What an earth is going on in America? How can the racism there be so endemic, so institutionalised?
A man strangled slowly by three policemen in front of people and cameras both.
We hear of the story of the black man who must always take his walk with his daughter in the nice neighbourhood where he lives, not so he can protect her, but so that she can protect him. We see the black child who carries the sign that asks ‘When will you stop thinking of me as ‘cute’ and start thinking of me as ‘a threat’?’ I hear this week of a black man who wanted to buy a car off my friend in Texas but was frightened to drive it without having the car-papers in his name. We’ve all heard the quote of ‘driving while black’.
Minorities: blacks, coloureds, homosexuals, Jews, Muslims and women (together, that’s way over half the population), walking the street much of the time in fear. Fear of the white-man, the black-man, the predator, the rapist, the knife-man. The police-man.
To paraphrase Chris Rock, there are certain professions where you can’t have bad apples. Airplane pilots for one. The police for another.
Here’s Arnold Schwarzenegger in a brief 2017 video called ‘Let’s terminate hate’ (it was made following the the Charlottsville riots wiki). He says ‘the only way to beat the loud angry voices of hate is to meet them with louder, more reasonable voices’.
Now Mr Trump wants martial law, terrorist charges against all and sundry: a ‘you loot, we shoot’ mentality that only widens still further the divide. How on earth can such a modern country be so archaic in its race-relations? Is it right to blame Trump for this situation? Forbes says that ‘Most Americans Think Trump Is Racist, Poll Finds’. El Periodico reports that ‘Trump entrenches himself impassively in the White House as the US burns’. Now the president has declared the mythical ‘Antifa’ (here) to be a domestic terrorist organisation.
Well, maybe that’s what you get when you chose populists over politicians.
Manuel Castells, the University Minister, said on Canal Sur that ‘It is a human drama, because the murder was carried out in the sight of everyone’.
And in Spain, as we look aghast at the casual American racism, there are those who watch what Trump does and find it good. From the official Twitter account of Vox here: ‘Our support for Trump and the Americans who are seeing their Nation attacked by street terrorists sheltered by progressive millionaires. #SpainSupportsTrump’.
It’s a trifle odd that Vox supports law and order in the USA, yet believes in promoting anti-government demonstrations in Spain (here).
‘Vox stokes racism’ says El Nacional here, concerned about the new ‘minimum basic income’ and that only the right sort of people should receive it. ‘Podemos supports the Antifa’, says Vox’s spokesperson Iván Espinosa de los Monteros in his daily idiocy. ‘We have terrorists here too’, says Santiago Abascal, echoing his lieutenant, ‘they’re in the government’. Iglesias is ‘the son of a terrorist’ says the spokesperson for the PP Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo in parliament with no basis beyond a discredited story from a Vox MEP which cost him 17,000€ in a fine for libel in 2017.
As a bruised Rodney King once asked, ‘Can’t we all just get along?’
‘From the Banco de Santander's Financial City in Boadilla to the San Juan reservoir in southern Madrid: the British brothers David and Simon Reuben, billionaire owners of Reuben Brothers (wiki), have set their eyes and part of their money on this area of the community with the intention of promoting a giant urban development. The first step is already taken, after the acquisition of some 250 hectares in the municipality of San Martín de Valdeiglesias, where they intend to build 650 homes and a hotel of 7,350 square meters…
El Mundo has the lowdown here.
Idealista quotes the president of Re/Max in Spain as saying that the cost of real-estate is liable to fall this year by 10 to 20%. From Reuters, we read that ‘Big investors sniff bargains in tottering Spanish property market’. The article begins ‘The coronavirus crisis has halted a stellar recovery in Spain’s property market and left most sellers floundering, but major investors have stayed active and poised themselves to take advantage of faltering prices…’.
As property laws are eased in Andalucía, a comment from an anonymous BoT reader: ‘I wonder if the Vulture funds such as BlackRock are pushing for these laws, now that they are probably sitting on a lot of otherwise useless land or controlling that via the Spanish banks in which BlackRock in particular is now a significant stakeholder…’.
