Communist Party of Spain M-L (PCE M-L)

Where corruption...  and the Bourbons reign

Raul Marco

Of all the histories in History
undoubtedly the saddest is that of Spain,
because it ended badly. As if man
already tired of struggling with his demons,
decided to entrust them to the government
and the administration of his poverty [...]

I have often thought of those men,
I have often thought about the poverty
of this country of all demons.
And I have often thought of another history
different and less simple, of another Spain
where a bad government does matter. [...]

Because I want to believe that there are no demons.
They are men who pay the government,
the entrepreneurs of the false history
they are men who have sold the man,
those who have turned him to poverty
and kidnapped the health of Spain.

I ask Spain to expel these demons.
That poverty rises up to the government.
That man should become the master of his history.

(Jaime Gil de Baeda)

Sad and painful verses that perfectly condense the history of this land called Spain. It is as if it was when the poet wrote these verses, today they are, indeed, a tragic and unfortunate reality:

26% of the economically active population (six million people) are without work; among the youths it is 50%; two million families in which all members are unemployed. Hunger that mainly strikes children, of whom a large percentage have only one meal a day, which they receive at school through cafeteria grants, which they are now eliminating. Thousands, yes thousands of people who lost the homes that they bought because they are unable to make the mortgage payments, many of them immigrants who have lost their savings earned despite the exploitation they have suffered, in addition to the racist attacks, xenophobia of the neo-fascist packs (why “neo,” as they are the cubs of the fierce wolf of always?). And those families who have been evicted, who have paid their mortgages for years, besides being robbed of their homes, are forced to continue paying the debt on what they have been robbed of. They must pay the thieves, such as Banka and many if not all of the banks that have cleaned out those whom the “right-thinkers” describe with derogatory epithets.

Corruption operates here and in other countries, but we are speaking of Spain where it reaches unimaginable heights, it is a scourge from which the parties and unions are not spared. Every day cases of corruption, money laundering, theft disguised as compensation, etc., scandals that involve ministers and former ministers, heads of state and private enterprises, are being discovered. Even the royal family, some of whose members are involved in this corruption and criminal acts.

The king imposed by Franco, Juan Carlos of Bourbon and Bourbon, has been forced to abdicate for his repeated scandalous conduct. This individual, I refuse to call him Sir since the parameters place him very, very far from that, has transgressed, lied, abused, and more than that, but according to the current Constitution, the king is not accountable for his actions. Who is responsible for his acts or knavery (let us say, Bourbonry [a pun on the term “bribonadas,” or knavery – translator’s note)? An old saying from the Castilian lands translated as “fablar paladino*” (tell tales clearly), asserts that the one who holds the ladder is as much a thief as the one who robs.

* Paladino: public, clear and patent (DRAE [Dictionary of the Spanish Language])

The Bourbon and Bourbon (it rhymes to the consumer’s taste) with a fortune of several hundred million euros (some say it is two thousand million) does not know nor is he able to explain its origin; he has resorted, as other swindlers did, to an “inheritance received from his father” that he kept in Switzerland...

This mister king, while he was president of a society for the protection of elephants, which are endangered, went to Africa to kill elephants. He was accompanied by his girlfriend (the gossips use another name for this friendship), the German Countess Corinna zu-Sayn Wittgenstein.

He had a good student in his daughter, the princess Cristina who, with her husband, Urdangarin, established the non-profit Noos Institute, which they and their partner allowed to make a profit of a few million in deals and public procurement contracts, in collusion with various authorities, particularly from Valencia. Despite the pressures that the investigating judge suffered to close the case, it is likely that the princess, her husband and partner will sit in the dock of the accused. It remains to be seen, because the pressures continue.

Let us continue with the corruption that is devastating these lands.

The president of the CEPR (Center for Economic Policy Research), Guillermo de la Dehesa, recently wrote a well-documented article with the significant title “Private corruption in Spain,” from which we quote a few paragraphs:

“If there is public corruption there is necessarily also private corruption. The 3% or 5% that some request, others pay,* willingly or not, if they get what they want in return. Private corruption begins with the basic distinction between those who pay their taxes and those who do not pay. The last published payment of personal income taxes (IRPF) in 2012, by steps, shows that 19.37 million wage earners and self-employed reported income for this tax. However, only 4,168 reported income of more than 600,000 euros of tax base, only 60,313 reported income of more than 150,000 euros and only 548,823 reported income of more than 60,000 euros. [...]

