Wednesday, January 20

Argentina cries disconsolate over the death of Diego Armando Maradona | sports

A crowd says goodbye to Maradona at the Obelisco, in Buenos Aires.
A crowd says goodbye to Maradona at the Obelisco, in Buenos Aires.AGUSTIN MARCARIAN / Reuters

This night incredulity and stupor still dominate. The first tears have already appeared. The homage songs of a small crowd around the Obelisk of Buenos Aires have sounded. There are improvised vigils next to its two stadiums, the Diego Armando Maradona of Argentinos Juniors and the Bombonera of Boca. But the real goodbye begins in a few hours. The presidency of the Argentine Republic estimates that up to one million people will attend the wake at the Casa Rosada. The city is preparing in a hurry for some extraordinary, emotional and risky days.

The national mourning, decreed by President Alberto Fernández, will last three days. The massive parade, at least two. Two full days, Thursdays and Fridays, are expected to provide enough time for those who wish to pass by the coffin and pay sentimental tribute to an immensely popular idol. It will be a logistical nightmare, exacerbated by the pandemic. The infectologists beg the police to set distances, distribute alcohol in massive quantities and avoid crowds. But they fear disaster.

Nothing is more important now than the death of Diego Armando Maradona. The President of the Republic has suspended all his official activities until Sunday. The Ministries of Security, Health and Defense participate in the preparation of an emergency plan with a double objective: that the collective duel runs in order and that the least possible number of infections occurs. In principle, the idea of ​​the route establishes that the crowd approaches the Casa Rosada on Avenida de Mayo, that the entrances are made one by one in the presidential building by the entrance of Balcarce 25 and that, after a brief tour of the Outside hall where the burning chapel will be found, exit at Balcarce 50.

Alberto Fernández, a follower of Argentinos Juniors, Maradona’s first professional club, expressed his desire that the visitors’ time in the closed space of the burning chapel be controlled to the second. While the president was speaking for a radio program giving details about the preparations, a brigade of workers was hastily removing the scaffolding that flanked the Casa Rosada on Balcarce’s side. Everything had to be perfect. It was Claudia Villafañe, the footballer’s ex-wife and mother of his daughters Dalma and Giannina, who decided that Maradona’s last appointment with his faithful would take place in a government palace instead of a stadium.

The president recalled that Maradona, always a Peronist, visited him at the Casa Rosada last December, a few days after Alberto Fernández became head of state. Maradona appeared in shorts and thus he leaned out to greet from the balcony over the Plaza de Mayo, the same one used by Juan Domingo Perón. Nobody cared.

Fernández was moved to receive a dedicated and signed national team shirt: “For Alberto, with my heart of the people,” wrote who was the best soccer player and, in addition, many other things, some very good, others very bad. The Minister of Economy, Martín Guzmán, ran like a teenager from his office (separated from the Casa Rosada by a street) to have him also sign a shirt, the Gymnastics and Fencing, the La Plata club of which he is ” fan ”and of which Maradona was a technician

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