‘British expats with dream houses built on illegal land may finally be released from property limbo in Andalucía but not if environmental groups have their way’ says The Olive Press here.
Aethicus is a law firm specialized in real estate advice to both individuals and companies in all matters related to property and construction law, and legal advice to those who wish to come to Spain to live or invest. The team members have more than 80 years of professional experience. They are here. Email here: [email protected]
‘The Government will approve in the first fortnight of June a plan to reactivate the tourism sector and its associated attractions (for example, restaurants, hotels and tourism activities), which will include, as a starting point, various measures that promote national tourism.
According to the information to which the Cadena SER has had access, in total, this plan contemplates allocating public credits (ICO) amounting to some 2,500 million euros for the tourism sector to guarantee the financing and liquidity of the companies, plus a further 151 million euros in direct investment…’.
From the always gloomy Wolf Report here: ‘In April, for the first time since records began, no — meaning officially “zero” — foreign tourists arrived in Spain, and foreign tourists spent “zero” in Spain, the world’s second most visited country in 2019, as its borders were essentially closed to foreign visitors for the duration of the month, according to new figures published by the country’s Institute of National Statistics (INE)…’.
‘Foreign tourists will have temperatures taken upon arrival into Spain, it has been confirmed. From July 1, anyone arriving from outside the country will also be checked for any symptoms of Covid-19 in a bid to prevent a second wave being imported from abroad. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the government is also considering testing each passenger to make sure they don’t have the virus…’ Item from The Olive Press here. There is some question as to whether British tourists will be allowed to Spain, as the infection rate remaining disconcertingly high in the UK. From BBC News here: ‘Spain's tourism minister has cast doubt on the prospect of an early return by UK holidaymakers to Spanish beaches. María Reyes Maroto said British coronavirus figures "still have to improve" before Spain could receive tourists from the UK…’. *As with anything to do with the coronavirus, rules, phases, permissions and so on change on a regular basis in reaction to the experts’ advice and the stats available.
Parador Hotels will reopen across Spain on June 25th says The Olive Press here.
Some resorts are restricting the hours or numbers of beach-goers. Mojácar (Almería) says that, on the contrary, ‘…we will not restrict the hours of the beaches, or arrange subdivision or segmentation in the sand, since the Civil Protection and Local Police personnel will be in charge of this task….’. The story is at Europa Press here.
‘The Government approves the minimum vital income of at least 461 euros for 850,000 families at risk of poverty’, the story is at eldiario.es here. This is exciting news for Spain but is quite normal for the rest of Europe. To offset criticism or worries of boatloads of freeloaders arriving on the Spanish shores, El Economista notes that ‘Penalties for fraudulent claims for the minimum income include the obligation to repay any falsely claimed aid and the prohibition to ask again for a period of up to five years’. Also, you’ll need at least one year’s residencia in Spain, adds Maldito. The PSOE wants to guarantee the future of the minimum vital income by putting it into the Spanish Constitution says Público here. The government hopes to bring some 400,000 children out of abject poverty with this income.
We see regular articles of how wealthy are Spain’s richest, or how much they’ve made in the last couple of months (‘Spain top 23 wealthiest have improved their fortunes in the last ten weeks by 16%’)… here’s one on how much they cost the average Spaniard with their creative tax structures and offshore accounts (it works out at 2,000€ per person).
‘Employment grows again in May after the grave impact of the coronavirus with an increase of 187,814 workers’ says eldiario.es here.
‘Nissan and Alcoa close two of their plants in Spain having received in the past 1,200 million euros in public aid. Nissan represents 1.3% of the GDP of Catalonia and 2.3% of industrial employment, while the closing of Alcoa (Lugo) may mean the death of the region in which it is located’. Público has the story here.
The final extension of the State of Alarm has been signed, with the support of Ciudadanos, bringing us to June 21st. Ciudadanos agreed their support in exchange for fresh financial initiatives for Spain and the opening up of the tourist industry. La Vanguardia reports here.
