Héctor Barbotta

Héctor has a degree in Journalism from Malaga University and joined the SUR team in 1992. He is now Chief Reporter in Marbella.

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recent published articles

01/06/2018 13:05


Marbella council approves convent refurbishment

Marbella council has approved a project to restore and refurbish the cloisters and chapel of the old Trinidad convent. The mayor, Ángeles Muñoz, has highlighted that this project, which will receive an investment of 1.8 million euros, is part of "a w

25/05/2018 13:42


Marbella fuel station licence case goes to ombudsman

A fuel sellers' association has called for the Andalusian ombudsman to intervene to force the execution of a sentence that annuls the licences of four petrol stations in Marbella. All four were built with permission granted illegally by the GIL cou

25/05/2018 12:38


Regional council to extend Nagüeles licence

An agreement on the use of the Nagüeles quarry, the venue of the Starlite festival, has been made between the council and the regional government. Marbella council will pay a sum of 121,492 euros annually to the Junta for its use. The previous tempor

11/05/2018 12:23


Marbella now has an approved town plan

Nearly three years ago, Marbella's town plan which was drawn up in 2010, was declared invalid, forcing the local government to go back to the 1986 urban plan and stop granting construction licences. Although the local government attempted to get a

04/05/2018 14:01


Right here

Some might think that at this stage we didn't ought to be surprised or scared when someone talks of mafia organisations linked with drug trafficking being set up on the Costa del Sol. For a long time now international criminal organisations have soug

20/04/2018 15:56


The price of luxury properties in Marbella has doubled since 2011

The property market in Marbella moves at different speeds and the fastest of all is the luxury sector. In some parts of the municipality prices are now double those of 2011, which was the worst year of the crisis, as shown by the latest report on the

16/03/2018 14:03


12 years

Events in recent years have given us reason to agree with those who say that very few politicians are ever put behind bars. Twelve years ago however, when Juan Antonio Roca and a large number of Marbella councillors were sent to prison, the scene was

23/02/2018 18:38


Wordless legacy

If anyone had the crazy idea of picking the best Spanish artist of all time, they would be stepping into a fascinating maze, but one with no way out. If they went in through the door marked painting they would get lost choosing between Murillo, Veláz

26/01/2018 18:16


Giving up

It's time we started, if we haven't done so already, to lose that dogmatic, irrational, almost religious belief that all our problems will magically be solved by the invisible hand of the markets. For years we trusted that the train would eventually

26/12/2017 19:11


Marbella hopes its Michelin stars will boost tourism

Marbella council is hoping that the four restaurants who recently had their Michelin stars renewed, will help bring more tourists to the town. The first step will be at the Feria Internacional de Turismo de Madrid (Fitur) where the four establishment

01/12/2017 12:46



Francisco Griñán tells us in this edition about a documentary that recovers the unknown epic story of the people of Malaga who, early last century, emigrated to Hawaii in search of sustenance from the sugar cane plantations. 'Hawái o miseria' is th

27/11/2017 12:18


Unfinished building on A-7 could be Marbella's new courthouse

An unfinished building near the Hospital Costa del Sol alongside the A-7, east of central Marbella, could be home to a new court complex. The town currently has its court operations spread across three separate buildings and urgently needs a new base

03/11/2017 13:35


Messi and co to seek refuge in Marbella before the World Cup

Following their traumatic qualification campaign in which their participation in the World Cup hung in the balance right until the last moment, Lionel Messi and his teammates will be looking for some tranquility in the build-up to the main event this

03/11/2017 13:34


Marbella would expand Puente Romano for the Davis Cup in February

Marbella wants the central court at the Puente Romano tennis club to be the venue for the Davis Cup clash between Spain and the United Kingdom next year. As part of its application to host the event, the council says it would expand the seating aroun

03/11/2017 13:06


La Zagaleta sells Valderrama Golf to members

La Zagaleta, the famous private luxury estate company, has finally closed the deal to sell the Valderrama golf club near Sotogrande to the club's own members. The 28-million-euro sale of one of Europe's most prestigious golf courses marks the end o

03/11/2017 12:13


Firefighters rescue family stranded on La Concha

An Anglo-German middle-aged couple and their adult daughter had to be rescued from atop La Concha mountain on Tuesday after becoming disorientated by incoming fog. The three people got lost at around 2.30pm and immediately got in contact with the 1

13/10/2017 12:48


A floating palace in Puerto Banús

Measuring 87 metres in length, with a support vessel which carries a helicopter, room for just 12 passengers and a spa in the interior which those who have had the chance to enjoy it say it is the best they have ever seen, the 'ACE' is definitely one

09/10/2017 13:58


New home found for "alligator" spotted on the prowl in Marbella lake

What many thought was a crocodile in the artifical lake in Marbella's La Represa park was identified as an alligator gar, a fish native to North America. The fish, which measures almost a metre in length and is thought to have lived off the park's

03/10/2017 18:41


Chilean group launches 480-million-euro Costa investment

Chilean investment group, Osim, got a series of projects on the Costa del Sol under way on Friday with the launch of the Alcazaba Lagoon residential complex in Casares. The 400-property development involves a 200-million-euro investment on the part

29/09/2017 17:04


Did he give himself up or was his arrest unexpected?

