The Italian consulate in the capital of Tenerife will cease its activity next Thursday and will focus all its services on the open consular office in Playa de Las Américas (Arona). In addition, Silvio Pelizzolo will leave the position of honorary consul after almost 18 years and the representation of the country in the province will be carried out by a career official, as DIARIO DE AVISOS has learned. The new consular agent is Gianluca Cappelli Bigazzi.
The measure has been received with surprise and indignation among the large Italian community residing in Tenerife. At least those are the signals transmitted by several representatives consulted by this newspaper who announce mobilizations to prevent the closure of the Santa Cruz offices and the dismissal of Pelizzollo, since they consider that his dismissal will worsen the service and the proximity to the compatriots will suffer. and to local institutions.
As this newspaper was able to learn, the Italian embassy in Spain argues that the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation does not authorize the creation of a career consulate where another honorary already exists, an extreme that diplomatic sources question when recalling that this double figure it already exists with other countries like the UK.
Apparently, the strategy seeks to centralize services in Arona for the entire Italian community in the Archipelago, which would also entail the closure of the Gran Canaria office, but the intervention of the public administrations of that island keeps the measure on hold, sources indicate. of the consulate.
It is estimated that currently 30,000 Italians reside in the province of Tenerife, most of them in the South, where the number continues to grow. An example is the number of people registered in Arona, 11,500, according to the latest data from the City Council. Pelizzolo himself has recently commented that many retirees continue to arrive and that his mail “fills up every day with people who want to come and set up a business.”
The cessation of activity at the Santa Cruz office on the 20th will force Italian residents in the metropolitan area and north of the Island to travel to Playa de Las Américas, but it is also feared that a large part of the relationship with Tenerife society and its representatives, aspects that Pelizzolo “cultivated a lot with his presence in all kinds of public events, from processions to all kinds of cultural activities,” say the sources consulted, who maintain that a career official “does not encourage that closeness because it doesn’t have as much presence; It is a couple of years and then another one arrives to start from scratch ”.
Guido Gianoli, president of the Italo-Canarian Benevolent Association, has created a platform to stop the closure of facilities in the capital of Tenerife. It has already begun to collect signatures and will open a round of meetings with public officials and private entities to obtain institutional support. “If we want to add and it turns out that you subtract, where is the improvement?” he asks.
“State officials come, charge, open at one time, close at another and if I’ve seen you I don’t remember,” says Gianoli, a defender of the work carried out by the honorary consul to date. “Silvio has been 18 years, he knows this land, its problems and its reality like nobody else; It is available 24 hours a day to the community and anyone who requires its services. In an emergency, even at dawn, he always responds. It is close to the town and that can be lost”, he indicates.
The promoter of the platform insists that it is “fundamental” to maintain a consular agency in Santa Cruz and recalls that the Italian community has increased “exponentially” in recent years.