Fuerteventura magazine Interviews
Agustín Guillermo Rodríguez Cabrera – Councillor for Culture, Education, Youth, New Technologies and Water for the Municipality of Antigua
June 2022

Agustín Guillermo Rodríguez Cabrera – Councillor for Culture, Education, Youth, New Technologies and Water for the Municipality of Antigua

“We have renovated the teleclubs and carried out important improvements in the municipality's schools”

The main reason for our interview with Agustín Rodríguez is the latest Craft Fair, and at the same time, to find out more about his work in the different Councils he looks after, which are: Culture, Education, Youth, New Technologies and Water.

By the way, which council does Craftwork come under?

It comes under the Culture council and this was my first time organising the Craft Fair. We had to change the location, and it took place around Antigua's main square, further to the first experience of the craft makers' sale, in November. There were many exhibitors, with 200 stands, and a large public came along too. For the next edition, the Cabildo will invest €800.000 to update the previous space that was used up until the pandemic, so that it can become a well-equipped exhibition area for Antigua.

And, tell us, what is your experience in politics?

For 11 years, I was in the opposition, then, in February 2018, we participated in the elections and for the following elections, we obtained two councils from AMF and a pact for five parties to govern together. Personally, I get on well with everybody and I treat everyone the same way, whichever their political preferences, in the end, when this stage is over, we will all keep on seeing each other. I don't consider myself a politician, I am a worker, I have always been involved with associations, sports clubs, etc., and I believe that people who want to become politicians have a different agenda.

As you already have experience in your position, we would like you to tell us about your achievements in the different areas or about your projects to initiate or complete in the short term.

For example, the Culture sector was one of the areas that did not stop during the pandemic. In collaboration with the Cabildo, we organised 19 representations in Antigua's auditorium, which is managed by the Cabildo. There was only one representation that had to be postponed as seven of the actors became infected before their arrival. It was complicated because of the measures to follow, but we did not stop and did not suffer from any infections during the different events. Regarding Education, the measures were varied and evolved, although I never understood the concept of the bubbles which, although they were separated in the classrooms, then all the pupils ended up together in the busses. Also, the Culture council has renovated the teleclubs in all the villages of the municipality. Regarding renovations, important work has been carried out in all the schools (compulsory education centres – CEO) of the municipality, starting with Antigua's school, which has the largest number of pupils. We fixed the wall and also renovated the columns of the patio that were becoming rusty. We have added a new 60 kW generator as a backup when there are electricity cuts from Unelco so that the kitchens are not affected as they have powerful equipment, and the previous generator only had a potency of 16 kW. We have started using again a local in Buganvilla in Nuevo Horizonte, where there were tensions with the owners, as it was being used during the elections without any agreement. We have now come to an agreement, and we will use it for free support classes with two teachers employed full time for the year by the ayuntamiento.

Tell us about the Youth council.

The first time that I went to speak with the technicians, on the second day after my arrival, I was surprised when they showed me a draw full of pending projects waiting to be put into action. We looked at them calmly and saw that many were feasible. This was in June, and we had €33.000 of budget, which, if it wasn't spent before the end of the year, would be redistributed between all the other departments. We first launched the project called “Antigua, conoce tu municipio” (Antigua, discover your municipality) and we have now carried on with “Antigua, conoce tu isla” (Antigua, discover your island). It consists of 10 excursions, one of them being a nighttime excursion to observe the night sky with astronomers. The hikes end with a light meal of gofio, figs, cheese, cake and more traditional food from the island.

It is only aimed at young people?

No, it isn't, we opened it to people of any age and this is why we collaborate with the Sports Council to help us manage the project as the demand is so high. We had estimated 25 people for each excursion, but there are about 45 each time. We cannot honour all the requests. Regarding New Technologies, at the beginning of the term, we started fitting optical fibre, and we have three companies fitting it in the municipality. I hope that about 90% of the installation will be completed before the end of the term. We are fighting for the most rural and difficult areas. Furthermore, after 19 years of being at a standstill, we have found a solution for the TV signal in the touristic area, thanks to an agreement with Telefónica and the company in charge of the TV service and the implantation of a booster antenna in Salinas del Carmen, which goes totally unnoticed. We are planning to soon have all the cables between Nuevo Horizonte and El Castillo put underground, as those pylons are so ugly. Regarding the Water department, we have come to an agreement that whenever work is being done with asphalting or on the pavements, we will replace the pipework. We cooperate well with the councillor of that area.