Two weeks after Carlos Fernández was remanded in custody in the province of San Juan, Argentina, it is still not known exactly how his arrest was made and what kind of police operation led to his capture. According to his defence lawyer and brother

22/09/2017 13:22


Former Marbella councillor and Malaya fugitive arrested in Argentina

More than ten years after the Malaya corruption scandal broke out in Marbella, the last fugitive Carlos Fernández has been located and arrested in Argentina. The former councillor was detained in the early hours of last Friday at his home in Rivada

15/09/2017 12:10


Marbella council acts to eradicate restrictions on home improvements

The council is taking action to ensure that the owners of more than 2,300 homes in 14 different areas of the town can apply for permission to carry out improvements or extend their properties. These are located on land that was zoned for building und

11/09/2017 18:34



It seems unstoppable. Malaga and Marbella now officially have more beds available in privately-rented tourist apartments than in hotels. In a city like Malaga with its recent tourism explosion focused on urban and cultural visits, the figures might s

01/09/2017 14:38


Returning mayor says public services will be a priority

Ángeles Muñoz, who returned to power in Marbella this week after a vote of no confidence in the former Socialist mayor, José Bernal, has said that there are certain areas of local government that she wants to be responsible for herself. She will

29/08/2017 14:25


Ángeles Muñoz back as mayor of Marbella

Ángeles Muñoz is back as mayor of Marbella. The local president of the Partido Popular (PP) has regained the post she occupied for two consecutive legislative terms (2007-2011 and 2011-2015) after the success on Tuesday of the no confidence motion pr

11/08/2017 17:14


End of villa that became a symbol of local corruption

It became a symbol of the massive corruption that swept through Marbella in the first ten years of the century. The eight-bedroom villa called 'Mi Gitana' (my gypsy) was in the national spotlight when news reached the world of the scale of the 'Op

04/08/2017 20:23


San Pedro party votes to continue support for Marbella's mayor

The three-party coalition that controls Marbella town hall has managed to survive - just. By a slim margin of four votes, members of the governing body of Opción Sampedreña (OSP), the San Pedro separatist party and coalition partner, voted not to w

28/07/2017 19:37


San Pedro councillors threaten to bring down Marbella's mayor

The position of José Bernal as PSOEmayor of Marbella looked to be in doubt this week as three councillors in his ruling coalition mulled over an offer from the opposition PP party to swap sides. The three councillors from Opción Sampedreña (OSP), w

23/06/2017 17:11


February start for works on new San Pedro health centre

Work is expected to start next February on a new public health centre in San Pedro and is expected to be completed in under two years. The Junta and Marbella council have finally agreed that the former will fund the building on land belonging to th

16/06/2017 19:58


US court orders 'Prince of Marbella's' home to be seized

The palatial home of a convicted arms dealer has been seized on the orders of a New York judge. Monzer Al-Kassar used to live in the villa near Marbella, which was not directly in his name, until 2007 when he was arrested in Spain on a US police wa

09/06/2017 18:40


Marbella celebrates June fair under the watchful eye of security CCTV

The annual San Bernabé 'feria' is in full swing this weekend in the centre of Marbella and the showground on the outskirts of the resort. However this year the good-natured revelry is being closely monitored by temporary CCTV cameras for the first ti

02/06/2017 10:36


Mahiki Beach sealed off by police hours before it was due to open

The town hall in Marbella has sealed off a former 'chiringuito' beach bar on the promenade in the centre of the resort that was about to be reopened as the first Spanish branch of a top London nightspot. Mahiki Beach is based on the popular celebri

02/06/2017 10:21


Two Frenchmen caught stealing at a cashpoint

Two French citizens have been arrested for attempting to steal from an elderly German couple at a cashpoint on Avenida Ricardo Soriano, after an anonymous witness notified Local Police. The men, aged 22 and 28, were then detained after police found 3

26/05/2017 11:52


Estepona town hall corruption inquiry finishes after almost 12 years

The news broke in June 2008 when police arrested then-mayor of Estepona, Antonio Barrientos of the PSOE party, other councillors and council workers after a tip off from two other Socialist councillors in November 2006. Since 2006 a judge has been

26/05/2017 11:42


Former Marbella council bosses quizzed over planning vote

Former councillors and officials at Marbella town hall have been appearing before an investigating judge this week to explain their role in the approval of the town's master plan (PGOU) in 2009. Public prosecutors have complained that 22 last-minute

26/05/2017 10:36


Four arrested in counterfeit goods fraud

National Police officers have arrested four Romanians who were selling fake items of clothing where there were large numbers of passing tourists, including in a shopping centre in Marbella town and a shopping area in nearby Puerto Banús. The prices

