I’m just going to put it out there: I’m a really bad journalist. While the young people of Spain, los indignaos, stormed plazas and camped out, calling for reforms to the electoral system, education and labor laws, I needed something for my sweet tooth.
I should have grabbed my camera, some paper and a pen and gotten out there to ask questions. But, like in the Iowa City tornado of 2006, I chose ice cream over my profession. Ok, in IC it was seeing all of the destruction, but you get it.
The above video, if you understand Spanish, can give you a really good insight into how Spain has found itself in a hole when it comes to debts and crisis. The country’s unemployment rate for people under 30 is sitting around 45%, and it’s the future generation of workers who are creating a Europe-wide movement to end bank and political corruption (don’t even get me STARTED on how furious I am with my bank!).
The story goes like this:
Back in 1998, President Aznar wanted to relieve some of the taxes and hurdles to buying a house, so he made a new law promoting long-term loans so that families could buy houses, a dram under the late Franco’s regime. Using money borrowed from other Eurozone states, banks were able to give loans to families, businesses and other entities to build, creating a huge economic boom. This heightened need for buildings caused unemployment to shrink as many left their studies to work in construction and immigrants poured in from all over. Faults were seen in the system when Zapatero’s PSOE party began to govern, and the spiral effect caused by the US economic crisis has had serious repercussions in Spain.
As salaries are frozen and the cost of living rising, Spaniards are acting out. What began as a peaceful protest on May 15th has had a ripple effect throughout Spain and other affected parts of Europe. Now two weeks in, I present you with some pictures of the indignaos, exercising their democratic right to protest and speak freely about the future of their government (and money):