Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Opposition and the Labour Party in the U.K., is hoping his party pulls off an upset in the general election on June 8 so he can unseat Prime Minister Theresa May. Corbyn is married to his third wife, Laura Alvarez, who is 20 years younger than him and was born in Mexico.
The 68-year-old Corbyn has been a Member of Parliament for Islington North since 1983. In 2015, he became the leader of the Labour Party and the leader of the Opposition. The current party in power is May’s Conservative Party (also known as the Tories).
Corbyn was previously married to Jane Chapman (1974-1979) and Cluadia Bracchitta (1987-1999). He married the 48-year-old Alvarez in 2013. He has three sons, all from his second marriage.
Here’s what you need to know about Alvarez.
1. Alvarez Was a Human Rights Lawyer in Mexico
Corbyn has had a long interest inn Latin America, leading the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mexico. He is also vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Latin America and vice-chair of the AAPG on Human Rights.
Alvarez and Corbyn met a short time after Corbyn’s second divorce. At the time, she worked as a human rights lawyer in Mexico, notes the Telegraph. She moved to London full-time in 2011 and they married a year later in Mexico, notes The Mirror.
Alvarez rarely does interviews, but she did once appear in a 2016 Vice News documentary about her husband. In the film, she says Corbyn is “not very good at house work, but he is a good politician.”
2. She Runs Cafe Mam, a Coffee Bean Exporter, Which Was Accused of Treating Workers Poorly
Today, Alvarez focuses on her coffee bean exporting business, Cafe Mam. The business sells coffee from Chiapas, Mexico and is “100 percent organically grown.”
In 2015, The Daily Mail published an expose of the company, claiming that it was paying Mexican farmers less than the Mexican minimum wage. The Mail reported that workers are paid just 93p for every 500g bag made. The bags are then sold for £10.
The Mail also reported that it discovered workers’ families living in tiny shacks and often stayed overnight in factories to make sure their equipment wasn’t stolen.
“Miss Alvarez is shocked to learn of The Mail on Sunday’s revelations. She has supported Café Mam in good faith and with due diligence and has accepted their Fair Trade certification. She has wanted to help people in her home country who are in desperate need,” a spokesperson for Alvarez told the Daily Mail.
3. They Met While Corbyn Was Helping Her Find Her Abducted Niece
In 2015, The Mirror reported that a bizarre set of circumstances brought Alvarez and Corbyn together. They met during a four-year search for her abducted niece, Jasmin.
Alzarez’s older sister, Marcela, told the Daily Mail that she introduced them in 1999, when Laura went to the U.K. Marcela’s estranged husband, Eguardo, fled the U.K. with Jasmin after a custody battle. The late MP Tony Benn introduced Corbyn to Marcela, who then introduced him to her sister during a fundraiser.
Corbyn then had the West Sussex Police investigate Jasmin’s disappearance and she was found in the U.S. in 2003.
After the case was closed, Corbyn and Alvarez had a long-distance relationship, since she went back to Mexico City. She moved to the U.K. in 2011 and they married in 2012.
4. Corbyn Has Refused to Let Journalists Ask Alvarez Questions During the Campaign
During the general election campaign, Alvarez has been out of the spotlight. Ever since he became Opposition Leader in 2015, Corbyn has insisted that his private life stay private.
For example, The Standard reported on May 30 that Corbyn refused to have Alvarez join him on the BBC’s The One Show. While Philip John May joined Theresa May on the show, Alvarez wasn’t by her husband’s side.
“I say to journalists: attack public political figures, that’s OK, that’s what politics is about. But please don’t attack people who didn’t ask to be put in the limelight,” Corbyn said in 2015, notes the U.K. Independent. “Leave them alone. Leave them alone in all circumstances.”
5. Her Hairdresser Describes Alvarez as a ‘Lovely Woman’ & ‘a Family Woman’
Since Alvarez, the youngest of five children, doesn’t do many interviews herself, other people shoe knows are often left to talk about her. In a Daily Mail profile, hairdresser Costas Papadopoulos described her as a “lovely woman,” adding, “She is a family woman and I am very happy about her. She is a strong woman and supports him fully.”
Corbyn’s bother, Piers, told the Mail, “She is committed to the cause and is active.”
The couple married at a Hacienda Panoaya, a 400-year-old estate that has its own chapel. None of his family members were at the ceremony and only one of his friends attended, the Mail reported.
“The wedding was a very small and private affair,” Gil Velasquez, a family friend, told the Mail. “Her parents and brothers were there and a few close friends. It was a beautiful setting and very romantic.”
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