El despilfarro de Madrid llega a la prensa alemana.

10 Jun

Ana Botella, según la prensa alemana… Una verdadera vergüenza.

Der Spiegel asombrado relata una historia que ilustra perfectamente lo escandaloso de nuestra situación.

Se refería a la Alcaldesa de Madrid, cuyo único “mérito” es ser la señora de Aznar.

El semanario no daba crédito, “el ayuntamiento es un palacio cuya remodelación ha costado 500 millones de euros!!!”, “su despacho es mayor que el del Presidente de los Estados Unidos”, tiene “un mayordomo cuya única función es servirla el café”, y 260 asesores personales y altos cargos que cobran de media 60.000 euros.

El Ayuntamiento posee, además, 267 coches oficiales de uso personal, más que todas la capitales de la eurozona juntas. Es una dministración  sin medida, la ostentación suntuaria más indecente en medio de una penuria extrema, donde Cáritas ha tenido que atender a mas de un millón de personas y un 26% de los niños vive por debajo del umbral de la pobreza. Y el pais en situación de rescate. ¿Cómo se atreve a ir a misa y a salir a la calle? Y este es el problema, porque no es la excepción, es la regla.

Si no existiera Madrid, España no estaría en crisis…

Der Spiegel en su edición en inglés:

When Ana Botella looks up from the files in her office on the fifth floor of Madrid’s city hall, she sees the crown of a fertility goddess. The marble statue of Cibeles standing in a chariot being pulled by lions is the centerpiece of a busy plaza in the Spanish capital. On good days, the players and fans of Real Madrid, the city’s league-leading soccer club, celebrate their victories in the square in front of the Cibeles Fountain.

Last Thursday wasn’t one of those days. Instead of jubilant soccer fans, there were tens of thousands of protestors waving red flags in front of the fountain just below the balcony of Botella’s office. They were protesting against the fact that over 5 million of their fellow citizens are unemployed and against the austerity measures imposed by the conservative federal government, which are plunging many families into poverty.

That morning, inside city hall, Botella and the city council had decided to free up about €1 million ($1.3 million) in funds so that rents could be reduced for the city’s poorest residents living in subsidized housing.

Indeed, these are hard times on Cibeles Square. Madrid’s mayor still has to pay over €1 billion for 16,712 outstanding bills from 2011 as well as try to get the finances of Spain’s most heavily indebted city under control. And she needs to do so as quickly as possible.

 Inherited Burdens

Ana Botella, 58, the wife of former conservative Prime Minister José María Aznar, has been Madrid’s mayor since the end of December. Before that, she had served eight years as a city councilor, initially for family and social affairs and, most recently, for transportation and the environment. Rather than being elected to the office, Botella inherited it from her predecessor after he was brought into the administration of Mariano Rajoy, a fellow party member who became Spain’s prime minister in November.

Botella inherited not only the office with the best view, a room larger than the Oval Office in Washington, in a 1917 palace that was converted into the city hall at a cost of €500 million, but also the services of a butler whose sole duty is to serve coffee to her and her guests. But she has also inherited close to €6.4 billion in debts.

By the end of March, Botella had to present the Finance Ministry with an austerity plan demonstrating that the city’s future expenditures would no longer exceed its revenues. She had to draft this plan because the government of conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy enacted a law last week that will impose sanctions on public administrations that continue to incur new debts.

In this sense, the mayor’s position is not unlike that of the prime minister. For the 2012 budget, which he approved in the Council of Ministers last Friday, he will have to make over €27 billion in cuts and collect more than €12 billion in additional taxes.

Rajoy’s socialist predecessor as prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, also left behind a dubious legacy: a deficit of 8.5 percent of GDP, which is much higher than what had been agreed to with Brussels. The current administration is now expected to reduce the deficit to 3 percent of GDP by the end of 2013 — a promise that Spain must keep at all costs if it hopes to regain the confidence of its European partners and the financial markets.

Unlike the prime minister, Botella cannot blame a political rival on the left for the city’s past wasteful habits. Instead, it was her predecessor, a conservative, who had increased Madrid’s debt by a factor of five. He had a ring of expressways built around the city and pursued Madrid’s candidacy as a host city for the Olympics twice. In the process, he spent many millions on stadiums that are now underused. The new mayor wants to continue the city’s bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics, arguing that most of the infrastructure has already been built, — and that it’s also important for a society to have its dreams. But, as far as everything else is concerned, she champions a tough new austerity course.

 A New Political Style

Botella, a lawyer and devout Catholic, isn’t the worst choice to manage the city in its current plight. “I married at 23 and supported my family during the first few years,” Botella say proudly. She worked as a civil servant in the administration, most recently in the Finance Ministry. She only stopped working when her husband, whom she brought into the conservative People’s Alliance party in the late 1970s, became prime minister in 1996 and the family of five moved into the Moncloa Palace, the prime minister’s official residence. She keeps a photo from the night of the election on the bookshelf next to her desk.

As the wife of the prime minister, she was derided for wearing leather jackets from a cheap retail store on official trips. She also raised eyebrows once when she appeared in jeans and a plain jacket instead of an evening gown at a reception for the royal couple.

Today, she also embodies a new style. Her predecessor in Madrid’s city hall was fond of luxury and fancied himself an excellent, well-read speaker. Botella, on the other hand, wears off-the-rack dresses and hardly any real jewelry. What’s more, she stiffly adheres to her prepared speeches — partly out of a fear of repeating the kinds of gaffes she has previously made in remarks about homosexuals or people on the left.

Una respuesta to “El despilfarro de Madrid llega a la prensa alemana.”

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