Wednesday, October 5

The towns of Cáceres stick out their chests

Exhibition of the different regions in the Plaza Mayor de Cáceres. / GEORGE KING

The ‘Jato’ rural meeting brings together the 224 towns of the province in the capital and offers an intense professional and leisure agenda

Cristina Nunez

Plastic artist Isabel Flores was born in the Badajoz town of Hornachos, but for years she lived in big cities like Berlin, Dubai or Istanbul. During this weekend she will work on an artistic project at ‘Jato’, the meeting organized by the Cáceres Provincial Council to promote life in the towns of the province, publicize successful experiences and advance in the fight against depopulation. Flores, who works in the ‘Critical Wall’ art project of the provincial institution, which brings art to the towns, explained how difficult but also advantageous it is to live in small towns.

There is some controversy, but the word jato (written as it sounds, that is, converting the original hache into jota due to how it is pronounced in Extremadura), alludes to a small luggage of clothes and belongings. By giving this meeting that name, the organization intends to represent that one-way trip that those who have left have made but that it is possible to do on the way back. Among the public that has occupied the Foro de los Balbos there are those who said that the jato is a kind of gala dress for big days, because in some towns in Extremadura it is united in that sense.

Whatever it means, Jato is an opportunity for the 224 towns and six smaller entities in the province to show their chests and show that it is possible to live and develop in small towns. The Helga de Alvear Museum, Casa Pereros, Plaza Mayor, the Foro de los Balbos, Santa María, the Palacio de Carvajal, San Mateo and the Plaza de las Veletas are the points where this event takes place, mixing professional contacts with the ludic, the exhibition of trades with the gastronomic tasting and in which there are also concerts and dynamization of spaces.

The inauguration of this event has been grand, with the presence of the Extremaduran President Guillermo Fernández Vara, the Secretary General for the demographic challenge Francesc Xavier Boya Alós, the President of the Diputación, Carlos Carlos, the Mayor of Cáceres Luis Salaya, the Counselors for Employment Esther Gutiérrez and Rural Development, Begoña García Bernal and numerous political representatives. In his words, that idea that Extremadura cannot be understood without that fusion between rural and urban. President Guillermo Fernández Vara analyzed the situation in the region. “We are not going to have more population,” he indicated, alluding to a structural drop in birth rate and that he did not attribute only to economic or social conditions. He defended that it is necessary to “create a context in which there are people who want to live in rural areas” something that can be achieved with “the recovery of industrial sovereignty.”

The figure of Carlos V has articulated this inauguration of ‘Jato’, which will run until next Sunday. A retinue of the emperor from La Vera has added a touch of color to this start, with people in character and an actor who has acted as a guide through the different spaces. Montehermoseña hats proliferated, a traditional item now engulfed by ‘glamour’. The testimonies of Laura Corchado, from the Ruralizate company, Óscar Barrado, a nurse from Placentia, and pastry chef Conchi Gómez de Pinfranqueado.

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