The Republic of Italy has decided to close the honorary consulate in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, open permanently since 1710. Both in the 18th century and in the historical future, the direct relationship with the capital’s port and its traffic has prevailed. Since yesterday, the diplomatic office located in Arona attends exclusively to the colony of 30,000 Italian residents on the Island. A group of them, united on the platform, has mobilized to prevent the closure. Its president, Guido Gianoli, who is also president of the Italo-Canarian Benevolent Association (ABIC) Zenit, clarifies: «We don’t want to subtract but add; that is to say, that the office in the south remains open and the one in the capital remains open».
Gianoli has sent letters to the president of the Cabildo and the Parliament of the Canary Islands, as well as to the mayors of Santa Cruz, Arona and Adeje. The latter are from the South, where the majority of the many Italians who reside on the Island have settled. He argues that the decision not to allow honorary consulates where there are career diplomatic seats lacks logic in the reality of the island.
Silvio Pelizzolo, honorary consul for the last 19 years, finalized the transfer of powers last Thursday at the headquarters of number 10 Cruz Verde Street, in Santa Cruz. He did not want to go into details, but he did gloss over the growth of the Italian community: “In 2004, the first mayor I visited was that of Adeje because it had the largest number of Italians on the island, and there were 2,000.” Today, in Arona there are 11,500 registered and in Adeje, 8,500. Some 2,200 live in Santa Cruz and, in addition, there is a large colony in Candelaria and another important one in Puerto de la Cruz. Without forgetting the relationship with the University of La Laguna and the Erasmus from the Italian Peninsula, always the majority.
Gianoli who has taken the step to create this Platform No to the closure of the Consulate of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. He explains that “we have had to process countless aid to countrymen who have been alone and in a situation of helplessness.” He values that “we have achieved it thanks to the help of our Honorary Consul, who has always been of vital importance in all our efforts.” He values ”his closeness, availability and complete knowledge of the reality of the Italian community in Tenerife.” He insists: “He has been able to help with timely and successful efforts. And not only Italians. In addition, he adds, “it has provided and provides a service to our compatriots from the north of the island, as well as those who come from other islands and land here. This takes away work and improves the service of the Arona Consular Agency». Gianoli emphasizes: “Among many other advantages, it is in the capital, close to all public and private entities, including administrations, in addition to the tourist and commercial port that has maintained historical relations with Italy.” The argument emphasizes that the institution has been present in Santa Cruz since April 3, 1710 when it represented the government of the Most Serene Republic of Genoa –Gianoli is a sailor and a Genoese–. Then, Gió Nicolo Mengeotti was the first consul in the Canary Islands of an Italian Peninsula, still not unified. The reason: the importance of the port of Santa Cruz in the commercial routes. Guido Gianoli, in addition to the contact established with the main institutions of the Island, has also started a process of collecting signatures that has obtained significant support from his countrymen. It seems that the Italian colony chooses to keep the headquarters in the capital of the Island.
Also in Las Palmas
In May of last year a similar threat affected the Italian Honorary Consulate in Las Palmas with the announcement of its closure for the following June. Today it is still open. According to Gianoli because «together we have achieved it» . From the Cabildo to several municipalities, as well as the Italian colony in Gran Canaria that mobilized. Gianoli insists: “The opening of a career consular headquarters in Arona is very good news, but if it translates into the closure of the Honorary Consulates, the result does not add but subtracts.” Summarizes the president of Abic: «Centralizing all the efforts of the Italians in Arona is a lack of knowledge of the reality of the Canary Islands and the problems of insularity». He argues that “the closure also means that the local authorities of the Canary Islands must directly take charge of the efforts of Italian citizens.” That is why they have addressed the Embassy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain in this same sense. The spokesperson for this group of Italians concludes: “Maintaining our Honorary Consulate in Santa Cruz is of vital importance for the Italians of the province and for Tenerife society.”