Three members of the Cuban rowing team in Chile for the 2023 Pan American Games did not show up for their flight back to communist Cuba on Wednesday and have defected. The athletes join other members of the Cuban delegation who defected last week, bringing the total number of defections in Chile to 11. Like the ones before them, the three Cuban rowers have chosen freedom over communist tyranny and slavery to the Castro dictatorship.
Three Cuban rowers remain in Chile after the Pan American Games
Three athletes from the Cuban rowing team who participated in the Pan American Games in Chile did not show up on Wednesday to return to the island.
The Cuban delegation for that sport had 20 athletes who competed in the city of San Pedro de la Paz, in the Chilean province of Concepción, but only 17 showed up to return to the island, as reported by Radio Cooperativa.
The identity and whereabouts of the three Cuban rowers who escaped from the delegation have not been disclosed at the moment.
Cuba won a total of four rowing medals during the recently concluded event: one gold (men’s eight with coxswain); two silver (men’s quadruple sculls and Reidy Cardona/Carlos Ajete in men’s double sculls); and one bronze (mixed coxed eight).
Following the recent report, the number of sports defections from the Cuban delegation that participated in the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, increased preliminarily from 8 to 11.
The other eight athletes who escaped included six members of the women’s field hockey team, hurdler Yoao Illas (bronze medalist in the 400 meters), and basketball player Betsy Guilarte Zamora, the latter having fled even before playing the first game with her team.
However, the number of defections could be higher, as the Chilean government detailed on Tuesday that out of the 412 members of the Cuban delegation who arrived in Chile for the Pan American Games, 391 left the country, and 21 remained on Chilean territory.
Carolina Tohá, Minister of the Interior and Public Security of Chile, confirmed this week that at least five of the athletes who stayed behind have requested political asylum.
“We have no idea where they are; we know that this morning, after the press conference we held, five people approached to request refuge,” the minister said to the media.
“They are seeking a better future, and I wish them all the success in the world. The Cuban system is sometimes complicated, and it is complex to deal with many things at once,” expressed Santiago Ford, a Cuban-born but naturalized Chilean athlete.
Cuba finished fifth in the Pan American medal table, surpassed by the United States, Brazil, Mexico, and Canada.
The island obtained 30 gold medals, 22 silver medals, and 17 bronze medals.