Sunday, December 4

Former Minister José Guirao dies, a lover of Extremadura

Las Planas area, where Guirao had a country house / TODAY

José Guirao Cabrera (Pulpí, Almería 1959-Madrid 2022) has died this morning at his home in Madrid after having suffered from an illness for the last 16 months. He was Minister of Culture and Sports (2018-2020) and director of the Reina Sofía National Art Center Museum (1994-2000), among other positions.

The body will be veiled from 4:00 p.m. at the San Isidro funeral home where on Tuesday at 12:00 a.m. a funeral will be held for family and friends, after which it will be cremated.

Like so many other well-known faces, Guirao was in love with the region of La Vera in Extremadura. It already happened to Carlos V more than five centuries ago, that he chose this area in the north of Cáceres -the monastery of Yuste- to enjoy his retirement.

After him there have been not a few who have felt the call of Vera. Pedro Morenés (former Minister of Defense), Alberto Ruíz Gallardón (former head of Justice), Mariano Fernández Bermejo (also of Justice)… Also the deceased last night José Guirao, who was Minister of Culture and Sports.

Guirao had had his own house for a decade in the municipality of Villanueva de la Vera, in the Las Planas area, where according to the neighbors he used to travel on weekends.

As he told TODAY in 2018, when he was appointed minister, during his stays he used to dedicate himself to gardening, something that assured then that he loved one of the people who knew him best in Villanueva, Óscar Delgado. “Pepe is a good person. We have known each other since he bought the land to build the house, back in 2004 », he commented then.

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Delgado recalled in 2018 that he had rented this land for his sheep to graze when the previous owner sold it to Guirao. “I asked him if he had to take them out and he told me no, no problem, that until the work started and the trees were planted he would leave them there,” he recalls. So I did it”.

In these lands of Extremadura, Guirao was mainly looking for relaxation. He used to garden. Taking care of his garden and the native trees of his plot, in which a modest house of about one hundred square meters is located, in addition to others that he was planting. “And he also likes animals. In fact, he has already had three mastiffs, which by the way I have given them to him », recalled Delgado.

That closeness and affability was verified by not a few residents of Villanueva. In the Viva la Pepa establishment, a natural products store that also has a bar-cafeteria, Guirao dropped by to buy bread. “And by the way, if Óscar is around here, then he has a beer,” pointed out Marta Cerezo, owner of the store.

Marta herself highlighted the simplicity of this man from Almería, who in the town -she assured- has always behaved like one more, dressing informally and arriving with his car -or on foot- to buy or have a drink like any neighbor. «One day he arrived with the escorts, because it seems that you were obligatory, and those of us who were here he even made us laugh». We weren’t used to seeing him like this. The truth is that he was a charming and super folksy guy ».

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Cerezo also highlighted in the report published by HOY his ironic character, which together with “his oratory, his sense of humor and his mental agility” made him even launch, like a good Andalusian, to tell the occasional joke “with that Almeria accent which is so funny to me”, he concludes.

«I remember that on one occasion his car got stuck in the river and we had to go and get it out, as we would and in fact do with any neighbor. Well, when he finished, the guy picked up and invited us to eat, ”recalled a client of Marta.

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