A Cuban woman has accused the late Argentine football idol Diego Maradona and him of sexual violence and abuse in a press conference on Monday.
Mavis lvarez Rego, 37, told the media in Buenos Aires that she met Maradona at the age of 16, when the footballer, in his forties, lived in Cuba, reported France Media Agency ,AFP).
Considered one of the greatest footballers in history, Maradona died last year of a heart attack following brain surgery on a blood clot. He battled cocaine and alcohol addiction for decades.
Ms lvarez Rego, who now lives in Miami with her two children, aged 4 and 15, said she was speaking after years of silence to balance some of the stories about Maradona in the TV series were being told. On November 25, the first anniversary of his death.
“I achieved my goal – to say what happened to me, to prevent it from happening to others, or at least so that other girls would feel the strength, the courage to speak up,” she said.
Ms Alvarez Rego said she had an affair with Maradona when she first met him two decades ago.
“I was dazzled, he conquered me … but after two months everything started to change”, she said.
The affair lasted “between four and five years”, according to Ms. Alvarez Rego, during which she claimed that Maradona induced her to try cocaine, in turn making her a dependent.
She also claimed that she was abused by Maradona, who had “raped” her on one occasion at her home in Havana.
“He covers my mouth, he rapes me, I don’t want to think too much about it,” said Alvarez Rego. Reuters.
“I stopped being a girl, all my innocence was stolen from me. It’s difficult. You stop living the innocent things that a girl of that age has to go through.”
She is accused of several other episodes of physical violence and mentions a trip to Buenos Aires in 2001 when she was held against her will for several weeks in a hotel by Maradona’s crew.
She said that she was banned from going out alone and was forced to undergo a breast augmentation operation.
“I loved him but I hated him too, I even thought about suicide,” said Ms. Alvarez Rego.
She has given evidence this week to an Argentine prosecutor in Buenos Aires in connection with a complaint brought by an Argentine NGO called the “Foundation for Peace”.
The NGO had filed the complaint after seeing her testimony in the US media in recent weeks.
Ms lvarez Rego, however, has not filed a separate complaint herself and has said she will not initiate further legal action.
“I have done what I had to do, I leave the rest to the courts,” she said.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk / Diego Maradona