• Quote: ‘I pick up your glove. I accept the twinning’ – La Unión mayor Pedro López

By Andrew Atkinson

Rojales Council has received the ‘Esteban Bernal Velasco’ award for work in promoting and disseminating flamenco. The ceremony was held at La Unión within the programme of the 60th International Festival of Cante de Las Minas.

Mayor of Rojales, Antonino Pérez, and Councillor for Culture, Inmaculada Chazarra, received the award from the mayor of La Unión and president of the Cante de las Minas Foundation, Pedro López.

Esteban Bernal, 91, founder of the event, received the new award that bears his name.

Rojales has hosted two selection tests of the prestigious Flamenco Festival, considered one of the most important in the world.

Rojales is also the protagonist in this 60th edition since a tribute was made to Francisca Ortiz Martínez, as the widow of the miner Sebastián Morales.  The honoree is a native of Rojales and resides in La Unión.

The historical relationship between Rojales and La Unión will be reflected in the Twinning between both municipalities

Mayor of Rojales Antonio Pérez indicated after receiving the award that both municipalities meet again.

Esteban Bernal, 91, receives the ‘Esteban Bernal Velasco’ award.

“He did so many years ago for other reasons, when many families from the Union came to Rojales for economic or health reasons, seeking better conditions of life,” said Mayor Pérez.

“If our commitment to the festival was important, as of today it is even more so.  We are not going to disappoint you.

“This reunion could even go further with the Twinning of Rojales and La Unión,” he added.

The first mayor of the Murcian city, Pedro López, addressed his counterpart from Rojales, saying: “I pick up your glove.  I accept the twinning”.

Councillor for Culture, Inmaculada Chazarra, highlighted the historical ties between both municipalities since the various mining crises in La Unión-Cartagena forced many families to change their place of residence.

“One of the host places was Rojales, due to its traditional garden and the hills located to the south of the urban area, where the miners and their families settled and drilled their cave houses.

“It is an honour and a privilege to be part of the Cante de las Minas de la Unión festival, and even more so that our contribution is valued,” said Inmaculada Chazarra.

Caption: Mayor of Rojales, Antonino Pérez, and Councillor for Culture, Inmaculada Chazarra.