Shortly after midday on Monday, Ángel Carromero left a Madrid social rehabilitation center where the conditions of his partial freedom were decided. Carromero is required to sleep at the center from Monday to Thursday each week.
The 27-year-old politician was released from a Segovia prison last Friday after being sentenced to four years by a Cuban court for causing the deaths of noted dissidents Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero by dangerous driving on the island in July last year.
Carromero was granted permission to serve out his sentence in Spain and returned in December. Less than a month later he walked free from jail, having served a total of 160 days of his sentence. The reason he was granted partial release is that Carromero had a job waiting for him; his old job, as a technical advisor to local councilor Begoña Larráinzar in the Madrid neighborhood of Moratalaz.
Carromero, a leader of the New Generations youth wing of the governing Popular Party (PP), earns 50,000 euros a year in the post and has two assistants himself, despite having no degree. He has been affiliated with the PP since he was 23 years old.
The young Carromero did not grow up in financial straits. His mother owns a gymnasium in the capital’s upscale Salamanca neighborhood and a company that advertises beauty products. Carromero has an apartment in the upmarket Retiro area of the capital.
His political career was low-key until he ascended the ranks of New Generations in Madrid despite, according to PP sources, opposition from the circle of current regional premier Ignacio González.
Carromero belongs to a sector of the PP with modernist goals, bent on dispelling its traditional image of Barbour coats and sweaters draped over shoulders. This has led to contrasting opinions of the young politician. To his adversaries in the party he is “an unremarkable kid,” while to his acolytes he is an “enthusiastic” type, shy but not reserved and who never has a bad word for anyone.
He has also always had the support of Pablo Casado, a friend and mentor who has become a spokesman for the Carromero family. Casado is a deputy in Congress, a former leader of New Generations and, above all, the former right-hand man of ex-Prime Minister José María Aznar. Carromero needed to prove he had a job to go to; the party closed ranks. Former Madrid regional premier Esperanza Aguirre visited Carromero in jail.
“It’s a discretional appointment,” says Pedro Delgado, secretary general of the CCOO labor union in Madrid. That means that the party is not obliged to hold Carromero’s job open, nor is it able to sack him because of his conviction.
According to party sources, Carromero is a jack of all trades, with many functions but no single responsibility. “He picks at everything but doesn’t have a concrete job and spends most of the day walking around the corridors talking on his phone,” says a colleague.
This allows him to dedicate his time to party work; writing speeches, speaking to councilors and organizing events. Silent industry that Carromero had hoped would lead to a more prominent role. A goal perhaps cut short by his trip to Cuba.