Spain’s National Heritage spends half a million euros per year on the maintenance of three swimming pools for the Royal House, according to revelations published by elDiario.es.
The 500,000 euros per year are spent on tasks such as daily cleaning of filters and hygienic control of water quality of the three swimming pools. The contract was awarded to Multiservicios Tecnológicos SA, which specializes in installations, air conditioning and cold rooms. In addition, 240,000 euros must be added for the maintenance of the building and its premises by the company Teodoro SA, cleaning tasks for the palace costing 893,000 euros and forestry services for the Palau del Pardo costing 140,000 euros.
However, these are not the only expenses that have been charged to National Heritage that are linked to the monarchy. This body, linked to the Ministry of the Presidency, has also paid for the compensation for the unfair dismissal of the crew of the yacht Fortuna, which former King Juan Carlos enjoyed until he decided to sell it; the maintenance of the house where his ex-lover Corinna Larsen was staying in Madrid, the insurance for the various luxury cars she received as gifts and the staff and security that accompanies the former King in Abu Dhabi.
In total, the Spanish monarchy costs taxpayers almost €2 million extra than the €8.4 specified in the state budget approved by Congress for this year.
On Tuesday, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) once again condemned the Spanish state for failing to investigate allegations of torture and thus violating Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The sentence confirms that Iñigo González Etayo, arrested in 2011, was subjected to “inhuman and degrading treatment” and must be compensated with 20,000 euros.
Iñigo was arrested, along with Gorka Zabala, Jon Patxi Arratibel and Gorka Mayo, by order of the incumbent Minister of the Interior Fernando Grande-Marlaska, then a judge of the Spanish National Court. They were all accused of belonging to a terrorist organization for being members of the Basque pro-independence organization Ekin.
Iñigo claimed that during the interrogation they put a bag over his head, waterboarded him, hit him and made him want to vomit because he couldn’t stand it anymore. The confession was obtained by torture. Its contents were specified by the police. All the detainees reported being tortured by the Civil Guard.
Strasbourg already condemned Spain for failing to investigate allegations of tortures against Patxi Arratibel and Xabier Beortegi, both detained in the same police operation. It is noteworthy that Arratibel signed a police statement with the word “Aztnugal,” which read backwards means “help” in Basque.
On Wednesday, the Spanish “Socialist” Party (PSOE-PSC) once again blocked the creation of a commission of investigation into Juan Carlos, Spain’s former king’s illicit accounts. This came after the lawyers of Spain’s Congress endorsed such an investigation for the first time, contrary to what they had done before.
PSOE/PSC joined forces with the far-right Vox and the right-wing PP in the Congress Bureau in order to block the admission of the request to investigate the emeritus king in the chamber. It is a procedure that so far has not passed any similar request and that allows the issue to be raised in the Congress.
The request for the creation of a commission of investigation by Podemos argues that the facts to be investigated are subsequent to the abdication of the former monarch, and therefore the criterion of inviolability cannot be applied to him.
Minister of Health Salvador Illa
Spain’s Minister of Health Salvador Illa recently announced his presidential candidacy for PSOE/PSC in the next Catalan election, saying he will call for the formation of a new progressive government if he won the election. But the refusal of his administration to allow an investigation into the alleged corruption of the Spanish monarchy shows once again that his progressive rhetoric is just populist, not real, aimed at manipulating the public opinion to reach power by any means.
If this last episode of failure by this minister and his administration to be progressive is not enough to open people’s eyes, it is important to remember that he, himself, and a number of his colleagues also attended several demonstrations in Catalonia organized by the far right organization Societat Civil Catalana (SCC), some members of which have direct links with neo-Nazi squads.
Therefore, Illa’s victory in the next Catalan elections would be a victory of reactionaries, who if able to form a new government, would have a carte blanche to dismantle any sign of progress across the country.
50 international personalities, including five Nobel Prize laureates and UN dignitaries, have signed a manifesto promoted by the Catalan civic organization Òmnium Cultural calling for an amnesty for the jailed, exiled and prosecuted over the 2017 independence referendum.
The manifesto argues against the use of courts by Spain “to resolve a political crisis, and urges the Spanish government to end repression and to initiate sincere dialogue with Catalonia to find a political solution that would give the citizens of Catalonia the right to decide their own political future.”
Yoko Ono, Gerry Adams, Dilma Rousseff, Ai Wei Wei, and five Nobel Peace Prize laureates – Jody Williams, Mairead Corrigan, Shirin Ebadi, Elfriede Jelinek and Adolfo Perez Esquivel are amongst the 50 signatories of the manifesto calling for amnesty and the end of repression of Catalans by Spain.
This manifesto comes ahead of Catalan elections on February 14th, which are expected to see pro-independence parties securing an absolute majority with a strong possibility of obtaining over 50% of the total votes.
The Spanish government has published an annual report of the PSOE-Unidas Podemos coalition government, admitting it has not complied with its investiture agreement with the Catalan pro-independence party ERC, and only partially with the rest of political forces.
According to the document, the Spanish administration considers that the investiture agreement with the Republicans — the creation of a negotiating table to resolve the ongoing political conflict between Spain and Catalonia — is still “in-process” at 0%, and predicts it will not be fulfilled before June 2021.
Regarding other political forces, the Spanish government affirms it has already complied with 32% of the agreements with Compromís, 29% with New Canarias, 22% with the Galician Nationalist Bloc, 10% with Teruel Exists, and 7% with the Basque Nationalist Party.
Thus, the only agreements not fulfilled yet by the Sánchez administration are those with the Catalan pro-independence movement, showing once again his clear unwillingness to tackle and resolve the ongoing political conflict by democratic means.