The Opposition’s target-of-the-month is the Minister for the Interior Fernando Grande-Marlaska, who fired a Guardia Civil colonel a couple of weeks back for leading an improper investigation into the Government’s handling of the women’s’ protests of March 8th. Can they succeed? The Government says ‘no’. The story here.
The accusation by the spokesperson for the PP that ‘Pablo Iglesias’ father was a terrorist’ has received the approval of José María Aznar and his FAES foundation. ‘She has the right to speak the truth’, he said. El Español reports here. From The Olive Press here: ‘The insults levelled at vice-president Pablo Iglesias’ father shame Spanish politics’. Ada Colao (Mayor of Barcelona) says in an interview with eldiario.es here ‘The opposition of harassment and demolition that the right is doing is shameful". Between one thing and another, there must be hundreds of thousands of people who were ‘anti-Franco’ in the past.
This stuff just writes itself… The Vox leader Santiago Abascal reckons that Podemos should be included on 'Trump’s terrorist list'. Ho ho.
From the ABC here: ‘A letter to President Sánchez from a high official of the European Commission: «Resign now, Mr. President». The deputy director general for Competition and Monopoly Cecilio Madero Villarejo, in a letter published by the ABC, considers that the government's management "is going to bequeath a very serious economic crisis to Spanish citizens and future generations". It says ‘Sr. Sánchez, yours goes beyond political opportunism, lack of personal seriousness and professional incompetence. Sometimes I think, observing you, that you must suffer from some kind of mental alienation, which would partly explain your actions and the absolute catastrophe in which you are plunging the country. I want to think that this is the case because, if not, if your action responds to a conscious and pre-established plan, then your place in government puts you directly in the orbit of Criminal Law. Sr. Sánchez, you cannot continue as President of the Government for one more day, let alone keep Pablo Iglesias in your bosom…’ And so on… The author of the letter ‘…has since clarified that he wrote the letter in his personal capacity, decoupling it from his position within the European Commission. However, this attitude collides with the diplomacy and impartiality that is demanded of European officials in public…’ says Público here, adding that Madero Villarejo’s letter is now under consideration by the EC.
Who would take the place of Pedro Sánchez and his government? The PP want a 'Government of National Unity’ made up of the survivors from the PSOE (José Bono and Susanita Díaz maybe...), plus the PP plus Vox. In short, the country to be run by the far-right. I hope not. What has this government done so far (against terrific opposition and with the pandemic slap in the middle of the fruit punch)? They raised the minimum wage to 950 euros; they reformed the labour laws so that people are not fired due to medical losses; they created the ERTEs to protect companies and workers; for the first time in history they've helped the self-employed (!); then there's the prohibition of evictions and cuts in basic services during this pandemic and for six months after, and the creation of the minimum vital income so that no Spanish family is left out of all kinds of aid. Not so shabby in under five months. Lenox Dixit
Bon mots: Pablo Iglesias to Ivan Espinosa de los Monteros (May 28th): "You would like to carry out a coup, but you don't dare." After that, the Nº 3 leader of Vox stormed out of the commission and the vice president dismissed him with a "don’t forget to close the door on your way out". Spanish Revolution obligingly lists here ‘The times that Vox has asked the armed forces to carry out a coup’. Iglesias later said that ‘I may have spoken the truth, but I was wrong to make the comment’.
Paxti López, chairperson in the commission for reconstruction, commenting on the insults traded above, says of the commission ‘If there’s one place where we could demonstrate that politics should be useful, it’s here, it’s here! I mean, if we can’t achieve anything here, we might as well give up’. Antena3 reports here.
From Yahoo Finance here, ‘Nearly two thirds of Brits living abroad have vowed never to permanently move back to the UK, a new survey has revealed’. The poll was directed at expat workers rather than ordinary retired Britons, but may not be far off the mark.
A map of cases of coronavirus by municipality with El Mundo here.
Some ‘Anonymous’ creatures have broken into sensitive files regarding the paedophile Jeffrey Epstein (who died recently in mysterious circumstances while in a New York police cell) and have published his alleged list of friends. An important Spanish businessman has been mentioned in the sweep, says VozPópuli here.
