Spaniards every day protest against eviction from homes – homes bought on credit – credit under terms their banks convinced them were within their means. Most of the hundreds of thousands of evictions in the past several years have been families with children.
These people shout: “We’re not scared!”
And, holding up their bare hands: “These are our weapons!”
Even immigrants without normal residence status in Spain were given loans.
This happened to Ghailil, and he brought his family to join him in Terrassa, near Barcelona.
Then the Spanish property bubble burst, he lost his builder’s job, and risks being thrown out on the street.
Ghailil Anzeroval said: “I want to work – to pay a mortgage.”
People who have been evicted in Terrassa have occupied this new apartment building, which is owned by the same bank that had them evicted from the properties they could no longer make the payments on.
Elhadji Dijame, from Senegal, had a job making mats for cars, then was laid off.
The bank refused to adjust the terms of his loan.
Dijame said: “They didn’t want to negotiate, they just wanted to increase my mortgage. In two years they would have recouped the original amount, but I didn’t want to get further in the hole.”
Although they have been evicted, under Spanish law borrowers are still liable for their debts.
One or two rungs up the economic ladder, small investors in the bank Bankia have seen their money disappear too. It was a fusion of savings banks, then floated on the stock exchange last year.
Now that business has soured, the shareholders are part of an enterprise that is 23.5 billion euros in the red.
One pensioner, Manuel Pizarro, outside an emergency meeting said:
“They told me it was a good investment. The shares were below market price, so I put 18,000 euros into it, thinking it would be good. Eight or nine months later, I feel ripped off. Information about how the bank was doing wasn’t clear.”
Now that Spain’s banks are recipients of 100 billion euros to rescue them from their unsound decisions – 100 billion which is added to the national debt, and having the effect of lead on the public deficit – it means the people are caught paying the banks several times over.