Argentina: Maradona

Randy Black put this account of the Argentine soccer player Maradona together from several sources: The 43-year-old Maradona, who was disqualified from the 1996 World Cup for drug abuse, is also controversial for his illegitimate children and his mafia friendships. Maradona spent much of the 1990s battling a cocaine addiction, which included a well-publicized spell in a detox clinic in Cuba. He apparently surmounted the problem for the time being, and then embarked upon a new career as a talk-show host, with which he had great success.

On April 18, 2004, doctors reported that Maradona had suffered a major heart attack following a cocaine overdose and was in intensive care in a Buenos Aires hospital. Dozens of fans gathered around the clinic indicating his popularity even in 2004. Days after the heart attack, a male nurse was caught taking photos of Maradona in his grave condition, with a cellular telephone. The nurse had received an offer of six thousand US dollars by a tabloid newspaper to take the photos. He was, however, promptly fired by hospital directors. Maradona was hospitalized in a floor that was closed so he could be attended to exclusively.

After he showed improvement, he was taken off a respirator on April 23, and remained in intensive care for several days before being discharged on April 29. However, he returned to the hospital on May 5. Since then, he has entered a psychiatric facility for substance abuse treatment. He is also known in Argentina as "El Pibe d'Oro" (The Golden Boy). Additionally, it is said that due to drug abuse, his heart functions at 38% of a normal heart. Regarding his current incarceration in Cuba: This time Maradona will be confined to the Centre for Mental Health (Censam) and denied privileges and the freedom to eat and drink at will until he is cured, the ambassador said.  For almost four years, Maradona lived at Havana's La Pradera health farm, where he partied with friends while playing golf almost daily at the Cuban capital's only golf club.


RH: Argentines go hysterical about Maradona, Meicans about Gloria Trevi.  We live in a world of pop stars and pop culture.  One does not have to be a Catholic to have more respect for the simple Mexicans who adore the Virgin of Guadalupe. The Western world has lost its values.

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Ronald Hilton 2004


last updated: October 11, 2004