By Don Quijones: Political corruption has already become synonymous with political leadership in Spain. But now there’s a spectacle of political hubris and impunity so farcical and obscene that it leaves no doubt in one’s mind: Spain is run by a mafia state!
Entries in Europe - Spain (65)
By Don Quijones: It was the first nationally coordinated grassroots response to repressive social and economic policies and widespread corruption of Spain’s ruling political caste. But it descended into violence – as the government is playing a dangerous game.
By Don Quijones: Revelations of a dirty, big business in Europe, and of the role banks play to make it possible. In fact, during the financial crisis, European banks “were as good as saved by the global drug trade.”
By Don Quijones: “You’re making a grave mistake,” the CEO of Catalonia’s megabank La Caixa allegedly told Catalonian President Artur Mas. Like many big shots, he’s fretting over the prospect of independence from Spain - an existential threat to the region’s banks.
By Don Quijones: “We have to fight corruption in order to build a new model of more sustainable and fairer growth,” pontificated the CEO of BBVA, a Spanish TBTF bank.
By Don Quijones: When it comes to dodgy landlords, few have it quite as bad as the tenants of a number of housing projects in Spain who were notified that the government had sold their units to an innocent-sounding investment fund called Cibeles.
Danièle Nouy, chair of the ECB’s newfangled bank regulator that doesn’t exist yet, had a term for it: “do whatever has to be done” so that the banking sector “is seen as sound and safe and transparent.” Is seen as.... Smoke and mirrors.
By Don Quijones: By deciding to warn his customers about the risks of these toxic financial products — they should never have been sold to savers — branch manager Gómez Ortega set himself on collision course with the bank's head office in Madrid.
By Don Quijones: When a consortium, led by the Spanish company Sacyr, bid to expand the Panama Canal for $2 billion under budget, it was an offer Panama couldn’t refuse. What the government didn’t know at the time was how Spanish construction firms operate.
By Don Quijones: "We will not be taking any questions on the specifics of the Spanish situation."
By Don Quijones: Normally these two worlds co-exist relatively peaceably, barely cognizant of the other’s existence. Every now and then, their paths may intersect, only to quickly decouple. But this week they suffered a head-on clash.
By Don Quijones: On the surface and on the pitch, Spanish football has never been better. The national team of once-perpetual underachievers has won two European Championships and one World Cup in the last six years, a feat unmatched by any other European nation.
By Don Quijones: In most places these days, it’s probably easier to pass a camel through the eye of a needle than it is to pass a corrupt CEO of a failed bank through a wide-open prison gate. But a judge in Spain tried – and it's costing him dearly.
By Don Quijones: Despite having been caught with its hands in every cookie jar, Rajoy’s government still enjoys an absolute majority in parliament and can push through any law it fancies. Now it threatens to redraw Spain’s system of law and order – for its own benefit.
By Don Quijones: While many Spaniards may spit bile and venom at the merest suggestion of Catalonian autonomy, they would do well to ask themselves what happened to their own national sovereignty. How is it, for example, that Spain is taking orders on virtually all economic matters from men in black dispatched from Brussels and Frankfurt?
By Don Quijones: Two years ago, Mariano Rajoy rode a wave of public anger to victory in Spain’s general election. The man who could never win anything was suddenly gifted the closest any politician can hope to get to absolute power in an ostensibly democratic society.
By Don Quijones: There are things politicians should never do – assuming they want to hold on to their jobs. Using the dirty “s” word (sovereignty) is a definite no-no. Also high up on the list of “don’t dos” is threatening the interests of foreign creditors and bondholders.
By Don Quijones: Despite a miraculous economic “recovery,” EU-wide youth unemployment hit 24%. New records were set in Spain (56.5%), Greece (57.3%), Italy (40%), and France (26%). The warnings from history are clear: governments that allow youth unemployment to escalate, do so at their own peril.
By Don Quijones: Whatever you might read in the news these days, it’s not all doom and gloom in Spain. For a certain segment of the population, albeit quite a small one, life has never been better. They include Rodrigo Rato, the man who many blame for the biggest bankruptcy in Spanish history.
By Don Quijones: Four months ago, Miguel Blesa, ex-CEO of failed Caja Madrid and senior member of the governing Popular Party, was in jail. Accused of felonies ranging from irregularities in Caja Madrid’s purchase of City National Bank of Florida to wrongful “appropriation of funds,” Blesa was not even granted bail by the judge. But now he is free, and the judge is in trouble.