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.
By Don Quijones: If there is a two-word combination that strikes primal fear into the hearts of global senior bankers and representatives of international financial institutions, it is “odious” + “debt,” a legal theory that holds that the national debt incurred by a regime for purposes that do not serve the best interests of the nation shouldn’t be enforceable.
By Don Quijones: If recent reports from the Spanish government are to be believed, the Spanish economy is now officially out of the woods. Not only is the worst behind it, but it’s now positively humming along at a growth rate of, um, 0.1% per year. It is, as Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro put it, a “lesson to the world.” Oh really?
By Don Quijones: If Spain and Catalonia were playing real, rather than figurative, Russian Roulette, the revolver would be loaded with two or three bullets. Now an extra one was slipped into a chamber: prize-winning economist Juan Valerde announced that Madrid may have to “bomb Barcelona” in order to put a halt to the region’s rising separatist aspirations.
Countries like Germany and Turkey have demanded explanations from the U.S. and U.K. governments regarding the NSA’s and GCHQ’s surveillance and wire-tapping program. But Spain’s Rajoy regime has remained conspicuously silent – despite the fact that this surveillance is a clear infringement of Spain’s domestic and external affairs.
Spain’s government plumbed new depths of political chicanery and incompetence this week when it openly admitted that it had tampered with evidence in the Bárcenas affair, a corruption case implicating many of its senior ministers.
By Don Quijones: Hyper-connected Goldman Sachs has managed to manipulate and profit from every financial bubble since the Roaring Twenties. And now they’re doing it all over again with the creation of a carbon trading bubble. But Goldman is not the only one with skin in the game.
By Don Quijones: Since taking office, Rajoy’s government has done everything within its means to alienate the Spanish public. Its key election pledges – taxes wouldn’t be hiked, banks would never be bailed out, vital services would not be cut, unemployment would be a priority, the economy would improve… – all turned out to be lies; and its corruption scandals are mushrooming. But now it has a new strategy: a territorial tussle with the UK.
By Don Quijones: Uruguay rarely draws international attention. Sandwiched between its much larger, much rowdier neighbors, it is, and has been for decades, a relative oasis of calm. But that is about to change: Uruguay is on the verge of becoming the first ever Latin American country to decriminalize the consumption of marijuana.
By Don Quijones, Spain: Since last year’s unprecedented protests to mark Catalonia’s national day of independence on September 11th, relations between Rajoy’s administration and Catalonia’s coalition government have soured to the point of curdling. Catalonia’s leader called it a “war of cultures” between the two “countries.”