July 21, 1936, Mari Ginestà, 17, a member of the Juventudes Comunistas (Iberian Communist Youth), stands armed on the roof of the Colón hotel in Barcelona mere days into the Spanish revolution against Franco’s military coup.
The picture was taken by Juan Guzman (who was born Hans Gutmann in Germany before going to Spain where he photographed the International Brigades).
People battled with eggs and flour in the traditional ‘Els Enfarinats’ battle at Ibi in Alicante, eastern Spain, Friday. Every year on Dec. 28, a day when Spaniards traditionally play pranks, a group known as the Enfarinats have taken over the ‘civil power’ in the town. European Pressphoto Agency
Health workers march against austerity measures in Madrid December 16, 2012. Thousands of Spanish health workers, patients and supporters on Sunday held a ‘white tide’ protest against budget cuts they say will affect the quality of health care. The placard (C) reads, ” Dangerous party “, in reference to Spain’s center-right People’s Party (PP). REUTERS/Juan Medina
Spain’s government rejected an offer of talks from armed Basque separatists ETA and demanded the group dissolve itself without conditions, after ETA called for negotiations on prisoners and a weapons handover.
Spain’s conservative prime minister and the leader of the opposition aim to agree measures on Monday to stop banks evicting homeowners after a woman’s suicide before her property was repossessed caused public outrage.
“No one should be without a home for not being able to pay,” Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, leader of the opposition Socialist Party said on Saturday.
Northern Spanish mortgage lender Kutxabank said it was suspending repossessions after 53-year-old former Socialist councillor Amaia Egana threw herself out of her fourth-storey apartment window in Barakaldo in the Basque Country as court officials came up the stairs to evict her on Friday.
Egana’s death, the second eviction-related suicide in Spain in recent weeks, added urgency to an agreement reached on Wednesday between the ruling conservative People’s Party and the Socialists to seek a bipartisan deal over repossessions.
Graffiti accusing bankers of murder and calling for an end to evictions appeared on some bank branches in the Basque Country on Saturday, Spanish media reported.
“We are living through things that no one likes to see, situations that are competely inhumane,” Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told a political meeting hours after Egana’s death. “I hope that on Monday we’ll be able to talk about a temporary suspension of evictions for the most vulnerable families.”
One measure would be to grant grace periods, Spanish media reported. Rajoy said the rules would not be retroactive, while Rubalcaba called for previous evictions to be included.
There have been nearly 400,000 evictions in Spain since a property bubble burst in 2008. Unemployment hit 25 percent in the third quarter, a record high and the European Commission expects the economy to contract 1.4 percent this year and next as the second recession since the end of 2009 drags on.
Last week, European Union Advocate General Juliane Kokott issued a non-binding report concluding that Spanish legislation on evictions contradicts European norms for protecting consumer rights. Europe’s highest court will now have to deliver an opinion.
Jose Miguel Domingo, a newsstand owner in Granada, in southern Spain, hung himself on October 25, before he was due to lose his home, local media reported.
The same week an unemployed man in Burjassot, a town in the eastern region of Valencia, threw himself off a balcony on the day his family was to be evicted from their apartment. Reports said the man survived the fall.
The shadow of a protester is cast near drawings inspired from Pablo Picasso’s painting Guernica, outside Madrid’s Princesa hospital during a demonstration against the local government’s plans to cut spending on public healthcare November 6, 2012. The region of Madrid will now join Catalonia by charging one euro for prescriptions, along with other cash-saving measures that including the outsourcing of non-health-related hospital services and the health services of six recently-built clinics . The signs read (L-R): “Princesa Hospital is going to get dismantled to become a geriatric”, “Non-health related hospital services of 36 public hospitals will be privatized”, “Public healthcare is sacrificed to save banks and transfer money to private healthcare”, “The six new hospitals and 10% of all health centers will be privatized” and “From now on healthcare stops being a universal right”. REUTERS/Susana Vera
Spanish migrant Olmo del Paso (L) and his girlfriend Marta Perez sit outside Madrid’s Barajas airport October 23, 2012. Del Paso is a cameraman who left Spain for Uruguay this month after being jobless for over two years and being forced to move back into his mother’s house in the small northern town of Palencia. When a hotel in Montevideo, Uruguay, offered him a job as caretaker over the summer months, the 34-year-old bought a one-way ticket and packed his bags. After joining the euro in 1999, Spain’s economic boom made it the land of opportunity for millions of Latin American migrant workers. But since the decade-long boom turned to bust roughly four years ago, many of those immigrants have returned, joined by a growing number of disillusioned Spaniards who hope that Latin America, with its developing economies and low cost of living, has more to offer. REUTERS/Juan Medina
A hooded demonstrator pushes mannequins over in a Zara store during an anti-capitalism protest in Barcelona October 31, 2012. REUTERS/Albert Gea
- Spanish unemployment has reached a record 25 per cent. That is 5.8 million people out of work
- Spain’s unemployment rate is at its highest since 1976
- Before the financial crisis began, Greece had the lowest suicide rates in Europe. But the Greek health ministry says that the number of people taking their own lives rose by 40 per cent in the first half of 2011
- According to Eurostat the average unemployment rate in the EU is 11.4 per cent
- Spain’s government is under pressure to seek financial help from lenders
- Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister, is trying to cut the government’s large budget deficit
- Spain’s budget deficit is around 9.4 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product
- Rating agency Standard & Poor’s ranks Spain just above ‘junk’
The number of people out of work in Spain has hit a record high as Europe struggles to contain its debt crisis.
New figures show that one-in-four Spanish workers are now without a job. Only Greece has a higher unemployment rate in the European Union (EU).
But as austerity measures bite, there is growing concern that the cuts are taking a more worrying toll. Health groups say there has been a sharp rise in mental health problems at the same time that welfare services are being cut back.
And the Red Cross says a growing number of Europeans are now relying on food aid.
Al Jazeera’s Jonah Hull visited a charity-run soup kitchen in a hard-hit suburb of Madrid where hunger is a very real symptom of Spain’s economic crisis.
“Not long ago mainly poor immigrants sat down to lunch at these tables. Now an equal number of Spaniards does as well,” he says.
“Spain’s new poor have grown so much and so rapidly that the Red Cross now estimates that 2.3 million people are ‘extremely vulnerable’. An annual appeal by the Spanish Red Cross, normally devoted to disaster victims far away, is for the first time focused on Spain itself.”
Carlos Capataz, a Red Cross spokesman, says: “What Spain is living through now of course can’t be compared to the aftermath of an earthquake or a flood. But it is also true that the Spanish Red Cross has never had to help so many people with such basic needs and over such a long period. This has forced us to make an appeal to Spanish citizens for support so that we can meet those needs.”
So, with rates of depression and suicide on the rise, what is the social impact and the human cost of austerity?
“I felt terrible. What can one feel to see so many bodies? People under the rubble and we can’t do anything about it. No one is supporting us and no...”
“Here is the truth: It is hard to be in love with someone who is in love with someone else.
I don’t know how to turn that into poetry.”
“I got over needing to know you.”— Yelling to the Sky