Supporting Puerto de la Cruz’ First Woman Mayor – Politics on Tenerife

Posted: August 3, 2009 in Life, politics, Spain, Tenerife
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

On Saturday as most people headed to the beach to try to cool down with the help of the Atlantic Ocean, Andy and I stood in blistering heat chanting ‘NO A LA MOCIÓN, NO A LA MOCIÓN,’ and ‘QUEREMOS A LOLA’ with somewhere between six to eight hundred other supporters of Puerto de la Cruz’ first ever female mayor, Lola Padron.

Lots of placards expressed peoples feeling.

Lots of placards expressed people's feelings.

It’s been fourteen years since the last time I took part in a political rally. The last one involved wearing gorilla suits outside the houses of parliament and being introduced to the Right Honourable Tony Benn, this one was on a much smaller scale.

What was particularly nice about it was that people weren’t in Plaza Europa to protest, but to declare their support for Lola Padron. Whereas a protest a couple of weeks ago by people opposed to Lola had involved a handful of old guys shouting angrily outside the town hall, this show of support include men and women of all ages, singing and chanting at the tops of their voices to let Lola know that her attempts to improve the town weren’t unappreciated.

Lola came out of the town hall to meet her supporters for a short time before going back inside and re-emerging on the balcony, clearly emotional. It was impossible not to be moved by the event and be stirred by Lola’s inspirational and heartfelt speech.

A Show of Solidarity (Lolas the one in red)

A Show of Solidarity (Lola's the one in red)

The funny thing is that what initially pricked our interest in what was happening politically in Puerto wasn’t because we particularly supported Lola or her party – we didn’t know much about the politics of the town to be honest. It was because of a TV programme on Mi Tierra TV. I’ve mentioned this programme before, but the vitriol that was being spouted on this programme left a really bad taste in the mouth. Every time we watched it, we felt ourselves mouthing the same word – fascists.

It’s ironic that a programme supporting a political party should actually arouse such emotions that it makes you start listening to what their opposition has to say, but that’s what Mi Tierra achieved.  It helped convert us to supporting their political enemies. Smart eh?

What’s going on here is grass roots politics. It feels like a battle between the old order and the new. A move from politics that belong in the past where towns were run by which family had the most money and influence to council leaders being chosen because of their ideals, not because of who they are. Some people don’t like that.
You know what one of the insults levelled at Lola was? That she was trying to turn Puerto into Playa de las Américas. That tells you what these guys think of the visitors who bring their money to Tenerife.

Politics for me have become very simplistic here. I look at Lola’s eyes and listen to what she has to say and I see and hear sincerity. I do the same with the opposition and I see hatred and hear insults – it makes it very easy to choose which to support.

Which is why on a searing hot Saturday afternoon we did a ‘Citizen Smith’ and chanted and sang (or hummed along anyway) with the good people of Puerto at a political rally – by the way what’s Spanish for ‘Power to the People?’

Suuport for Lola Padron outside the town hall

Support for Lola Padron outside the town hall

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