a law firm specializing in migration and immigration.Given their legal representation, the Olympics could be in closed Chile this Sunday.

was Cuban sports journalist Francis Romero The news first broke on their social networks, forcing top officials to address the case in the next few hours. At 8:16 p.m. on Saturday, the reporter posted that six hockey players had “withdrawn” from the Cuban delegation. “Players focused at noon after finishing fifth place game lost against Uruguay (3-0),” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter. Baseball reporter and book author Stories of Cuban Baseball Immigration (1960-2018) The athletes in question are Unia Milans -team captain-, Jennifer Martinez, Yagira Guillen, Lismarie Gonzalez, Helek Carda and Kedi Morales. According to Romero, about 61 Cuban athletes have broken contracts or dropped their representatives so far this year.

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Attorney Bonito provided additional details Monday night. “This morning, the same special group of female athletes from the Cuban national team [hockey césped], after escaping from his delegation last Saturday, has asked us for support to stay in Chile. Considering the above, we have decided to seek pro-legal representation of these athletes,” explained Mijail Bonito, a partner at Hurtado y Bonito Abogados and a former adviser to the conservative government of Sebastian Piñera on immigration policy.

“The same thing happened to the Cuban athlete who won the bronze medal in the 400-meter hurdles in athletics, who also requested the representation of our course,” the judge said of Yoao Illas, the seventh athlete in the situation. Bonito added that in the company of friends who received them, the team was in good shape.

Los Condes’ mayor Daniela Peñalosa, a member of the traditional right-wing UDI party, made a public offer to Cuban athletes. “I contacted the lawyer Mijail Bonito so that once the immigration status of the Cuban athletes is regularized, they will get a place in Los Condes. “Welcome contributors to Chile!” Santiago de Chile wrote the mayor of one of the wealthiest municipalities in Chile and one of the electoral strongholds of the right.

Chilean Communist Party: “There are fewer than 10”

When asked about the matter, Lautaro Carmona, head of the Communist Party, which is part of Boric’s government, celebrated Cuba’s “great power” fifth place in the Pan American Games medal table (30 gold, 22 silver and 17 bronze) and said “there are many athletes, They are less than 10 people, they are non-returners and we need to see their situation in our country, then they can see it in their country,” he assured. “Such situations have been experienced before, they are nothing more than a choice made by these athletes (…) What meaning can I give according to the arguments that appear in some versions? Their living conditions in Cuba. If not an economic blockade, who creates those conditions? ” said Carmona, pointing to US sanctions. Diego Schalper, vice-president of the traditional right-wing Renovación Nacional, assured: “What happened to the Cuban athletes can be classified as a case of political asylum.”

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Chilean Sports Minister Jaime Pizarro initially assured that neither the delegation nor the head of the Cuban embassy had provided any information in this regard. This media outlet tried to contact both without success. “They can leave the country or they can stay for a while because the entry authorization is still valid. We have to wait for the process accordingly,” Pizarro added.

The undersecretary of the interior, Manuel Monsalve, sounded the alarm earlier in the morning, describing it as a “leak”. “We must remember that the athletes who participated in the games have visas that allow them to stay in Chile for 90 days. So, they are in a legal situation from an immigration perspective,” he noted. Spokesperson Vallejo added that any request or demand regarding the visa situation should be channeled through the National Immigration Service, which is dependent on the government.

One of the most symbolic events of these Pan American Games was Santiago Ford, of Cuban descent, who became a Chilean citizen at the end of last year. The athlete left the island for sporting reasons. He finished fourth at the World Youth Championships in Poland in 2016 and felt undervalued. In 2018 he boarded a flight to Guyana and from there made the long journey overland to Chile, where he entered by walking through the desert. At these games, he thanked the South American nation with a gold medal in the decathlon.

Wilmot Chandler

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