Contributed by Don Quijones: Steppenwolf’s The Pusher, the opening song for the 1969 movie, Easy Rider, was about dealers who “push” tainted drugs on unsuspecting users. The pusher “don’t care if you live or if you die,” it goes. Similarly, Spanish banks pushed investment products called preferentes on unsuspecting clients.
Contributed by Don Quijones: “In a newspaper like El País it is no longer possible to criticize the main Spanish banks. And you have to be very careful when talking about the Government, in case it gets angry: its benevolence is needed in order to avoid bankruptcy.”
Contributed by Don Quijones: As bank lending has dried up, Spain’s government has barely lifted a finger to help struggling self-employed workers or small enterprises. Instead, it apparently made it its mission to make their working lives as difficult as possible by ramping up their tax burden to historic highs.
Contributed by Don Quijones: A daily ration of bread is now beyond the reach of roughly a billion people on planet Earth. What’s more, hunger is spreading like a pandemic, making incursions from its traditional strongholds in the global south to towns and cities across depression-hit Southern Europe. In Greece….
The chicken, it seems, has finally come home to roost.
Contributed by Don Quijones: Catalonia’s riot police unleashed the untamed fury of the state upon the protestors and cleared Barcelona’s Plaza Catalunya of all occupants. A dense ring of shell-shocked people gathered around the square. I was one of them. A child riding on his father’s shoulders held up a sign: “No soy anti sistema, el sistema es anti yo,” it said (I’m not anti-system; the system is anti-me).
Contributed by Don Quijones: Not a day goes by without a new political scandal breaking in Spain. Just the last few days, King Juan Carlos’ daughter, La Infanta Cristina, was charged with aiding and abetting her husband in his myriad scams to embezzle money from the public purse. Now ties to a known drug trafficker hit the governing party, the Partido Popular.
In 1994, decades of economic mismanagement reached their nadir in the Mexican Tequila Crisis, an event which should have served – but patently didn’t – as a portent of the financial storms now buffeting Europe.
Contributed by Don Quijones: A cardinal rule that visitors should observe at all times in Mexico City is to avoid catching random taxis on the streets. Pick the wrong one and, at best, you will be abusively overcharged. Or you may be whisked away to some neighbourhood where the taxi driver’s partner(s)-in-crime will be waiting. But this taxi ride was different.
Contributed by Don Quijones: The stark reality facing millions of Spaniards, Italians, Greeks, and Portuguese is hidden, buried deep under a mountain of economic data, massaged to suit the purposes of the central planners-in-chief. But this is the story of a dying breed: self-made entrepreneurs and small business owners here in Spain.