Diego Armando Maradona, one of the greatest football players of all times, died on November 25, 2020 from a heart attack in Dique Luján, a village in the province of Buenos Aires.
Interestingly enough, he passed away exactly four years after Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who in 1987 had invited him to the Caribbean island where they became friends. Maradona was dazzled by the dictator’s charisma, calling him his «second father».
After Maradona retired, and soon was in a dreadful state due to drugs, Castro saw the opportunity for the Cuban health service to step in and made a clinic available for his admirer’s rehabilitation.
Born on October 30th, 1960 in Lanús, just south of the capital, as the fifth child and the first boy of Dalma Salvadora Franco and Diego Maradona, he grew up in Villa Fiorito, one of the most abandoned and undeveloped areas in the province of Buenos Aires.
He later admitted that during his childhood, there wasn’t enough food for everyone. His mother would pretend suffered from stomach problems, so her eight children wouldn’t have to starve.
As unfortunately it’s so often the case when people from a humble background suddenly gain fame and earn lots of money, they often go astray.
His amazing successes were accompanied by alcohol and substance abuse as well as continuous polemics and fierce criticisms in public. However, even all this tarnished his career, it never ruined the myth surrounding him.
He will probably become an icon like his fellow countryman, Communist revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara (1928-1967). Maradona always showed sympathies for the Left.
Maradona admired Nicaragua’s Sandinista President Daniel Ortega (born 1945) as well as Bolivian politician and former coca leaf grower’s activist Evo Morales (born 1959). He supported the latter after his resignation from the Bolivian presidency following a supposed coup d’état.
Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez (1954-2013) was another of his buddies. The country’s current strongman, Nicolás Maduro (born 1962), regretted Maradona’s death, calling the mythical player his «brother».
In 2017, when more than 120 anti-government protesters in Venezuela were killed by security forces, Maradona declared himself a «soldier» of Maduro who would always support him.
He even participated in several political acts in support of the so-called Bolivarian Revolution initiated by Chávez. His last trip to Caracas was in January of this year.