vendredi 15 août 2014

Spain: Juan Antonio de la Morena, the first black mayor of Spain.

On 16 June 2007, he was elected mayor of Villamantila a town, at forty kilometers west of Madrid with an absolute majority.

         "I became mayor because he asked me,"
said the member of the Union of the Democratic Centre (U.C.D., center right). "It was necessary to replace my predecessor, in the same position for 32 years and I was chosen to embody continuity." Even then, his face is familiar to 1,200 people, because of his skin color, but because he lives in the village since his youth and worked as a municipal councilor for twelve years. All mayors around familiar smile they knew him at many meetings this young man.
         Soon, his election attracted the interest of journalists from all over Spain. Morena is the first black mayor of the country and, to date, the only one. For his neighbors, however, this media uproar is unusual. "The integration of my family is such that people were surprised to see the news cycle here,"
said the one that is sometimes called the Obama Spanish.

Son of a Spaniard and an Equatorial Guinean.

         Originally from Villamantilla, the town founded in the fifteenth century, nestled between the dry hills of Castile, Benigno de la Morena, married to an Equatorial Guinean woman lands in Villamantilla with her three children in 1974.
          He had gone to Malabo, twenty years earlier in 1954, to work in an exploitation of timber & cocoa. He falls in love with Milagros Dorca, aged only18 and married her. Five years after the proclamation of the independence of Equatorial Guinea in 1968 Juan Antonio is barely 3 years old. Since the return, Morena family grows since then it has eight children.
         Since that day, the villagers regularly cross Morena children accompanying their father on his rounds factor, or their mother, who has not given up her African outfits.
         Juan Antonio de la Moreno completed his studies in law at the Complutense University in Madrid, in a less tolerant environment where he may be subjected to racist taunts. With his law degree, he returned to Villamantilla to do their job.

For the Morena, politics is a family affair.

         At 43, he still practices his profession as a lawyer in the afternoon along with his position as mayor to which he devotes his mornings.
         "Political life should not be a profession,
he insists. I want to be of service to others and for a fixed period. Moreover I start saying about me I will have to replace next year. Problem in politics today is that many elected officials have no way out and cling to their positions."  He also recognizes that within his formation, the Popular Party (PP, right, in power), it is necessary to change attitudes.
"I was always right, and my family."
         During the Franco era, his uncle Tomasin was mayor of Villamantilla then won the first free elections as a candidate of the Union of the Democratic Centre (U.C.D., center right). His father, Benigno, was meanwhile deputy mayor a few years later. In Morena, politics is a family affair.

Politically incorrect ... for many things!

         Sitting in his office, sleeveless vest and tight bun behind her neck, the mayor throws glances at the aerial photo of the village. "For many things, I'm politically incorrect,"
he says, smiling. The capitalist economy? He firmly believes. "I've always been a liberal." Immigration? It must be controlled by the home country. "It is impossible to grant freedom of movement to all those who would like to. Imagine 5000 people want to settle in Villamantilla, how would we do? Our village is not intended for such a large influx."
         In 2011, Juan Antonio almost left with a group of Spanish entrepreneurs in Equatorial Guinea - where he never returned - but budgets have been frozen because of the crisis.
         "Likewise, I declined a trip to Cartagena, Colombia for the World Summit for Mayors and African leaders of African descent in September 2013, because the charges were in my care."

         The Village of  Villamantilla is proud of its golf course, a sports complex and a football field with artificial turf. Very proud of its mayor, who, if he can further improve the equipment of his village. If no one is a candidate against him, he does not rule out to represent, in May 2015.

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