Chilean Minister of the Interior confirms 6 requests for refuge, after the escape of Cuban athletes

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(Updates title and details of Cuban athletes)

Santiago de Chile, Nov 8 (EFE).- The Chilean Minister of the Interior, Carolina Tohá, confirmed this Wednesday that six Cubans requested refuge in Chile, after it became known that seven athletes from the island left the sports village on their own after the closing of the games last Sunday.

Tohá had confirmed a first case in the morning, which would not be from the group of athletes, and after noon another five cases which he did not directly refer to as Cuban athletes.

"We know that this morning, after the press release we did, five people came to request refuge. We cannot say who they are because this process has a reservation characteristic, nor the merits of the request, because they have to be analyzed. the process for that, but once the request is made, it enters into this analysis procedure," said Tohá.

As the EFE Agency learned, a group of these requests would belong to the island athletes, who are being represented by the law firm Hurtado y Bonito, with whom they presented themselves to the Department of Refuge and Resettlement of the National Migration Service of Chile.

In total there would be seven Cuban athletes who are being advised, according to a spokesperson for the law firm who did not detail how many would have submitted the request this Wednesday. They did confirm that not all of their clients did so and that the requests will be completed in the coming days.

Cuban-born lawyer Mijail Bonito, former advisor to former President Sebastián Piñera on immigration issues, offered local media more details about who these athletes would be.

“Today, a group of female athletes from the Cuban national team of the same specialty have asked us for support to remain in Chile, after having escaped from their delegation last Saturday. Given the above, we have decided to take on pro bono legal representation of these athletes,” commented Bonito in conversation with Radio Biobío.

Tohá had asked this Wednesday morning not to speculate about the situation of the seven Cuban athletes and confirmed that only one person from the delegation approached the authorities to request refuge.

The athletes "could perfectly well be in Chile doing tourism. We do not know their whereabouts today. Only one person, but who is not part of the group that has been talked about, came forward to make a request for refuge and in that case What happens is that there is a procedure to study the case, see if the request is admissible and while that study is being carried out,” he assured.

Once this process has begun, "a special permit (for eight months) is granted while the study is carried out," he explained without offering details of who made the request and where.

The minister warned that before drawing any conclusions, one must wait for the visa to expire to be able to know “if they left the country within the deadline or not. But since we have not yet reached that date, we cannot bring it forward,” she stated.

According to Cuban journalistic sources, the athletes who would have separated from the official Cuban delegation would be six players from the women's field hockey team - Yunia Milanes, Jennifer Martínez, Yakira Guillén, Lismary González and Helec Carta and Geidy Morales - and the medalist bronze in 400 meter hurdles, Yoao Illas. EFE


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