sábado, 26 de enero de 2013


The headline of this post is not a rhetoric sentence but the feeling of more than 70% of Spanish people, according to the survey published by “El País” last week-end. The most recent Labour Force Survey (EPA, Spanish acronym) can largely explain this spread unrest.

In 2012, 850.000 jobs were destroyed. The unemployment rate reached 26’02% (+ 1% than the former quarterly) and the estimated number of unemployed people was 5.965.400. In fact those figures should be worse because 125.000 Spanish people (mostly highly qualified young people) and 87.000 immigrants have left the country. 57% of young people are unemployed and there are 1.800.000 homes which all of households are unemployed. According to forecasts unemployment will reach 27’5% in 2013. They are the worst indicators of the Spanish history.

Let’s take a look at how change unemployed people lives according to the research commissioned by the most important radio station (“Cadena SER”).  44% of unemployed people have moved to parents or friends homes (7% have lost their homes due to mortgage foreclosures). 10% have bought their car. 14% don’t eat fish or meat anymore and 5% is usual user of food banks. 70% don’t expect to find a job in the next 12 months.

With respect to health, 50% of unemployed people fell into a depression, 40% lose self-confidence or have sleep problems and 30% loose contact with their friends. One out of three unemployed is “energetic poor”, in other words, they can’t afford minimum heating levels at home or taking a hot shower once a week.

And last but not least, the political consequences of unemployment, poverty and hopeless: 66% of unemployed people have lost confidence in democracy and 70% in the European Union.

Both Spanish and European Union leaders seem to be obsessed with bond spreads, deficits or government debts and they don’t perceive the risks of unemployment and social exclusion. They despise several other indicators that show the increasing unrest of more and more people –lot of them ex-middle class- who shout in the Spanish streets “that’s not a crisis, that’s a fraud!” or in front of the Parliament “No, no, no, they don’t represent us!”  Or perhaps they are proud of allowing the biggest transfer of wealth and rights from workers to capital in the last century in Europe. In any case, impunity doesn’t last for ever.

Number of unemployed people and
unemployment rate

lunes, 7 de enero de 2013


January the 6th is the Three Wise Men Day, one of the most important Christmas events in Spain. First thing in the morning children –and adults- open their gifts left by the Wise Men near the windows during the night, where everybody put their shoes. On the eve, before going to bed, children prepare lettuce for the camels, liquors for the Wise Kings –to face the cold night- and sweets for their assistants.

In the afternoon of the 5th of January, Three Kings processions go through the streets of every city and every town in the country.  The Wise Men, throwing candies from their floats, are greeted by crowds of excited children.

In the previous days the children send their letters to the Wise Men, explaining their good behaviour throughout the year and describing the gifts they expect to receive. The letter is sine qua non condition to have presents on the 6th of January, perhaps the most magical day in the year.

After this prelude I’ll go to the core of this entry. Yesterday, January de 6th, “El Pais” published two cartoons (see below) linked to the letters sent to the Three Wise Men. I’d like recall that “El Pais” is centrist oriented newspaper and the two well known cartoonists over 65 years age each one. That means that we are not talking about young radical artists or underground magazines but about senior graphic humorists always committed with democracy and the best seller Spanish paper.

I am deeply convinced that both cartoons show the current mood of the most of Spanish citizens: sadness, frustration and indignation.

P.S. Today, 7th of January, governmental statistics show that after three years of decreasing consumption of goods (cars, household devices…) in 2012, for the first time, the level as well as the quality of food consumption dropped in Spain.

“Dear Wise Men: this year I want dynamite, hand-grenades and detonator cables…”

- “Remember the “good old days” when children asked for toys instead of jobs for their parents”
- "… and the responsibles remain strong…”