A group of Cuban athletes, who recently represented their country at the Panamerican Games, visited a gym in Santiago on a rainy spring day. This was one of their first public activities before they requested to stay in Chile. Yunia Milanes, one of the six field hockey players seeking asylum, expressed gratitude towards the people, mayors, and lawyers who have supported them. They aspire to become members of Chile’s field hockey team, known as ‘Las Diablas,’ and represent the country. Following the conclusion of the Games, another athlete has joined the initial six women in seeking asylum, bringing the total to seven. Additionally, three Cuban athletes had previously fled to Chile during a different athletic competition in May. Mijail Bonito, the athletes’ legal advisor, stated that the ten athletes have been granted temporary residence documents while their cases are being resolved. The Cuban embassy in Chile has not yet responded to requests for comment. President Gabriel Boric’s government confirmed that immigration authorities have received ten refugee requests from Cuban athletes. The government also revealed that approximately 20 athletes from the Cuban delegation have chosen not to return to Cuba, which is currently facing a severe economic crisis and witnessing increased emigration. Lazaro Tolon, one of the athletes who stayed behind in May, described the decision as “super difficult” and “super complex,” emphasizing their desire to feel free.
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