* The “bite” (“bribe”): Income or money obtained from some person for an official or employee through abuse of their position. A fruit of influences or bribes (DRAE). Our note.

“The majority of people with very high incomes and assets did not report income to be taxed and uses the Investment Companies with Variable Capital (SICAVs), whose profits pay 1%. These SICAVs were created to prevent people with large assets from deciding to legally relocate to other EU countries with more advantageous tax rates than Spain. There are also SICAVs in France, United Kingdom, Italy and Holland. The VDOS Stochastics (2014) estimated that the assets under management by SICAV in Spain were 27,575 million euros.

“[…] Tax evasion in Spain has increased by 6.8 points of GDP between 2008 and 2012, from 17.85% to 25.6%, more than 65,000 million euros, reaching 253,000 million.” (“El Pais” [“The Country”], September 21, 2014.)

These are facts and data eloquent enough to demonstrate how corruption, fraud, or frankly speaking theft, is practically habitual among bankers, millionaires and others of the same kind. According to various studies, given the difficulty of controlling this kind of economy, the underground economy, black work, reached up to 28% of the GDP in 2013. All these percentages are above the EU average, which stands at 18%, and certainly much higher than that of France (11%) and Germany (13.7%).

Corruption, white collar banditry, is in the hands of the real mafias, known and tolerated because the political and police authorities turn what we call here the “blind eye.” This is what Guillermo de la Dehesa calls, crudely and accurately, the “criminal economy”:

“The criminal economy operates completely outside the law and with black money, made up of terrorism, drug trafficking, arms trafficking, smuggling of women and children, body organs and animals, as well as induced prostitution and drug trafficking. All these activities have in common that they are funded almost entirely with high denomination banknotes in euros, dollars and Swiss francs of whose owners or users cannot be identified since they are bearer banknotes and that they often try to ‘launder’ in tax havens. [...]

“In 2007, at the height of the real estate and construction bubble, there circulated in Spain 36% of all the 200 and 500 euro banknotes of the euro zone, while the GDP of Spain was only 11% of the total for the zone, that is, three times lower, a scandalous percentage.” (Ibid)

The figures speak for themselves. Let us look at some very significant data: In 2012, 443 people had reported income of over €30 million, exceeding the 2011 figures by 25%, and double the number of multimillionaires from the pre-crisis figure, which was 233 people in 2007. It is obvious that, in times of a tremendous crisis such as the one we are experiencing, poverty increases and all sorts of calamities strike the working class and the popular masses, at the same time as they enrich the already rich to an insulting degree, to the point that Spain is the most unequal country in the EU, behind only Latvia, according to Eurostat [statistical office of the European Union – translator s note].

A recent study by the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, based in Paris) states that between 2007 and 2011, the average income of the poorest 10% fell 7.5 times more than that of the richest 10%. This also explains the previous scandalous figures. That having been said, the crises are for the poor, the workers, the people in general; that is, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Nil novi sub sole*...

* There is nothing new under the sun.

As we have already said, corruption in these parts extends to political parties, trade unions, institutions (such as the Church, as reactionary and obscurantist as it is), the leaders of the employers’ association, banks and savings accounts. The phrase (from Hamlet) “something is rotten in the kingdom of Denmark” is a smell of perfume compared to the stench we breathe here.

Consider the case of Bankia, formed after the near collapse of Caja Madrid. The State invested €23,000 million to save it, and Bankia was established. Rodrigo Rato was appointed the head of the bank; he had been Minister of the Economy from 1996 to 2004 in the government of the neo-fascist Aznar. Needless to say, the salaries of these people are fabulous. But they did not seem enough, and the leaders and “advisers” appointed by the PP {People’s Party], PSOE [Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party], IU [United Left], and the CCOO [Workers’ Commissions] and UGT [General Union of Workers] trade unions, distributed black credit cards, that is, their use was not subject to any control, and the amounts that they withdrew with these cards were camouflaged with methods of payment that did not allow them to be identified. In two years, these ladies and gentlemen spent €15 to 20 million.

