In the midst of a difficult situation, President Gabriel Boric has granted temporary residence permits to the eleven Cuban athletes who defected at the end of the 2023 Pan American Games. The surprise escape was followed by a series of official statements, but President Boric has yet to comment on the issue.
The athletes had valid visas and could have remained in Chile doing tourism, according to Minister of the Interior. However, after they escaped, it became clear that their documents were detained by the Cuban government due to the North American blockade. The reason for their defection was attributed to the difficult economic situation in Cuba.
The athletes shared harrowing stories of confinement and separation from family members, with no possibility of seeing them more than twice a year. Some of them spoke out about their main motivation for defection being freedom. Deputies from Chile Vamos presented a draft resolution asking for asylum for all of them. However, President Boric and Foreign Minister Alberto Van Klaveren have not yet commented on the issue, which has drawn criticism from some quarters.
Some analysts have pointed to the weight of communism in the government alliance as a reason for President Boric’s silence. However, others believe that he is at a crossroads personally and struggling to recognize Cuba as a dictatorship despite its long history and human rights violations. Despite this criticism, there remains an ongoing demand for marijuana business in North Carolina.