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Rodri Rangel and Diego Rodríguez. SUR
The connection between Benarrabá and Venezuela that tackles depopulation in Malaga province
Rural life

The connection between Benarrabá and Venezuela that tackles depopulation in Malaga province

In 2022, Diego Rodríguez set up a plumbing, electricity and telecommunications company, and he has now hired a Venezuelan trainee through the Diputación’s scheme ‘Metapueblos’

Eugenio Cabezas

Tuesday, 26 March 2024, 20:44

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Diego Rodríguez completed his vocational training in electrical and automatic installations at Martín Rivero secondary school in Ronda. Originally from the mountain village of Benarrabá, with no more than 450 residents, he was clear at the age of 26 about wanting to live and work in the place where he was born. And he has done just that. From the start of 2022 he has had his own plumbing, electricity and telecommunications company which he has named after the municipality, Instalaciones Benarrabá.

In just two years he has completed around 60 projects involving electrical installations, plumbing and telecommunications, primarily in and around the towns and villages of Serranía de Ronda, such as Gaucín, Algatocín, Ronda and Benarrabá, among others.

“There's a lot of tourist housing, new construction and also renovations. The truth is that I don’t stop; I have work planned out for the next two or three months,” he said.

Son of a town hall employee, Rodríguez is convinced that “people can live and work in small towns”. “We need the support of the institutions and improved road communications,” he pointed out.

“When I was studying I had the opportunity to go further away for work, to Malaga or Algeciras, but I decided to stay here,” said the young technician. Now he has got involved in the provincial authority's project ‘Metapueblos’ by hiring a trainee at his company for almost six months. This initiative aims to tackle depopulation in the rural towns and villages of Malaga province.

From Venezuela to Malaga

In this case, the trainee is 45-year-old Rodri Rangel, from Venezuela, who has lived in Spain for the past two years, ever since leaving his country of origin, "fleeing from poverty and misery", he said. Rangel is "very happy" with the work he does under the young business owner from Benarrabá, a municipality where the Venezuelan has settled after a brief stay in Alicante. "I'm very grateful to be here in Spain. I have applied for international protection and am waiting to see if they grant me asylum," Rangel said.

Although back in Venezuela he had only worked in telecommunications, particularly in customer service, he is “very happy” to learn the trades of plumbing and electricity. “This a very beautiful area, which has lots of natural resources; it reminds me a little of the place I come from, Táchira, on the border with Colombia,” he stated.

A brother in the hotel industry in Marbella

Diego Rodríguez explained that the majority of the work he has done has been in private homes, although he has done a few projects for companies. He has even already installed a photovoltaic solar energy system for self-supply. “They are very interesting projects, and there are more and more people going for this type of installation in order to save on the electricity bill,” he pointed out.

Fireplace installations, heat pumps, aerothermal systems, air conditioning…the list of projects done or waiting to be completed in the next few months is extensive. “I’m happy and proud to be able to devote myself to what I’ve studied and continue living in my village,” Diego Rodríguez said.

His parents, Vicente and Olivia, are very proud of him and also of his 20-year-old brother, Manuel, who has decided to move to San Pedro Alcántara in Marbella, to work in the hotel industry. “He is also very happy, although he lives a calmer life back at home,” the older of the two brothers pointed out.

If he had to think of a downside to his job, it would be the roads in the area, which are narrow, full of twists and turns, and in many cases, inadequately maintained. “Although now we’re used to it, it’s true that they are very dangerous, but you must always drive very carefully,” Rodríguez added.

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