BETWEEN shouts of “corruption” and banners protesting against alleged illegal building in the village, the mayor who won a municipal election by the toss of a coin faced angry protestors as he officially accepted his post.
A group of 40 Carataunas residents attended the small mountain village’s first sitting of the new council to voice their concerns over the re-election of Salvador Rodríguez.
The mayor was elected for his third term in office by the toss of a coin after the Partido Popular he represents received the same number of votes as the socialist PSOE party in the recent local elections.
In a letter seen by the Olive Press, the protesters list denuncias (reports) and allegations against Rodríguez, accusing him of urban speculation and the trafficking of interests.
His opponents also claim the mayor acts “arbitrarily” and that he uses his power to “further his own needs.”
The greatest accusation made by the group against Rodríguez concerns the building of a five-storey apartment block for more than 100 people, which is currently under construction at the bottom of the village.
The residents claim the building is “illegal” by exceeding local two-floor height restrictions and that the infrastructure does not exist in the tiny village of 220 for such a huge-scale project.
Currently, there is no school and only two bars in the village.
Jesus Rivas, the leader of the Residents Association of Padre Eterno, the group which organised the protest, claims the construction of the apartment block is turning Carataunas into “another Marbella.”
“Rodríguez has no qualms about lying and deceiving locals to turn Carataunas into a mini Marbella, with the illegal construction of homes that will multiply the population of the village dramatically.
“This construction will also destroy the ecosystem and heritage of Carataunas, using up our most precious commodity – water.”
The apartment block has also been at the centre of an official compliant made by both Los Verdes (Spain’s Green party) and environment group Ecologistas en Accion, who have asked the public works department of the Junta de Andalucía regional government to investigate the project.
Officials from the Green party have asked judges to launch a criminal probe if any irregularities exist.
According to further claims made in the letter, the mayor is currently being investigated for the alleged trafficking of influences.
The protesters claim the anti-corruption department of the Supreme Court of Andalucía (TSJA) are looking into possible abuses of power between 1996 and 2002, including granting works licences for several contentious projects
“Now is the time for the people of Carataunas to get over their fear they have for this character, who for more than ten years has used the council for his own personal ends,” Jesus Rivas added.