Expat Forum For People Moving Overseas And Living Abroad banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,734 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Fascinating article about Valencia, arguably one of the most corrupt regions in the developed world. I know many of you live there or plan to live there; how does this make you feel?

Why Valencia is paying the high price of rampant political corruption

With public debt levels of around €40 billion – equivalent to 40 percent of its GDP – the regional government of Valencia is only able to pay its bills thanks to financing from a special fund set up by the central government ...

A child born in Valencia today comes into the world owing €100,000, while around a third of the region’s population, spread across the three provinces of Alicante, Valencia and Castellón, lives close to the poverty line.
While Valencia is not the only region to have committed excesses, some of the things that have taken place here beggar belief. Politicians who made great show of their piety stole money that had been raised by charities to build a hospital in Haiti, or to help women in Africa with AIDS. Neither did they have any problem pocketing donations supposedly destined to help people in need in Valencia itself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,005 Posts
Beggars belief. Perhaps it is apathy amongst the voters.

I did read last week that the region had been fined €19 million by Brussels for understating it's debt.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,386 Posts
I don't live there, but I can tell you how it makes me feel - sickened, disgusted, ashamed and that word that came into fashion recently, indignant.
This is exactly the kind of thing I had in mind when I started the "You couldn't make it up" thread.
Some quotes that speak volumes to me
“In no other region in the developed world are so many politicians facing investigation or trial for corruption. We’re not talking here about a few rotten apples: the entire barrel is in a state of decomposition. The PP in Valencia has acted not so much like a political party as a criminal organization,” says journalist and writer Sergi Castillo.
All of which raises the question as to whether the PP wouldn’t do better to simply dissolve the Valencia branch and start again with a completely new set of names that have no association with the corruption of the last two decades. The party accepts that it will probably lose its absolute majority in the elections on May 24, but will still manage to hold on to power, despite a significant proportion of the electorate’s disgust with practices that were not simply the result of one or two greedy individuals, but part of a systematic process to finance the PP at the national level.
I have no doubt that if the PP were a political party intent on serving its electorate it would indeed have wiped out its Valencian branch. The fact that it hasn't should be inviting people to ask why. It would appear that the Valencian PP ers know too much, have too much power over central government to invite them to step down.

PS I think this links in with a previous post of mine (26) on the You couldn't make.... thread

PPS By coincidence I was up at 5:50 to take my daughter to the station to go to Valencia, a lovely city that goodness knows how, survives its politicians. I hope she doesn't come back with any photos of Rita Barberá, the jolly PP mayor of Valencia since 1991. No wonder she's always smiling; she must be worth a fortune!!
I wish the people of Valencia/ Spain would wake up and smell the corruption!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,294 Posts
Rajoy

Rajoy has sailed through all his other corrupt politicians generally ignoring the accusations.
Canal sexta has done various in depth programmes on Valencia and showing the mayoress swanning around a market area. Some of the bypassers shouted thief at her but she just smiled and wished them a good day. Not much else she could have done with the cameras on her, but one wonders what she felt once home.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
It is an absolute disgrace. For example, today I was reading about how they still want to extend Blasco down to the sea, destroying many homes and businesses for no proper reason. The road currently ends at a large, well designed roundabout with a three lane dual carriageway and various other roads off it. If it ended at the beach there is just a two lane road which is fairly slow moving with people trying to park. This will actively cause traffic to back up and create jams where they don't exist.

My area has been left to rot somewhat, the government would pretty much like to raze it to the ground and rebuild it in the image of Patacona. When the main selling point of the school next to me is that it will not be closing and they supply books you know things aren't great.

The younger generation definitely feel that it's time for a change. Here's hoping Rita feels the 'calloret' soon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
148 Posts
My partner and I moved to Valencia about 1-1/2 years ago and though we knew that corruption was endemic in the country, we did not realize that Valencia was the worst of the worst. We only discovered that we were the laughing stock of the country when we visited other parts of the country like Seville. Now we know what it's like to live in Newfoundland or Bognor Regis.

But I have to say that there are so many other reasons to dislike living in Valencia (or in our case, the suburbs outside Valencia) that "corruption" barely makes it into the top ten. None of irritants are big things, it's just an endless flow of small things...drip, drip, drip... like a Chinese water torture - until your head is ready to explode. Let me give just a few examples out of the many dozens I could pick.

Last week, after returning from an excellent vacation in Asia (the only time we seem to enjoy life these days is when we're away from Spain) we took the Metro into the local village centre (it's too far to walk) to get money, re-stock medication and get food. But there was a blackout mid-day and even though they are not unusual at this time of year, everything ground to a halt because people here can't carry out the smallest transaction without a computer. But, surely, you say, who needs a bank, we can get money from the ATM? No. There are only two ATMs in town and they are both at the bank. This is the same bank that in the past year has been closed during alleged banking hours because: a) they were having a meeting, b) there were not enough staff in that day to serve clients, c) they were renovating d) they decided that summer hours began that day and so closed early, e) they were out of cash, and f) undisclosed reasons, just a sign up saying "closed". It's also the same bank that has a 100% turnover in staff roughly every three months - so no continuity or establishing a relationship with staff. And everyone tells us that this is the better of the two banks in town! So we returned home having nothing to show for our trip except two wasted metro tickets.