19/05/2017 12:00


Marbella will host an annual Ironman event until 2021

The mayor of Marbella, José Bernal, has unveiled more details of the council's agreement to host an Ironman trial every year in the town until 2021. Announcing plans alongside councillor for Sport, Blanca Fernán, Bernal said that each event will ge

12/05/2017 10:53


Town moves a step closer to saving its beaches with breakwaters

At a meeting in Madrid last week, representatives from Marbella council discussed with environment ministry officials their plan to protect the town's shoreline from erosion and restore sand to the beaches. During the meeting, the government's coas

24/03/2017 16:30


Junta urgently takes back control of Marbella's La Bajadilla port

The Junta de Andalucía's port authority has stepped in and taken over the running of Marbella's La Bajadilla port. The marina, to the east of the old town, has been at the centre of a dispute between the company holding the operating licence, Nas M

23/03/2017 20:45


W hotel chain to open luxury resort on the beach in Marbella

A leading luxury hotel chain is to open an establishment in Marbella. On Thursday, the W chain signed an agreement with the Platinum Estates investment group, which is developing a project in the area of the sand dunes at Real de Zaragoza, to manage

17/03/2017 15:40


Over to Mijas

The image of Marbella often spreads beyond the municipal borders, becoming an umbrella location for a large proportion of the western Costa del Sol. There are hotels and beach clubs in Estepona that use the Marbella brand in their marketing - and nob

17/03/2017 11:11


Marbella heads to Moscow tourism fair

Mayor of Marbella, José Bernal, led a town-council delegation to Moscow for the MITT tourism fair in the Russian capital this week. It aimed to consolidate the municipality's position as a popular tourist destination in that country. The Russian ma

17/03/2017 10:36


Marbella petrol stations 'illegal for 20 years'

A Malaga court has upheld earlier judgements that four well-known petrol stations in Marbella were built with illegal planning permission granted in 1995 and 1996 when Jesús Gil was mayor. The stations affected are by Marbella bus station, in Nagüele

10/03/2017 12:30


Roman burials can be found beneath nearby beach

The zone adjacent to the paleochristian Basilica has never been subject to archaeological examination but there is no doubt that it is home to Roman burials, after excavation work in 1991 uncovered three Roman graves beneath sand dunes which lie only

24/02/2017 11:47


Court invalidates more mortgage clauses but for different reasons

A wave of other refund claims to banks could be on the horizon, and this time it has nothing to do with the so-called 'floor clause'. A Marbella court has recently found in favour of two people who took out mortgages based not on the standard eurib

17/02/2017 11:16


Legal proceedings started over Marbella FC's new sports complex

Construction of the La Dama de Noche Sports City in Marbella, which was opened on 18 January, was carried out without a municipal licence. Legal proceedings against MFC Sport Arena, the owner of the installations used by Marbella FC and which inclu

10/02/2017 16:45


Sheikh Al-Thani appeals against decision to remove port concession

Sheikh Al-Thani, head of the Nas Marbella group who holds the concession for the La Bajadilla port project, last week communicated by telephone, through a legal representative, his intention to appeal the decision of the Andalucía Public Port Agency

10/02/2017 15:35


Marbella recovers one million euros from Roca in civil liabilities

Marbella town hall reclaimed one of 70 million euros owed to it by Juan Antonio Roca on Wednesday. The provincial court in Malaga agreed that this sum would be taken for civil liabilities in the 'Saqueo 1' and 'Saqueo 2' cases. In the first, Roca w

04/02/2017 13:11


British ambassador urges calm among business owners in Spain

The British Ambassador to Spain, Simon Manley, spoke to members of the British Chamber of Commerce on Marbella on Friday, urging calm among business leaders in the face of the uncertainty surrounding the future Brexit. 'Brexit and beyond' was the t

03/02/2017 16:02


Trump - the mirror

Of all the political catastrophes that have rained down on the planet in recent months, it's possible that Brexit will be the one with the most repercussions on the Costa del Sol - not necessarily on the tourism industry, but on the thousands of fell

25/01/2017 16:41


Marbella Rugby Club faces uncertain future due to disputed tax debt

The survival of one of the longest established sporting organisations in Marbella is under threat due to a municipal tax demand. The Patronato Provincial de Recaudación (the provincial tax collection agency) has ordered an embargo of Marbella Rugby C

20/01/2017 16:58


The price of the cold

In the old days they called it winter, but as climate change has turned meteorology into a strange anomaly it has now become known as a "Siberian cold front". This week much of the province of Malaga saw a covering of snow; you don't have to have suc

17/01/2017 10:31


Marbella Club closes for one month for refurbishment

The Marbella Club Hotel closed its doors last week for a refurbishment that will cost around five million euros. In addition to the renovation of the swimming pool and general maintenance work, the hotel will construct a new luxury villa in the cen