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ARGENTINA | 19-11-2021 01:58

Maradona’s Cuban ex-girlfriend testifies in underage trafficking case

Former Cuban girlfriend of late footballer Diego Maradona testifies that she was underage victim of human trafficking and was forced to have cosmetic surgery, despite being a minor.

Mavys Avarez Rego, 36, a former Cuban girlfriend of late footballer Diego Maradona, testified Thursday in Argentina that she had been the underage victim of members of the legend’s entourage.

The mother of two, who now lives in Miami, arrived here a week ago to testify in the case, where she has not been accepted as a plaintiff by the Argentine courts.

Together with her lawyer Gustavo Marano, Alvarez entered Justice Ministry premises in Buenos Aires without making statements in order to testify in front of a Gesell camera and a female psychologist, as ascertained by AFP.

This system seeks to avoid contact with the lawyers of the defendants, who may follow the testimony on the screen and ask their questions via the psychologist, explained a court source.

The charges were lodged in late September by the Fundación por la Paz y el Cambio Climático, responding to press interviews with Alvarez published in Miami or picked up in Argentina.

These charges refer in particular to events during Maradona’s trip to Buenos Aires to attend his own testimonial match in November, 2001. On that occasion, the famous footballer, then aged 40, arrived accompanied by the girl, who was then aged 16.

Between 2000 and 2004, Maradona lived in Havana where he was undergoing treatment for his drug addiction. Alvarez said in an interview with a Spanish-language news outlet based in the US that she met him while the footballer was staying in Cuba.

In the interviews the woman said that she became a drug addict during her relationship with Maradona and that she had plastic surgery for breast enlargement while in Buenos Aires, despite being underage.

Under investigation are Guillermo Cóppola, the ex-representative and friend of Maradona who accompanied his treatment in Cuba, as well as Carlos Ferro Viera, Omar Suarez, Gabriel Buono and Mariano Israelit, all collaborators of the 1986 World Cup champion.

“The chain of responsibility starts with Cuba,” Marano said Thursday outside the courthouse. “We have a head of state [Fidel Castro] who loaned a 16-year-old girl to anyone who asks if he happens to be Maradona.”

Maradona died alone on November 25 last year at the age of 60 due to a heart attack while recovering from surgery for a subdural haematoma. 

– TIMES/AFP

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