Diego Maradona

Dora Longo Bahia. Revolutions (calendar design), 2016 Acrylic, water-based pen and watercolor on paper (12 pieces) 23 x 30.5 cm each
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By ATILIO A. BORON*

Diego was pure people, down to his core, and, like Fidel, his desire for justice, as well as his rejection of all forms of oppression and exploitation, were insatiable.

On the exact same day, but four years after Fidel Castro, Diego Armando Maradona left this world and like that cosmic kite discovered by sportscaster Víctor Hugo Morales, at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, Diego took off to find his friend , adviser and protector, not to say “almost a father”, which is perhaps the most correct way to say it.

How to explain this coincidence? Chance, predestination, magic, an inscrutable astral plot? Who could venture an answer? Whoever writes these lines declares himself incompetent to decipher this unfathomable tune. Perhaps I can only venture the conjecture that idols are mutually attracted. Diego and Fidel did this while they were alive, probably this same circumstance led them to leave on the same day.

The mutual admiration and affection was extraordinary. Diego had an image of Fidel tattooed on his body, on his skin, on that wonderful left foot that drew some of the most prodigious art ever seen on a soccer field. He also carried Fidel in his heart and mind.

Diego was pure people, down to his core, and, like Fidel, his desire for justice, as well as his rejection of all forms of oppression and exploitation, were insatiable. That's why he was a man who, in political matters, never had doubts and in every critical juncture he always placed himself on the right side of the trenches.

Maradona was never contaminated by post-modern eclecticism or the cult of the aseptic “neither-nor” of so many intellectuals and politicians of a supposed left. He knew very well where he crossed the line between oppressor and oppressed and he took sides immediately, in favor of the dispossessed.

This popular wisdom, together with his acute class instinct, led him to exercise an unconditional defense of the Cuban Revolution, Chavista Venezuela, Evo's Bolivia, Correa's Ecuador and the popular governments of Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. Aware that the ruling internal oligarchies and their imperial lords would never forgive him for his virtuous irreverence.

His remarkable role played in the great battle of the peoples of Our America against the ALCA in Mar del Plata, in November 2005, would have been enough to assign it a prominent place in the history of anti-imperialist struggles. But it was not just that.

Years later, we would find Diego in Colombia, marching with Piedad Córdoba in favor of the ill-fated peace process. Wherever a struggle against imperialism was fought, it did not take long for Diego to become involved. His commitment to the cause of popular emancipation went hand in hand with his repudiation of the rich and powerful who condemned their peoples to misery, disease and ignorance. He was consistent to the end.

Diego Armando Maradona went to meet his great friend; unite the imperishable strength of their testimonies to continue being a source of inspiration in the still unfinished task of freeing peoples from the dominion of imperialism and its local bootlicking vassals.

Diego is gone, yes, but the great popular idols enjoy a rare virtue: they continue to disturb the sleep of the oppressors because, paradoxically, their death makes them immortal. As with Fidel, Chávez, Che Guevara, Evita, Perón, Salvador Allende and Néstor Kirchner, their presence will be even stronger in the upcoming struggles for the construction of a new world, once the pandemic is over.

*Atilio A. Borón is professor of political science at the University of Buenos Aires. Author, among other books, of Minerva's Owl (Voices).

Translation: Roberto Bitencourt da Silva protocols for GGN newspaper .

Originally published in the newspaper Page 12.

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