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Latino Daily News

Sunday October 7, 2012

Spanish Official Steps Down After “Rape” Comment

Spanish Official Steps Down After “Rape” Comment

Photo: Jose Manuel Castelao

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A Spanish official has stepped down after sparking outrage with comments that made light of the crime of rape.

Jose Manuel Castelao resigned Friday night from his post as president of the General Council of Spanish Citizens Abroad after saying a few days earlier during a board meeting that “laws are like women; they’re there to be violated (raped).”

He used the Spanish verb “violar,” which when used to describe an action done to people clearly carries the meaning of sexual assault.

The comments by the 71-year-old official, who had been named to the post earlier in the week and cited only “personal reasons” for stepping down, drew a storm of criticism, especially from Spain’s main opposition Socialist Workers Party.

That party’s secretary-general, Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, urged Prime Minster Mariano Rajoy’s administration to apologize for Castelao’s words.

“It’s not enough for him to resign,” Rubalcaba said during a political rally Saturday ahead of Oct. 20 elections in the northwestern region of Galicia. “The government needs to offer an explanation.”

“What must (politicians of the governing Popular Party) have in their heads ... to say such nonsense?”

Socialist lawmaker Laura Seara, meanwhile, called the remarks by the now-former official representative of Spaniards living abroad “disgusting” and “borderline criminal,” and said there is no way to excuse them away.

The Socialist candidate for the presidency of the northwestern autonomous community of Galicia, Pachi Vazquez, said for his part that the comment was “spectacularly stupid” and that “no one can be in public life with that phrase, no one.”

The current president of the Basque regional government, the PP’s Alberto Nuñez Feijoo, said on Twitter that Castelao’s statement was inadmissible and that he has done was he needed to do by resigning.

Castelao had been elected to his post on Monday after his name was proposed by Employment and Social Security Minister Fatima Bañez.

The General Council of Spanish Citizens Abroad is a division of the Employment and Social Security Ministry that seeks to guarantee the rights of Spanish expatriates to participate in matters that concern them.