The New York Times (en español) has an article about Vox which it describes as a virus. It says '...Vox bets on the cleansing fire. It never talks of building anything: first destroy, it says, then establish. It is a most undemocratic virus. Vox does not seek to improve on Sánchez's obligations; but rather to blindly attack his government until it falls, and then to return to the days of class privileges. Business as usual. A man waving a flag from the back seat of his chauffeur-driven convertible.
Spain does not need maverick preachers during a health crisis that requires us to work together. Now is a time to gather ideas, creativity and solidarity. The Partido Popular would do well to distance itself from Vox and its provocations. When there's fire, the goal is to help put it out, not to add fuel just to watch everything burn…'.
In the best political tradition of the old ‘…y tú más’ (Oh yeah? And what about your guys?), The ABC has run not one but two articles claiming that if there’s a coup d’état, then it’ll come from Pablo Iglesias here and here.
Opinion at La Vanguardia here: ‘Congress this week offered new samples of the political class's ability to turn every parliamentary session into a spectacle. The verbal aggressiveness between the Government and the opposition, in the plenary session last Wednesday 27 May and in the reconstruction commission on Thursday, dynamited any attempt at serious debate on the main issue on the agenda: Covid-19. The dangers have long been warned. Under the crossroads of disqualifications and occurrences, Spaniards see the undisguised battle for power and the control over public opinion. From poll after poll, the level of trust in politicians is below minimum…’. But, as one political observer from the University of Barcelona puts it (same article), ‘politics is not like football; with goals scored against the other side in the Cortes. And we, the citizens, shouldn’t be behaving like fans as ‘our team’ scores an insult on the other side or be shouting simplistic slogans and wearing our party-colours: a game that even the media has joined with enthusiasm…’.
The Olive Press justifiably turns on a competitor here.
‘Spain planning to raise €724 million with new plastic-packaging tax. The Cabinet approves draft legislation that also bans single-use items’. The story is from El País in English here.
Now Le Monde is attacking the old king as being ‘devoured by his passion for money’ says Radio Cable here.
‘More than 15 years after its inception, Peter Eisenman’s hulking cultural complex Ciudad da Cultura de Galicia (City of Culture of Galicia) sits incomplete and empty. Commissioned to the American architect after an international competition hosted by the Parliament of Galicia, the cultural centre presented an ambitious feat of construction on the slopes of Mount Gaiás. However, construction of the six-building complex endured during the 2008 Spanish recession, and as costs for the building’s materials and construction continued to rise, the project became a crippling burden on the regional government of Galicia. Furthermore, the €475.9 million project, containing a museum, library, archive facility, arts centre and performing arts centre, came to be regarded as a symbol of excess and vanity during strained economic times. Considered a “white elephant” by the government and the people of Galicia, construction of the project was halted in 2013…’. From Architizer here.
‘The Minister of Culture, José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes, this Friday included bullfighting in aid to the cultural sector due to the pandemic. He will therefore form part of "the Crea fund", a credit line of 40 million to "dedicated companies to the fine arts”, collected in the Royal Decree Law 17/20…’. A report from La Vanguardia is here.
‘The Canary Islands’ subtropical climate, aquamarine waters and otherworldly volcanic and desert landscapes led more than 15 million people to visit the archipelago last year. The islands are considered the southernmost region of Spain, with their easternmost point located just 100km west of Morocco. But long before the first Spanish settlers arrived to the islands in the 1470s, another civilisation was already thriving there: the Guanches…’. From BBC Travel here.
The Fundación Princesa de Asturias de la Concordia 2020 prize has been awarded to Spain’s health workers. Our thanks and our love goes to them. Now we must be sure to be careful because the health workers are tired. They don't need a repeat performance. The story is here.
Which is the bigger beer glass? Video.
‘Fifty provinces, fifty natural marvels’: a photo-piece from Traveler here.
From Tourismaniac here: ‘The seventeen natural wonders of Andalucía’.
Spanish Rock Urbano from the nineties at Jotdown here. Ten tracks with video.