Monday, July 15, 2013
While the weather has been heating up here in Spain, so has the political scene. The papers each day are filled with new revelations about the bribes and illegal payments made to the Partido Popular and the current prime minister, Mariano Rajoy. The PP won an overwhelming majority during the last election and, as I wrote some time ago, has proceeded to break every electoral promise that they made during the campaign. The have raised taxes, cut pensions, raised the sales tax, cut medical subsidies, as well as monies destined for education. It seems that moneyed interests have made major contributions and that money in turn was used to violate the lection laws regarding the amount of money that can be spent during a campaign and part of those monies have gone to party leaders under the table on a monthly basis.
The strategy that the PP has used since taking control of the government is that the need to not honor their promised was the sad state in which the opposition party had left the country. The truth is that the economic crisis here in Spain was caused by the banks that made bad loans during the housing bubble. In addition to lending monies to people who obviously would be unable to pay down on their mortgage, loans were made to construction companies that were either owned by members of political parties or were owned by companies that provided illegal funds to both certain individuals who were members of both parties.
At the same time, the PP has continued to deny that there have been any illegalities with regard to the funding of the party and under the table payments to party bigwigs. They have continually had to backtrack as new revelations make the news every day. Nobody knows nothing about nothing. Their denials have begun to sound like the all too familiar words of Sergeant Schultz of Hogan’s Heroes fame, “I know nothing!” The PP continues to proclaim that the recession is over and that prosperity is just around the corner, but other neutral agencies and the level of unemployment undermine those claims. Here is another take on the political situation here in Spain http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/13/world/europe/spains-real-crisis-is-a-leadership-void-analysts-say.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0
Last Thursday we were supposed to have a celebratory dinner with members of La Cuchara, but since several of them were unavailable that dinner has been postponed. Saturday’s excursion to Castellón that was to include visits to several wineries and a gin distillery was postponed also. After our meeting on Thursday we ended up at a bar/restaurant called Jomi that is located close to the port. It is a small space that, at most, would hold forty people and half of them would have to be anorexic. The specialty of the house is fish, both smoked and fresh. We had a little bit of both, as well as some tomatoes with tuna, and a serving of foie gras. After dinner, Paquito and I stopped by Gurrea’s place to take a look at his magic room that was filled from floor to ceiling with books, magazines and effects. He has an amazing collection.
Friday night we attended a dinner at Muvim, sponsored by the organization Accion Contra Hambre. There were about 125 people in attendance and between the no host bar and the charge for the meal the event had to be considered as a successful fund raiser.
The weekend was kind of quiet. Saturday we had lunch at Dukala, a restaurant that specializes in Moroccan food and yesterday we had brunch at The Ginger Loft. In addition to the Eggs Benedict they were also serving enchiladas and we opted for them, as well as some ceviche. We chose well. Afternoon and evenings were spent in air-conditioned comfort while we read and watched a bit of TV. Tonight we return to the Palau de Música for another jazz concert. It features Japanese pianist Hiromi and her trio. It should be fun.