Heartbreak Hotel


MEDIA coverage of Spain’s economic woes is far from encouraging.

We tighten our belts and we cross our fingers.

There is little ordinary mortals can do, but unless they are out of their depth they don’t know what helplessness is.

Spain really does have to get to grips with the housing crisis before its impact makes world headlines.

If Spain’s reputation is to equal that of Greece it will take decades to recover lost confidence in its ability to manage its economy.

With the highest unemployment record in the European Union it is hardly surprising that social displacement fast approaches levels last seen in the Spanish Civil War.

The situation is aggravated in Spain by the previous criminal neglect in housing stock management and easy bank borrowings.

The numbers of uprooted homeless in Spain is now at a level that cannot be ignored. We’re not talking hippie nomads or undocumented immigrants; we are talking about people like us.

Thousands are on the road, in hovels, sanctuaries, staying with forbearing relatives. Many families split to help them survive.

Having lost their jobs the chances of getting another are hopeless.

As a consequence they lose their homes and often possessions. It is what happens when they hand the keys in, or are victims of foreclosure. Their unmanageable debts will haunt them and their families to their graves.

Often, when people lose their home their troubles are just beginning. One unfortunate victim, Elena Parrondo says: ‘I am condemned for life to never have a property in my name.

I can’t collect a salary or have a telephone contract; buy a car or pay rent if I don’t want them to chase me for money we do not have.’

Through no fault of their own they lost their jobs.

Now she and her husband are about to lose their Madrid apartment.

Their lives so far have been blameless; never taking more from the state than they have given; lived their lives as model citizens.

Theirs is the sort of lifestyle most aspire to for the reason it offers security. As the Parrondo family discovered this is an illusion.

People like this family don’t deserve their fate. There has been too little bank regulation. Most depressing of all is this chain of events accelerated whilst the Socialists were on watch.

Elena Perrando says; “It’s not something to be relished; being put out into the street with two young children. If we don’t pay the mortgage it’s not because we don’t feel like it, but because we can’t. The banks should be more aware of families’ situations.

They’re being left with thousands of homes that remain unoccupied after the foreclosure.’

When learning of thousands of cases like the Perrandos one begins to better understand why Civil insurrection occurs.

Is the Spanish government listening to the people or are they too helplessly ensnared by a handful of  seemingly unregulated banks?


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