Mijain Lopez Beats Up a Cuban Who Asked for ‘Freedom’ for Cuba in the Pan American Games

The young man said he was going to file a complaint against Mijaín López. (Collage)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 25 October 2023 — The instability caused by the escapes of players continues to affect Cuban baseball, which on Tuesday suffered a defeat against Brazil (2-4), leaving it out of the medals at the Pan American Games Santiago de Chile 2023. However, the worst grade, shameful for the delegation, was given to the four-time Olympic champion in Greco-Roman wrestling, Mijaín López, in the stands of the Bicentenario Cerrillos stadium where the game took place. The five-time world gold medalist couldn’t bear that a compatriot would fly a flag with the slogan “Freedom for Cuba.”

At the end of the game, López, also a deputy of the National Assembly of People’s Power, pounced on the young man. He rebuked him, and in that back and forth of words, he threw a blow. The athlete was accompanied by other members of the Island delegation, who also pushed the Cuban emigrant identified as Damián.

“I only had the flag in my hands,” the young man said in a video that was shared by Omar De La Paz-Molina on his Facebook account. “I didn’t yell anything at them or disrespect them,” he stressed. Their anger was because I was demonstrating for “freedom.”

#Ahora! [Breaking news!] Altercation in the Pan-Americans… several Cubans were in the stadium to shout “freedom,” and at the end, the Olympic medalist and deputy of the regime, Mijaín López, assaulted one of them. The police had to intervene to remove Damián from an angry group of Cubans. Despite this, he said he was going to file a complaint against the four-time Olympic champion. “I’m going to prove injuries. I walk alone and you know that they are rats.” Info. Marcel Valdés  — Mag Jorge Castro (@Mjorgec1994) October 25, 2023. 

Mijaín López decided not to compete in the Pan American Games, recognizing that his preparation was not as successful as he would have liked, and “I had to lose a lot of weight.” The 41-year-old athlete said he will focus on the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, in which he still aspires to win a fifth medal in the 287-lbs. category.

His presence in the stadium is due to the fact that López, like Javier Sotomayor, is part of a group of Cuban athletes invited to the Pan American Games. In July, in addition, the four-time Olympic champion in wrestling was chosen as one of the 11 new members of Team Panam Sport.

Panam Sports selected him because, in addition to being “recognized” for his determination, skill and performances, he also represents “the Olympic values both inside and outside the sports venues.”

“Being an ambassador of Team Panam Sports is something very big and important to me. Any athlete from the Americas would be proud to belong to this Team, so I am very happy that they have given me that opportunity as an athlete from Cuba,” López said at the time.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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