Thursday, December 27, 2012

A sad tale to be told

San Miguel de Salinas featured heavily in a Newsnight documentary shown recently on the BBC about the economic crisis in Spain. Apparently, almost half the programme was made in the nearby town to Bigastro.

In the documentary, Spanish residents like Loli and Emilio testify to the effects that the crisis has had upon them. She is unemployed and he worked in construction for months without pay for fear of being sacked. Their daughter has had to give up on her training because the family cannot afford the fees and the grandparents provide food for the table from their garden.

Another resident, Beatriz explains that they rely on donations from the foreign community in the town for food because after they have paid for rent, electricity and water there is no money left. She goes on to say that they even water down milk to make it last longer.

The film goes on to show streets filled with unemployed youth, bars that are empty of customers and people begging in the streets. The film showed sports facilities are unused because nobody can afford the fees and new developments around the town that now stand empty or unfinished. One man said that he ate beef several times a week and now has to ration himself to once per month.

The film highlights some of the causes, the wasted money on projects like the airport at Castellón and Formula 1 racing in Valencia. It talked of the way that the savings banks freely gave loans and mortgages in the good times encouraging people to spend beyond their means. Now, of course, the banks have no money to lend and lie drowned under toxic debt.  

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