The day Mercedes touched Almeida for the first time | Madrid News

The day Mercedes touched Almeida for the first time | Madrid News
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Many arrive at the Paseo de la Ermita del Santo by pure inertia, dragged by the circulation of the mass of people that takes them there. Many others come for the tradition of venerating San Isidro the Labrador on his big day. And meanwhile, a few, perhaps the most optimistic, go expressly to the door of the sanctuary to see if this time, good luck falls on them from the sky. Today luck is hanging around the neck of Víctor García, 57, an ONCE worker who moves against the current around the church and who at one o’clock in the afternoon has sold almost 200 coupons. García is a kind of thermometer of the atmosphere that is breathed this May 15 at the San Isidro Fair. “It’s all laughter and cordiality until the politicians arrive,” he warns, pointing behind him, where all the media are waiting for the representatives of the different parties to give their respective blows. “It is a pity. As soon as they see them arrive, discussions begin between those who were previously laughing. It seems like a very bad sign to me, don’t you think?

However, Víctor tries to distract himself a little from what his mission is, especially today when it can be August. Mari Ángeles, a neighbor from Chamberí, approaches the man holding her grandson’s hand to beg him: “Please, three of a kind?” “Which one do you want, madam?” the man answers. “I want the one that plays, give me the one that plays,” she answers. “Here he goes, let’s see if the saint gets involved,” she says goodbye.

The carousel of authorities parades in front of the Hermitage of the Saint along with its entourage of faithful, who applaud at the end of the speeches if they see that any booing can be heard among the people. Organized, coincidence or not, from left to right, Rita Maestre, Íñigo Errejón, Juan Lobato or Reyes Maroto appear before the mayor, Jose Luis Martínez Almeida, did so. The first mayor delayed his arrival to the meadow due to the presentation of the Medals of Honor and of Madrid that he presided over this morning in the Crystal Gallery of the Cibeles Palace. An act marked by the absence of Más Madrid, which has described the awarding of the Medal of Honor to the Jewish community of Madrid, which was originally going to be for the people of Israel, as a “disguised tribute.”

“No one is oblivious to how the decoration to the Jewish community of Madrid proposed by Almeida occurs after not having been able to decorate the state of Israel, which was his first intention. With this medal, Almeida wants to use the Jewish people to give a medal to the State of Israel and, ultimately, to the Government of (Benjamin) Netanyahu,” said Rita Maestre. After her absence from the event, Maestre declared that “a genocide continues to occur in Gaza.”

After two-thirty in the afternoon, sitting on the curb of the sidewalk and supporting the entire weight of her battered body on the black dragon-shaped cane that she inherited from her mother, Mercedes, 68, a woman from Almería recently arrived from El Ejido impatiently awaits the moment that they intend to brag about all summer when they return to their beach chair: having touched Martínez Almeida. Next to her is her friend Mari Carmen, also 68 years old, and Manuel, the cousin who welcomes the two ladies during their stay in Madrid. Mercedes wants to party. “We come from drinking beers and going viral. You see me like this, lame, but when I have to dance no one gets in front of me. We have taken over the entire track, the double step is our thing,” she says.

The woman refers to the spontaneous groups of people that gather around the meadow, where those who are dressed as chulapos score a chotis for the delight of the rest. Mercedes says that today “God willing” will be the second time in her life that she will see the mayor. “The first is that it was very cold. It was a demonstration against Sánchez in the Temple of Debod, I could barely shout at him and he answered me from afar. Today I come to touch you,” she says. Suddenly, the movement of television cameras and photographers puts the trio on alert. Mercedes forgets about her knee osteoarthritis and gets up from the sidewalk holding the carnation that she wears on her left profile.


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In the middle of a crowd, Almeida advances based on selfies while Mercedes looks for her place among the security personnel. What the woman could not foresee is that from the other side, Maribel, 71, and her mother, Cándida, were going to provide tough competition. The smaller couple catches up with Almeida and gets all his attention when they ask him to dance a chotis. Mercedes, in the background, waits a few steps ahead until the mayor turns around and faces her. “I’m from El Ejido, I come from El Ejido,” she explains with several blows on her shoulder because according to her, “she saves hugs for acquaintances.” After the encounter, the woman gets a little down and asks to go rest under a tree. Mari Carmen accepts while she warns her that “there will be no more beers.”

Martínez Almeida will continue with his itinerary, which will take him to the Popular Party tent after a brief visit to the hermitage. At one point, while the mayor is walking through the meadow, Rocío Monasterio “fortuitously” appears. The Vox deputy in the Madrid Assembly approaches Almeida dressed as a chulapa while a spontaneous person urges them to dance a chotis. She offers herself before the television cameras, but Almeida refuses. “She doesn’t know how to dance,” she comments about Monasterio. “I can give you some classes. To the right, self-conscious…”, she says goodbye.

Behind the smoke of the embers and the smell of frying there is a worried man. The mayor walks with difficulty among the people queuing at the foot of the booths. Some turn around due to the expectation that is generated as he walks by, while others ignore that they have the mayor behind them. All roads lead to the PP booth, where everything is laughter, shouts and celebrations, except for Paco Martínez, owner of the place, who waits at the bar with a serious face. Martínez appears confident in front of his people. Before Almeida places himself around his table with other members of the Madrid PP, he asks several waiters to serve beers and water “for everyone.” However, when the first mayor approaches him, Paco is in disbelief. He greets him shyly and quickly returns to his command post. He ordered portions and portions of chicken, gabardina, croquettes, but above all cheese and chorizo. In a moment of bravery, Paco approaches Almeida and whispers in her ear: “A photo?” The mayor agrees, but the man decides not to go out and give the spotlight to his team, all dressed in the blue Popular Party shirt. “Chencho! “Put yourself in the photo,” they beg. In the end, Martínez agrees to finish the procedure quickly, light a cigarette, wipe the sweat from his forehead and return to feeding all the hungry people other than the politicians who are waiting behind him.

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