Sun. Dec 15th, 2019

An ultra island in Catalonia

The urbanization of Santa Margarida (in Roses) is one of those places where life stops in winter. The bustle of the promenade goes out and the parking lots are empty. From October the blinds are lowered and the apartments are closed with a double turn. Merchants and small businessmen who wait for the summer to come back complain that each year the season starts later and ends earlier. They regret that every time there is less tourists and blame this situation on conflicts with the manteros and the lack of investment by the city government.

This urbanization of just 2,000 inhabitants is the poorest area of Roses (Girona) and has historically been a barn of right wing votes. In the 10-N elections the vote has shifted to the extreme right and has become the census section of Catalonia where Vox He has won with a higher percentage of votes (almost 23%).

Santa Margarida is the poorest neighborhood in Roses and has historically been a barn of votes on the right

The mayor of Junts per Catalunya, Montse Minguán, attributes this increase to a transfer of votes. "In Roses there has always been an important right-wing vote, which is located in specific areas such as Santa Margarida," he explains in a telephone interview. "I am convinced that there has been a transfer of votes from the PP and Citizens to Vox," he concludes.

(Raúl Camañas)

On the other hand, for Ricardo Moraes, president of the Association of Neighbors and the Community of Owners of Santa Margarida, it is necessary to talk about the conflict between merchants and manteros to understand the rise of Vox. "Every summer there are more street vendors and this generates a lot of dissatisfaction among small entrepreneurs who see their sales decrease year after year," he explains from his office in one of the main avenues of the urbanization, where he runs a small real estate. For over a decade, the Top blanket It has become a habitual activity on the seafront in the area, and so far none of the governments that have had the Consistory of Roses has managed to solve the problems of coexistence between these two groups.

(Raúl Camañas)

Beyond the conflict with street vendors, Moraes also emphasizes the degradation process that urbanization is experiencing. He insists that the area has lack of mobility and security that cause the native tourist to move to other areas of the Catalan coast. "Santa Margarida has become a focus of low-budget tourism, where European immigration comes to a halt," he says.

In this sense, the INE data on tourist overnight stays do not reflect a decrease in visitors in Roses but a stagnation. The number of Spanish and foreign vacationers has remained at similar levels throughout the last decade. However, the tourist offer has not stopped increasing in the municipality as a whole. According to data from the Diputación de Girona, in the last three years alone, tourist housing has grown by 60%, from 12,000 places, in 2015 to 20,000 in 2018.

The instability of the tourism ecosystem that makes up the urban center of Santa Margarida causes many of its neighbors to look skeptically at the viability of their businesses in the area. "Here there is a core of people very unhappy with the situation and, ultimately, all this has resulted in more votes for Vox," concludes Moraes.

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