Spain from afar

When you live abroad you feel like looking into a fish tank each time the news on Spain appear on television and people who don’t understand the reality that your family or so many others are facing each day.

Donostia

Your parents, and their post-dictatorship generation, who have worked so hard for such a long time, who made sure that you and your generation received the best possible education to make a better life for yourself, are now having to accept that their hard earned pension is no longer for them to live a slower paced life but to continue to sustain the failed economy.

This new grandparents generation acts as childminders, cooks and in some cases hosts to many young families which would simply cease to exist without this arrangement being in place. In truth, not so many dare to have children and those who do, are making the decision to keep within the safety limit of… one! (I do wonder who will pay the taxes for their parents to survive in their future retirement)

At the same time, the government threatens to cut the pension supply to the elderly, the real economy supporters without whom the social massacre would be even more dramatic. Going back to my fish tank analogy, a clear lack of understanding of the internal balance from those looking from Europe. This, I’d imagine that due to the limited exposure to the realities of the country caused by a careful reporting exercise.

In parallel to this, and more worryingly, the country still has a complex bureaucratic system that does not facilitate for people to earn their own living without breaking all sort of rules. The dependence on the estate is such that it limits any room to manoeuvre to minimum levels and some may need to consider that dramatic changes are required to enable basic surviving.

A few months ago I heard a podcast on unintentional consequences which made me think about how so called “good ideas” are often the sparks to major fires . Spain is full of mechanisms to control all sort of processes that stop people from becoming independent yet have served little purpose to avoid the major crisis the country is in.

The abuse of unsustainable development offered to foreign investors and the easy money made by banks through uncontrolled supply of overpriced mortgages, followed by doubtful repossessions/ resale processes and bailing out with public money VS the complexity that entrepreneurs and individuals have to face in trying to generate employment and the struggle that public services have to endeavour in order to supply basic services.

I am saddened by it all, especially by the fact that I strongly feel that hard working people deserve better than that. Parents deserve a chance to pull their family forward without having to jump over endless hoops or depend on grandparents. And grandparents deserve to be able to slow down!

In a democratic process, a government has the obligation to represent the majority, despite which party they come from, Even in Spain, but too often forget.

Photography by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate

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