Some examples of the doings of this rabble: in just one month Blesa, the former director of Caja Madrid (later Bankia) spent €9,000 on a safari in Africa and €10,000 on bottles of an excellent wine... They all spent huge sums on luxury hotels, jewelry, parties, trips (preferably to New York, what do they have over there?). An “advisor” appointed by the leader of the United Left, Moral Santin, spent €365,000; another “historic” leader of the Workers’ Commissions, Rodolfo Benito, beset by scandal and his adventures, was forced to resign. The leader of the UGT, Jose Ricardo Martinez, spent 12,750 euros in one month at a luxury store. Juan Iranzo of the Board of Directors, a member of the PP, spent €46,800... The list goes far beyond the space we have available in both cynicism and larceny.

The fraud having been discovered (there appears to have been a tip-off), the main leaders of Bankia, from before and now) are being investigated, called before a judge and will probably be brought to trial. Among these thieves we can find, besides the leaders of the PP, PSOE, IU, former senior political leaders, and personalities “above suspicion.” They have all used, why not say stolen, millions of euros of public money. Once again one must repeat the axiom: privatization of profits, socialization of losses.

These robberies, etc. by political leaders, trade unionists and public figures, do not justify offending the feelings of the masses with the oxymoron political-honesty.* It is true that practices and attitudes of some politicians abound, including many whose integrity leaves much to be desired, even becoming brittle, but they cannot be measured by the same standard as that of the people who are fighting for the winning of a real democracy, freedom and solidarity, against reaction; they cannot be compared with the miserable, corrupt freeloaders who live off their political positions.

* Oxymoron: The grammatical combination of terms with opposite meaning or sense, such as “a deafening silence.”

One of the biggest cases of corruption and theft is that of Jordi Pujol, who was President of the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia) for nearly thirty years. This very honorable President, who formed a real mafia clan with his wife and sons, could not explain what happened to the 600 million euros deposited in a bank in Andorra, with which they had been trading and wheeling and dealing here and there for years. Nor could they explain the operations conducted by the Santander Bank which the recently deceased Botin led (another out-and-out element), nor by Prisa worth €2,000 million. Their wealth is held in tax havens, such as Andorra, Switzerland, Luxembourg, etc. Jordi Pujol could only say that is an inheritance left by his father which he kept abroad, in case the situation in Spain became difficult. As can be seen, the story of the inheritance was repeated among the economic criminals. It turns out that there is no will, it has not been found, and strangely his own sister denies it, she never knew that her father had left an inheritance. Indeed, the father of this individual was a known currency smuggler just after the Spanish Civil War (1939).

It is revealing of the nature of this very honorable person, who headed the Banca Catalana that drained its funds before bankruptcy. He has been one of the most rabid nationalists for the independence of Catalonia, where the phrase was coined “Spain robs us.” This is now the object of laughter and jokes when it was revealed that he has a fortune whose origin and that of his children he could not explain. One of his children, Oleguer Pujol, 35 years old, accumulated a fortune of €2,177 million.

The widespread corruption at the highest levels is beginning to be denounced. Some of these righteous patriots are already in prison, such as Barcena, treasurer of the PP who for years paid bonuses to the leaders of this party, as all their own lists submitted to the judge prove. The former president of the employers’ association of Spain, Diaz Ferran, was jailed for fraud and fraudulent bankruptcies of Marsan Travel and other companies. He had the nerve to say that the workers “have to work more and earn less.” The scandal of the opaque, black cards has revealed no less a person than the principal advisor to the Royal House, a certain Spottorno, as well as the former Minister Rodrigo Rato and Miguel Blesa.

This is one more scandal, exacerbated by the tremendous inability to cope with the Ebola virus, which uncovered the mismanagement and arrogance of the Minister for Health (an economist with no medical training whatsoever), and his advisers.

“Of all the histories in History... “

October 10, 2014

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