A Monday without the smile of María Isabel in the Alameda de San Roque

A Monday without the smile of María Isabel in the Alameda de San Roque

The Alameda Alfonso XI of San Roque remains cold and sad this Monday. Missing is the warmth, light and smiles that María Isabel, Isa for practically everyone who treated her, gave along with the comforting morning coffee served from a business built with effort and dedication.

San Roque is going through three hard days of official mourning for the murder of María Isabel MM, a resident of the town raised in the Los Olivillos neighborhood, whose life was skewed in the early hours of last Sunday at the hands of her ex-partner, who has confessed to the sexist crime .

María Isabel had been running the Plum Cake cafeteria for about ten years along with her mother, Ana, on the central Paseo in San Roque. A place where many residents of the center usually have breakfast and also those who go to do business because the Notary, the San Roque Property Registry, an insurance agency and an Endesa commercial office are nearby.

This Monday, a laconic message written in chalk on the blackboard of the facade announced the closure of the establishment. María Isabel will not open the door again, on whose threshold a few candles have been left lit, two of them with black crepe.

Those who stand in front of the cafeteria with a dejected expression agree that María Isabel was, above all, a woman of exquisite treatment and hard work. She “she always had a smile even though she was busy. She took her children to school and right away she was already in the business to which she dedicated a lot of time ”, point out several neighbors who make a huddle at the door of the cafe.

She still echoes the silence and the long applause on Sunday afternoon in the Alameda San Roque, where thousands of neighbors gathered to honor her memory and express her revulsion for a life taken from her fullness. María Isabel was 37 years old and she leaves behind three children, one of them a 16-year-old teenager and the other two in full infancy, seven and eight years old.

 Un lunes sin la sonrisa de María Isabel en la Alameda de San Roque

Her ex-partner, arrested by the Civil Guard and confessed perpetrator of the events, worked as a security guard at a hospital in Palmones. Some time before she had even served in the cafeteria so many of Plum Cake's regulars knew both of them.

"This is a full-fledged murder. The people of the town do not want him here," Cristina, a neighbor of the center, comments loudly, alluding to the detainee, a native of Ceuta. "He must pay dearly for what he has done. No one deserves to have his life taken away, no one deserves death," she manages to say, noticeably nervous. Next, the neighbor blames the laws and calls for stronger sentences for this type of crime. "There is no right," she insists. Her indignation is shared with two other women, visibly affected.

Isa had plans to continue growing in the future. A few months ago she had rented a space across the street to open Plum Tapas, a bar to supplement the coffee shop business. And before dedicating herself to the hospitality industry, she had also run a clothing store in the Alameda.

Francisco Mena, president of the Márgenes y Vínculos Foundation, is doubly shocked by the crime. His private business, the Endesa office, is located right between the cafeteria and the tapas bar. And both he and his office colleagues used to have coffee with Isa, who used to be behind the bar in charge of getting the coffee at his point. “A charming woman, always with a smile and hardworking, enterprising, full of drive and affectionate. We are frankly despondent and sad. What happened is an aberration”, regrets Mena.

In the Kiosco Pepe, located just in front of the cafeteria, and in the nearby Alameda brewery, they agree that María Isabel was focused on her work. "I spent many hours. From sunrise to sunset," explains Vanessa, from the nearby bar. "In fact, he stabbed her when she came home at dawn, after a whole day working to raise her children," the guild member is right to say.

"She worked very well. Very attentive, hard-working and friendly," point out other neighbors consulted, reluctant to give names for the report. No one succeeds in attributing a hobby or leisure work to María Isabel. "She always worked," she emphasizes.

For Francisco Mena, in his capacity as president of an entity that, among other tasks, cares for women victims of sexist violence, this crime demonstrates "once again" the failure of society. “A society cannot afford to lose a woman, to have her life taken away, for not wanting to have a relationship. It is not just a political failure, it is everyone's as a society for not knowing how to find a way to solve a scourge that leaves an unacceptable balance of lives cut short throughout the country every year, "adds Mena.

After the sexist motive for the crime was confirmed, María Isabel MM is considered the 37th victim of sexist violence in Spain in 2021. 1,118 fatalities since January 1, 2003 make up the chilling record of the Government Delegation against Gender Violence, dependent on the Ministry of Equality.

Until this Tuesday, the flags of all the municipal buildings of San Roque fly at half-staff. This is the case of the Plaza de las Constitucións, where the local Town Hall stands. Those who pass by the masts observe the ensigns that hang practically motionless due to the absence of wind.

Telephone 016 assists victims of violence against women. It is a free and confidential phone that provides service in 53 languages ​​and leaves no trace on the bill. Information is also offered through the email 016-online@igualdad.gob.es and advice and psychosocial care through the WhatsApp number 600 000 016. In addition, minors can contact the ANAR telephone number, 900 20 20 10.