Saturday, September 22, 2012

Meanwhile In Spain

First the bad news - pharmacies in Spain are running out of essential drugs putting lives at risk
The sign on the wall tells the story. "Important information. The government of Valencia owe this pharmacy for all the medicine we have dispensed to you in January, February, March, April and May". And not just this pharmacy. The government of Valencia - which runs the health system - owes a grand total of half a billion euros to the region's pharmacies.

Paula guides me into that back room that exists in all pharmacies, where the prescription drugs are kept. The problem is, now, there are not many drugs left. "Look, this drawer is usually full," she says, pointing to where the suppositories are kept. Now there are only two packets." She opens the fridge. "Look," she says, "we are down to our last packs of insulin. We just have no money to buy the stock."

I ask: "What happens if several people come in on the same day for insulin?" She makes two fingers walk along the back of her wrist. "They have to go around the neighbourhood to see if anybody else has it. It is the same with drugs for heart disease, stroke, anti-retrovirals."
Where did the money go?
Journalists sacked when a local paper closed have taken to doing "citizen journalism" - which today means organising a coach trip around all the various projects Valencia built in the good times.

There is the Formula One racetrack, which runs right through the city so the roads had to be redesigned. But the city has lost its Formula One race. There is the America's Cup dock, with huge sheds for ocean-going yachts and a massive white control tower. But there is no more America's Cup racing in Valencia. There is the Opera House, a cross between the one in Sydney and something you would imagine only in your more disturbed dreams - 400 million euros to build, 40 million a year to run - 15 performances a year. 
Valencia: A Spanish city without medicine (BBC)

But remember, the "invisible hand" is the ideal allocator of resources. Never mind, the government messed it all up. And there is a burgeoning separatist movement in Catalonia:
Madrid (CNN) -- Throngs of demonstrators filled Barcelona's streets Tuesday in a regional independence protest fueled by Spain's economic crisis.

September 11 is known as Catalonia's national day, and for years there have been demonstrations pushing for independence in the northeastern region. But Tuesday's turnout was larger than expected, Spanish newspapers reported.

Hours before, Artur Mas, the president of Catalonia's regional government, attended official ceremonies commemorating the day. Later, he issued a warning: if Spain's central government in Madrid doesn't give the region more control over its tax dollars, independence could be an option.

"If we do not reach a financial agreement with the central government, the path to freedom for Catalonia is open," he said.
Throngs push Catalan independence amid Spain's economic crisis (CNN)
In the latest in a series of bold challenges to the Spanish government, a top Catalan administration official on Friday warned that the region’s parliament could put legal mechanisms in motion that would lead to a unilateral separatist drive for Catalonia.

In a radio interview, Catalonia spokesman Francesc Homs said that a referendum within four years “was a possibility,” and that independence could also be “obtained by way of a parliamentary vote after an election.”
Catalan official makes fresh warning to government over independence (EL PAÍS)


Saturday Night Music:

Buenas noches, amigos


  1. Thanks for those videos (wouldn't have found them anywhere else!). Although we only hear from two residents, they seemed to be level-headed and productively focused on the agriculture and sturdy shelter of their ancestors, which worked in times when central control also of little help.

  2. I meant "was also of little help."


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