Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Covering their privates

In a moment where there is a very deep crisis like now, the economic news proliferate in all media with supersonic speed and we barely have the time to separate the grain from the straw. Besides, the majority of people ignores the tricky mechanisms over which the experts pontificate their studies, is easy that we feel fooled. In fact, it is difficult to understand how is possible that if numbers are the same to everybody, one party reads them exactly opposite than the other party. Two plus two are four, whether you are right or left, people think.

In this mess of number and percentages, common people do not, and cannot, understand, it is thanked the clear words heard a few weeks ago to the economist, and Professor at the University of Barcelona, Gonzalo Bernardos, during a debate at Carlos Fuente's "Catalunya Opina", Canal Català. More or less, Prof Bernardos said that to begin to readdress the actual situation, the authentic reality of the Spanish banking sector had to be faced. Spanish banks have closed the tap to credits, which drags us towards a cul-de-sac, why? We must, then, ask. In a solitary sentence by Prof Bernardos, it is summarized; he affirms that in 2007 there were banks that had 85% of their credit conceded to the estate sector. Not long after, it has come the big downturn of this sector, and consequently, a few weeks ago, the President of the Superior Council of Chambers of Commerce, Javier Gomez Navarro, said that the estate companies in Spain owe a total of €350B, from which half are loans to buy land. Very good. In that respect, the very Prof Bernardos manifests that banks are doing "creative accountancy" to make up the fact that a lot of those plots of land that they financed are not worth, now, a 10%. All together, there is no need to have studied economics to preview that the banking sector in Spain is about to explode.

However, it has not been unique to Spain. He have all seen as the American and German governments have faced the situation and have tried to solve this cancer that was -maybe still is- rotting their financial structures. I shall not value whether they have done well or not but certainly, have made public the insides of the responsible of this chaos that has affected a great number of the companies and families. Contrarily, the internal situation of the Spanish and Catalan banks continues to be as impenetrable as the Mystery of the Holy Trinity. Why are so untouchable the figures of Botins and Forneses, when everybody guess that hide more sins than Barabbas?

I do not believe that the answer to this question is alien to an information appeared more or less a month ago, where it said that Banco de Santander accumulated debt from PSOE -Socialist Party of Spain- worth €30M. On the other side, "la Caixa" made the same with PSC -Socialist Party of Catalonia- but with a more modest figure, only €7.2M. When we see the generosity of these institutions towards who represent us, can start imagining why the governments look at the other side. How can they ask for responsibilities to whom saves them from bankruptcy? We are in front of one alliance politico-financier that invalidates any sign of authentic democracy. Who pays, rules. And PSOE and PSC are not exceptions. Their viability as political parties depends exclusively from a General Council to which they had to concede privileges to be able to finance and not having to close for administration. Do not come now with tales like popular sovereignty or similar things, because who really rule are a bunch of people with offices at the highest floors of the most emblematic buildings in Madrid and Barcelona. Talking about democracy, when the elected government are puppets in the hands of bankers who give or forgive debts when they want, is wanting to take us for granted and an insult to the intelligence of the voter. A partitocracy in the hands of a banking oligarchy is not a symptom of progress. It is a clear political and moral degradation. Does anybody like to keep voting Botin's butlers?

Santiago Espot
CEO Catalunya Acció

Article published at "El Punt", on March 29th 2010

The misery of being a colony

Torre elèctricaThere has not been three years since the power cut that affected Barcelona in summer 2007. Then, the interruption of power supply lasted for three days and it evidenced the actual mistreatment to that Catalonia is object, not only from Spain but from the private companies managed from Spain. In that occasion, a wave of anger and protest was started on the digital media and blogosphere. Now, only a snow storm is enough to knock down electric posts in Girona and leave a big part of the North of the country in the dark for more than a week. On the third night, Vicent Partal qualified it as Intolerable. What must be it when the time doubled?

The prejudice and the consequences are already more important than the ones suffered in Barcelona, and they go beyond the economical loss -said to be millions. A hundred people have been intoxicated by the fumes of generators and at least one has died due to that. The reaction, however, from the media and the blogosphere, has been notably minor. Is it because there is tiredness and resignation, or is it because the main affected is not Barcelona but the region of Girona?

To see how thousands and thousands of people have to spend their days and nights without electricity and below zero temperatures, due to lack of maintenance of the towers for many years by Endesa and REE, results with a pathetic image, more seen in a Third World country than a developed one, and that not long ago saw itself as an European economical motor. Colonist politicians have tried to centre the debate in the need for Very High Tension line (MAT, in Catalan) which only pretends to play in the interests of those companies and evade their responsibilities in no guaranteeing the maintenance of those infrastructures giving public services managed from Spain and divert the public's attention from the real problems of the people. Only direct information from citizens who see this situation from the spot allows us to have an approximate idea of the reality; experiences from elderly or infants being cold, fishermen emptying the petrol tanks of their ships to feed the emergency generators of the Hospital in Palamos, isolated families without enough food or water, people looking for a hotel or asking other relatives for somewhere to sleep or take a shower. The numbers of the thousands of consumers without electricity are watered down because always hide that with every consumer, more people from the family, from the firm, the hospital or school are affected.

In the reports by VilawebTV "Apagats" -"Switched off"- and "Passen les hores i no torna la llum" -"Hours go by and the power is not back"-, we can see the adventures that people have to imagine to carry on without electricity. On Facebook, the affected have set up a group, where the indignation for the abandonment to which these people are subject is very noticeable.

Economic plunder and the colonial condition of our Nation is manifested with all cruelty in emergency situations like this, but is a permanent practice more or less disguised. Because there is no difference in mentality between a public or private manager when there is a Spaniard in front of a Catalan consumer: the latter must pay or vote, and keep their mouth shut. It does not matter whether from the public powers or the private companies, the asphyxia to our economy and our decision capacity is an identity symbol. Spain grows and Catalonia sinks, while we allow this with our work and the taxes we pay. The incompatibility of wanting to live in Catalonia decently and defending dependency is progressively increasing.

All this is another symptom of the severe decadence to which Spain is leading us, fully consciously and premeditated if we do not act urgently. The solution, as pointed by Enric Canela in his weekly article on Deumil.cat, has to be rebellion. A democratic rebellion that has already begun and that has more people reacting by adding themselves to the cause of recovering the freedom for Catalonia.

Published at "Es Poblat de'n