Monday, August 15

The exit of Sonia Vivas, the last episode of the controversial celebration of the Pride of Palma


The storm unleashed after the presentation, a week ago, of the Palma Pride Week has culminated this Thursday with the dismissal of the until now councilor for Social Justice, Feminism and Equality, Sonia Vivas, who arrived at the Department in July 2019 after the municipal elections of May of that year, to which he attended as number two of Podemos.

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The decision adopted by the first mayor comes after a week of riots and crosses of accusations with germ in the act of presentation, last Friday, of Pride Week, which was to take place from June 18 to 28. That day, Kristin Hansen, president of ELLA Global Community -organizer of the event-, praised the benefits of the celebration given that it would allow “people from the countryside who perhaps have never seen a lesbian to travel to Palma and will say: ‘Look, a lesbian…she’s just like any other person!”

“We will position Mallorca as an LGTBIQ destination. It is a business opportunity”, continued Hansen. The avalanche of criticism generated by such demonstrations was not long in coming. One of the first people to speak out was the councilor of the City Model, Decent Housing and Sustainability, Neus Truyol, who declared on social networks “proud of the Pride that claims rights and freedoms, organized by local entities. Pride for access to housing, for tourism that is not overcrowded, for respect for the people of Mallorca”.

Likewise, from the ranks of Podemos Balears they immediately showed their “absolute rejection” of the “deplorable” statements of the organizer, which, in the opinion of the formation, “reveal an absolute ignorance and contempt for the reality of the Illes and a provincialism that defines who manifests it”.

After the termination of Vivas, several entities have applauded the termination decree signed by Hila. The technical coordinator of the LGTBi Ben Amics association, Jan Gómez, has, however, urged the former mayor to be “consistent and ethical at the political level” and deliver his minutes to “not play the game of the extreme right or destabilization of the government team.

In statements to elDiario.es, Gómez recalled that from Ben Amics “we requested the suspension of Pride or the withdrawal of public funds from it [cifrados en unos 70.000 euros], the resignation of Vivas or the delivery of his minutes and an apology from the mayor for everything that happened in relation to the organization of the Pride”. For this reason, he appreciates that the mayor “has responded” to his claims.

Regarding the controversy that Hansen’s demonstrations aroused, Gómez has made it clear that the objectives of the NGO “have always been different” from those of the organizer ELLA: “Ben Amics is an entity with a 30-year history in defense of human rights. of LGTBi people and ELLA is a business group dedicated to organizing festivals and other types of activities related to tourism, and, therefore, always with a lucrative or business benefit perspective. It is not the role that we as an NGO have to play”, she remarks.

Ben Amics: “Vivas wanted to ride his Pride to take a picture”

Regarding its relationship with the Department of Social Justice during the last three years, the person in charge of Ben Amics has acknowledged that “they have been hampered by the relationship they had with the councillor, but we like to point out that a councilor is not a Councilor and , therefore, the technical work carried out by the professional team of the Department is impeccable”.

And he confesses that for the past three years they have had “quite a few difficulties: the first year [Vivas] he said that Pride was suspended, as if it were his property; in the second he withdrew the entire game that he had to invest annually in LGTBI policies because he said there was a conflict with the feminist movement, and this year we see that he wanted to set up his Pride to take his photo. In the end, it did not turn out as she expected, ”says Gómez, who several days ago criticized in a personal capacity the “commodification” of LGTBi Pride and its transformation into a ‘Pride Week’.

For her part, Pilar Vázquez, a member of the ELLA Global Community, alludes to “a political war that has nothing to do with our organization”, but justifies that, as the Pride had to take place on public roads, “obviously we had to collaborate with a public entity that would grant us the corresponding certificates and permits to be able to hold the event properly”. As she assures her, “from the beginning Ben Amics did not want to collaborate. We invited all the associations of Palma to collaborate, but they did not want to. They politely told us no.”

Vázquez emphasizes that it was with the passage of time when “the great political war began.” “What’s going on here? That Sonia Rivas is the person who had to grant us the permits and with whose Department we had to manage the entire event. But she looks like she’s up against Ben Amics. And they literally started harassing us.” “We don’t play the same game as them. And no one from our company wants to start any kind of war with anyone, ”he emphasizes to elDiario.es

SHE: “The extreme lefts are against promoting tourism”

Regarding the accusations of commodification, Vázquez affirms that “anyone with a little criteria understands that there are opinions of all colors, that we cannot all agree and that there are people who believe more in the commodification of certain services or goods and others people who are more in favor of the public sector. Everyone has their opinion and it must be respected as long as that opinion does not harm another human being”, he stresses, acknowledging that in the Balearic Islands “there is a big problem with housing”. “Same as in many big cities in Spain, where rents are very high. Why? Because the demand is very high,” he adds.

“Tourism is a very strong thing and Mallorca lives off tourism”, emphasizes Vázquez, who criticizes that “the extreme lefts are against all this”. “So what is the problem? Kristin [la presidenta de ELLA que hizo las declaraciones sobre el campo y las lesbianas] He was trying to do the island a favor by promoting tourism and everything related to the LGTBI world, because he has a great love for Mallorca and has lived here for many years”.

The businesswoman also points out that SHE will take the Palma City Council to court for its “pre-contractual responsibility”: “Obviously, you cannot confirm things and then back out,” says Vázquez, who assures that his company has spent “literally ” 100,000 euros “refundable” with no intention of obtaining “any return”. “All the flights of the artists, all the hotels booked, the electrical installations paid for, absolutely everything already paid for,” she adds. And he also announces legal action against Ben Amics for behavior towards his company.

Hila: “It wasn’t an easy decision”

Meanwhile, Hila acknowledged this Thursday on her Twitter account that this Thursday is a “complicated moment” and that she has “always” tried to keep the councilors “within the government team.” However, “at this point” she has finally decided to dismiss Vivas, an option that had been rumored for days in the press as well as inside and outside the corridors of the City Hall.

“It is not an easy decision, but it is the best possible option. Life consists of making decisions and I have made them. We follow the three parties together (referring to Podemos, Més per Palma and PSOE). It is a matter of people, not of parties”, added Hila, emphasizing that “the situation was unsustainable”.

For his part, the deputy mayor for Citizen Participation, Alberto Jarabo, expressed himself forcefully: “Everything has a limit and, in this case, it was exceeded much longer than it seems. I am sorry that action has not been taken sooner, but it is never too late. Grateful to the entities that with roots and good work in our city have defended their pride of vindication and struggle.

At the end of last May, Vivas already threatened to leave his position in the City Council by accusing Jarabo of “blocking processes and procedures” to prevent the celebration of Pride Week in Palma. The then councilor asserted in a letter from her that from that day on she would begin the “countdown” of her as councilor. “If this crucial issue for the LGTBI community is not rectified and acted in good faith, I will be forced to break up the municipal government,” she sentenced.

After his dismissal, Vivas will go to the mixed group if he does not abandon his act as councillor, as requested by United We Can. This would imply that, of the 29 aldermen that Cort has, the municipal government team would be left with 14, while the opposition would be represented by 15 people, just one year before the elections and with important votes ahead, such as the of next year’s budget.



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