La Gomera marked the childhood of Giorgia Meloni. The leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy party and winner of last Sunday’s elections, she has a close relationship with the Canary Island as she spent many summers on its streets and beaches. The link with the Archipelago was forged by his father, Francesco Meloni, known as Franco, an accountant who moved to the Canary Islands in the 1980s after leaving his family when the Italian was only two years old. This is how she narrates it in her autobiography ‘I am Giorgia’ published in 2021.
The link between politics and the Canary Islands is bitter. The father of what may become the first woman to head the Italian Government went to the Islands on a ship called ‘Caballo Loco’ and never came home. Family contact from that time was based solely on two-week visits a year in which Giorgia and her sister Arianna They spent time with their father in the Santiago Beach, according to residents of the area. They had lunch in well-known restaurants and bars on the coast of the municipality of Alajeró and in the afternoon they enjoyed spending time on the beach.
According to the inhabitants of the Gomeran municipality, Francesco Meloni traveled to the island looking for a new life in a paradise near Europe and here he had a “quite crazy” life. The digital ‘GomeraNoticias’ affirms that the accountant was based in La Gomera between the 80s and 90s and for ten years He was the owner of the well-known and now disappeared Restaurant Marqués de Oristanoan establishment located in the old Casa de Los Ayala, which was subsequently acquired from another individual by the Cabildo de La Gomera and today forms part of the historic buildings incorporated into that institution and where the UNED headquarters are located.
Italian politics lived episodes of joy in the Islands, but also hard moments that he collects in his autobiography. Like when at three years old she was about to drown because her father left them in a boat with a nanny that he couldn’t swim. Meloni acknowledges that since then one of her greatest fears is drowning.
Las visits to the Canary Islands ended when Giorgia was only eleven years old. The Italian remembers that it was a “hard” conversation with her father that made her decide not to see him again in her life. And with this episode Meloni’s link with La Gomera ended. “He disappeared on a boat and left us with his partner. I decided that he would never see him again,” says the young woman in the book. From that moment on, the only contact that the Italian had with her father was a telegram that he sent her for her thirteenth birthday in which she put: “Happy birthday, Franco.” A message that she served to the leader of the extremist Brothers of Italy party to realize that she had made the right decision.
The father-daughter relationship ended with that impersonal message. The Italian never heard from Francesco again, she didn’t even feel anything when he died two years ago of leukemia. “I didn’t feel hate or displeasure. I didn’t feel anything, it was as if a television character had died,” Meloni acknowledged in several interviews with Italian media during the campaign.
Those trips to La Gomera and the episodes lived with his father during the summers in the Canary Islands marked the personality of the Italian and the thought that would later shape her political ideology and his party. Giorgia’s father was a communist and an atheist, which marked their family relationship. Neighbors of La Gomera they point out that he even had offspring on the island of a relationship with one of the domestic workers that he had contracted at the time he lived in the Canary Islands. “Meloni has four stepbrothers in La Gomera and neither she nor she knows it,” they affirm.
The abandonment of the father paid for his current political ideology in which he rejects adoption for homosexual couples or single people. Giorgia has explained on more than one occasion that if she defends the traditional family so much it is precisely because she grew up with that lack. For the Italian it has been “very hard” to grow up with the perception of a father who is no longer there. She even acknowledged that all the pain that the situation caused her is what led her to be “so brave and combative” in her professional and personal life.
But from his time in La Gomera he also took positive things like his Spanish learning that still preserves today and uses for his political career. This was demonstrated on June 12 during a Vox rally in Marbella (Málaga) to which she was invited to support the Andalusian campaign. “Either you say yes or you say no. Yes to the natural family, no to the LGBT lobbies; yes to the culture of life, no to the abyss of death; yes to secure borders, no to mass immigration,” they were some of the ideas that the Italian exclaimed in perfect Spanish from the rostrum. Before that, Meloni and Santiago Abascal had already shared the stage in January 2021, at a round table chaired by both with the title ‘The Future of Patriotism: Europe after the US elections’, which was held just a week after the assault to the Capitol egged on by the American Donald Trump. The president of Vox was precisely one of the first to congratulate the Italian on her victory on Sunday, “Meloni has shown the way for a proud, free Europe and sovereign nations, millions of Europeans have their hopes pinned on Italy,” he wrote On twitter.
The truth is her family relationships have marked many of the steps that Giorgia has taken during her life. His mother, Anna Paratore, and his sister continue to be very important people in his day to day life. The three lived in a moderately well-off area of Rome until the fire in her apartment forced them to move to the working-class neighborhood of Garbatella, where the young Giorgia came into contact with politics, to which she would dedicate her existence. . “My mother was able to start from scratch after the flames and I founded a party after the disappearance of the National Alliance in the smoke. I saw it done when I was four years old, why couldn’t I get it when I was 35?”, collects the autobiography .
Now 45 years old, heThe leader of this political formation is preparing to be prime minister after three decades of political life and a militancy that began knocking on the doors of the party founded by those nostalgic for Mussolini. In 1992, when he was fifteen years old, he joined the youth of the fascist Italian Social Movement party. And from this he made the leap to the National Alliance. In 2017 she was appointed president of the Brothers of Italy party, but it was not the first time she entered politics. In 2008, at the age of 31, she was appointed minister, becoming the youngest member of Silvio Berlusconi’s team.
Meloni, in barely a decade, has managed to get the Brothers of Italy –which was born from the ashes of the post-fascist Italian Social Movement and later the National Alliance– to go from 4% of votes to a 25% last Sunday. His ideas revolve around the rejection of immigration, the defense of the family, the sovereignty of his country and the defense of the homeland.