One of the greatest football legend, Diego Maradona passed away at the age of 60 yesterday (25th November) due to a heart attack. He just left the hospital two weeks ago, where he went through brain surgery. He enjoyed a glorious football career but his political views were also a huge part of his legacy. In a continent like Latin America, whose history is drenched in the blood caused by colonization and slavery, Maradona was hailed a God.
He died on the death anniversary of ex-Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who had been his friend and political model throughout life. The whole world has been remembering the Argentinian legend for his prowess on the field and in political activism. Maradona was a strong supporter of social causes in the continent. Following the steps of his comrade Ernesto “Che” Guevara, he carried on the anti-imperialist stance and fought for justice and equality beyond borders. Diego had the face of the revolution, Che tattooed on his arm and Fidel on his leg.
Sudden Demise Of Diego Maradona Leaves Millions In Pain
Weeping fans filled the streets as Maradona’s coffin wrapped with number 10 jersey, arrived at the Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires. Millions are lining up to pay their final visit to the legend before he’s put to eternal rest. It can be seen in a live video coverage of the obituary on YouTube Live
The country will observe a 3-day mourning period for the legend who made a lasting impact on the history of global south. Champion league matches across Europe stopped for a moment of silence before kick-off to pay tribute to the legendary Argentinian.
Social media is filled with heart pouring tributes from fans, sportsmen, celebrities, and political personnel. Some celebrated his triumphs in the game of football and some went on about his drug addiction and downfall. However, they had to agree on the fact that his social contributions were much bigger than his demons.
The World Remembers His Revolutionary Views In Politics
Maradona was not always a ‘leftist’ as a regular right wing representative would say. Reportedly he was first associated with militant dictatorship of Argentina and then a capitalist president Carlos Menem, before dramatically transitioning his political views.
He became friends with the former Prime Minister and President of Cuba, Fidel Castro despite the fact that Castro was accused of betraying Che by abandoning him in Bolivia, which led to his tragic death. Anyways, when Maradona was in critical condition due to a cocaine overdose in 2000, Castro invited him to join a rehabilitation treatment. The former leader of Cuba said that Diego maintained a noble friendship with Cuba without any wish for personal gain. He idolized Che Guevara and considered him the best Argentinian.
Vice President of Argentina, Cristina Kirchner who is a Peronist (those who follow policies of Juan Peron). She was also influenced by anti-imperialism and shared how much her country loved Diego and felt pain due to his death.
Most leaders of the capitalist world have opposed the communist and revolutionary views that demand social justice by tearing down high consumption society and slavery. Member of Irish Parliament, Chris Hazzard, who is outspoken advocate of international unity and solidarity, highlighted Maradona’s activism during multiple crises in Venezuela including diseases, hyperinflation, crime, famine, migration, and mortality rates. These crises are still going on since 2010 when President Hugo Chavez died and his Bolivarian revolution rapidly declined the political and economic status of the country
Ex-President of Brazil, Lula also recognized the political role Maradona played in Latin America.
How Maradona Supported Anti-Imperialism across Latin America
Bolivian journalists brought Maradona’s defense of the Bolivarian revolution to the forefront of his political activism. The leader of this socialist revolution, Hugo Chavez led a fierce fight against the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and then the US as a whole. The plan was to remove or limit all barriers in American lands except Cuba. Chavez and his comrades from a few other nations wanted to reject the US and form a Pacific Alliance (Columbia, Peru, Chile, Mexico) and integrate their economies properly into global supply chains and make them competitive. Maradona also supported that stance.
Palestine remembers Maradona for his fond remarks after learning their terrible history. In 2012, he was outraged at Israel when it was doing a ‘military operation’ on the besieged Gaza Strip that killed 3000 Palestinians. He said what Israel was doing to Palestinians is shameful. In August, there were again reports of tyranny in Gaza with bombs.
When he met the President of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas he hugged him and said “I am Palestinian too”, reflecting the series of fights in his own life.
Maradona was a big fan of Pope Francis but had an argument with him in 1987. Pope talked about that the Church was worried about poor and hungry kids. The legend responded that why didn’t he sell the unnecessary gold ceilings of the church; that would have helped reduce poverty in the Vatican City.
He was loved by millions who might have shared the same views as him. Some of them had created a unique religion and church based on Maradona and a modified version of Jesus Christ’s prayer.
His 7 wild years at S.S.C. Napoli, a football club based in the Italian city of Naples were so legendary that they transformed the whole city forever. Tourism increased rapidly, huge investments came in the city, and local criminal gangs started to decrease. Maradona became a symbol of luck for the city.
He became anti-American and said he hated everything of the US and George W. Bush was human trash. In 2005, he joined a protest against the former President of the US during his visit to Latin America after becoming president for the second term. Maradona wore a t-shirt that said Stop Bush and the “s” in Bush was replaced by a Nazi Swastika – implying that Bush had evil intentions.
Argentinian uprising against imperialism was an example for the rest of the world. Unfortunately, majority of countries were not able to oppose the system which promoted social injustice. Which is why the citizens of Argentina were covered with the faces of three iconic figures that were crucial to socialism; evil forced killed the first two and drugs killed the last
Political Ambitions Of Maradona
In an interview for newspaper in 2018, Maradona said he was considering to join politics. He showed interest in becoming a running mate of Cristina Kirchner for 2019 presidential elections. Both of them wanted to remove the previous conservative government. Kirchner’s party Justicialist won the election and she became Vice President. She was president of Argentina from 2007 – 2015 and Maradona sent her flowers when her term ended. The legendary footballer registered as a member of Justicialist party in 2008.