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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Les Espagnols exaspérés exigent des comptes

by Pierre Ivorra

Exasperated Spaniards Demand Explanation

Translated Thursday 12 July 2012, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Bill Scoble

There are more and more initiatives, not only against the budget cuts, but also against those who are responsible for a system that has produced an immense increase in suffering among the people.

Madrid (Spain), from our special correspondent. In the streets of Madrid and the big cities of Spain, the protests against budget cuts in government spending, notably on education, health and justice, are numerous and highly visible.

In this street in Alicante, in southern Spain, the teachers from a school in the Babel neighborhood, in the western part of town, are holding a banner condemning the cuts in teaching staff which will lead to an increase in the number of pupils per class.

A few hundred kilometers away, in Madrid, at the beginning of the week of June 17, passers-by in the Gran Via, one of the main thoroughfares in the capital, could hear, outside number 52, the seat of a bankruptcy court, a saucepan concert performed by about thirty people, mainly women, protesting against the cuts in the Justice ministry budget, which are aimed at reducing the staff and lowering the wages of those remaining.

Recent initiatives have been launched to attempt to give a national dimension to this exasperation.

On June 20, the two main trade union organizations, the Workers Commissions and the UGT, called for demonstrations across the country to defend workers’ rights. A few days earlier, the Indignant Ones filed a suit against Bankia and organized a rally of several thousand in front of the seat of the bank in Madrid.

Ever since the government decided to bail out this group of failed savings banks, many voices have been raised to demand an explanation and to condemn the collusion between the right-wing parties and the bankers.

The Indignant Ones’ suit, filed in the name of 13 stockholders, is directed against the members of the previous board of directors for “falsification of accounts” and “fraudulent information” given to the market authorities.

Rodrigo Rato, the former president of Bankia, who was Economics Minister from 1996 to 2004 and then general director of the International Monetary Fund until 2007, is in the line of fire.

The anger of the Spaniards has been exacerbated since June 12, when the Congreso de los Diputados, in which the right wing has a majority, rejected a demand made by Izquierda Unida (IU) for a parliamentary inquiry into the financial crisis.

“The Spanish people want to know the truth /…/ All those who had a role in the decision-making that led to so much suffering for so many people” must give an explanation, exclaimed Cayo Lara, the leader of IU, in tabling the proposal for an inquiry.

For IU, the accusation is aimed at both the present administrators and those of the past, of the Zapatero era.

This action is very popular. On June 26, a petition bearing nearly 135,000 signatures and circulated by Avaaz, the international platform of demands, was addressed to Mariano Rajoy, the president of the Spanish government, to demand a parliamentary enquiry into Bankia. More than just the administrators, it is a whole system that stands accused.

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