We also returned from vacation to discover problems with the swimming pool and refrigerator. The refrigerator, a new model less than three years old, was keeping food cold in the freezer but not in the fridge. A simple problem - no doubt the freezer fan was broken or had ice build-up. But our landlord, who doesn't believe in calling repair people, insisted on replacing it with a new refrigerator - with us paying half. He was thrilled with the cheap price he got - we were less than thrilled with the obviously flimsy handle that is not going to make it to the two year mark. But then why should it? The coffee-maker that we bought didn't last that long. The light bulbs we bring home from the electrical store only work about 50% of the time; the corkscrew is broken (we're not heavy drinkers, but may soon be at this rate) the grater rusted after half a year - do they make anything of quality in this country or just import the cheapest, most toxic crap from China? But then, this is the city where the tiles on its multi-million dollar showpiece arts palace started rippling under the surface and falling off after less than 15 years, and all had to be be pulled down before someone got killed. No sign as to when/if they will be replaced. It's just bare concrete now.

Now for the pool. Last year, some part of it broke or became dysfunctional roughly every three weeks. This year it's more like every week. Our cheap landlord won't call the repair service, he insists on fixing the problem himself. His "fixes" usually last as long as it takes him to climb into his Porsche SUV and drive off to his apartment in downtown Valencia or beach apartment in Javea. As I write this, the swimming pool is overflowing for the second time this week. Personally, I no longer care. If it floods the next door neighbours' property or the ones downhill from us, they're welcome to have the landlord's phone number. But my too-kind partner is going to go into town and, assuming that the pool maintenance place is still there, not on holidays or siesta, and still providing the services it did last year, will arrange for them to come out and fix the pool at our expense.

Yesterday, was the straw that broke the camel's back. As I said, it's never the big things. We went up to another village to get some pictures framed. My partner had e-mailed the store owner to make sure they were still in business, that they still did picture framing and the hours they kept. Yesterday before we left, she double-checked on the Internet that the store was still in business. We went to the address listed. It turned out not to be a store but an apartment building with a few small stores on the ground level. None of them was a framing store. There was no sign that a framing store had ever existed there. Today my partner e-mailed the owner again to find out what the hell was going on. His response? "Oh I forgot to update the website to show we moved". Some people wonder how Valencia has fallen so far economically in the past 7-8 years. We marvel that it was ever successful in the first place! Basically, there is just no way of reliably counting on anything here.

Except of course for the rotating Metro strikes increasing. Normally the Metro from downtown Valencia to our suburb runs every half-hour - except when it doesn't. And it doesn't on Saturdays, Sunday's, the 10-14 days around Christmas, the 10-14 days around Easter, every "Saints Day" of which there are many, every other public day (of which there are many) .... in which case the Metro runs every 40 minutes. Except when it doesn't. Like this Monday when there's a planned two-hour strike. And every day after that as the strike times grow progressively longer until Friday when there is a 24-hour strike. Maybe I should be grateful that they at least announce the strike times in advance!

"But" you must be thinking "at least when there are no strikes the Metro must run quite late because Valencianos are late-night diners and drinkers?" No. Despite the fact that very few Valencia restaurants open before 9 pm and no self-respecting Valenciano would be caught dead eating dinner before 10 pm, the last Metro from downtown Valencia leaves at 10:23 (10:33 on the weekends). So no dinners for us for us in Valencia.

Of course, we could always circumvent all of this by buying a car. Well...... I'm Canadian and I have residency in Spain by virtue of being attached to a Brit. Now, if we moved to the U.K. I could exchange my Canadian licence for a British one, despite the fact that we in Canada drive on the other side of the road, have no experience with roundabouts, and I generally narrowly avoid at least 15 accidents when renting a car in England. Ditto for a quick licence exchange in Australia, where they also drive on the "wrong" side of the road. Hell, I could even exchange my licence for a new one in Japan or Korea. But in Spain, despite the fact that I have 45-years of experience in driving on the same side of the road, I have to take my theoretical and practical driver's tests - generally regarded as the most-feared and most-failed in Europe - all over again. Now, in this case, I'll admit that it's at least as much the fault of the Canadian government as the Spanish government that there are no reciprocal agreements between the two countries (technically it would actually be between the Ontario and Valencian provincial governments) still, it's all part of the absurdity of living in Valencia.

Somehow, at my age and intermediate level of Spanish, I just don't see myself passing the written test in Castillian or Valenciano. Now, I've read on various internet sites that in some parts of Spain you can apply to take the written test in English. Is Valencia one of those parts? Beats me. You certainly won't find out the answer on their website, or an e-mail address you can write to. To find out the answer I have to get on the Metro (if its running) get off at the designated stop, hopefully find the building (they tell you the four-block street that it's on but it doesn't have a specific numerical address) hope that the transportation department is still in that building and still keeps its published office hours (those things change a lot in Valencia) and then stand in line at the information desk to hopefully ask the question, understand the response (usually given in Valenciano rather than Castillian) and if the answer is favourable, hope that they have an application form available so I don't have to repeat the whole process again.

But instead we're going to pursue a simpler course - the search for a new city/country to call home has begun. Congratulations Valencia/Spain, you've ground down another ex-pat couple. We'll stay here through the summer to enjoy the weather, but anytime after that it's adios amigos.

Corruption? That doesn't even make our top 10 list for leaving the country.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,294 Posts
Great story of Valencia.
As to turn over of staff in banks, can't say for Valencia, but in Mexico where I lived for many years, the turnover was incredible. The rumour was that was to avoid the workers knowing too much about its customers.
As to light bulbs, well I have bought more of the darn things in the last three years than in ten years across the ocean. Originally, I bought inthe local Chinese bazaar, and that was bizarre, cos some lasted a week, so I went upmarket and bought in Carrefour, better but still ridiculous.
As to your comments about a driving licence, well that really has to do with our countries. My husband drove in Mexico for fifty years and I did too for over twenty five,but one has to do the closed shop which is what the driving schools are. In the UK, any driver can take you out for a bit of practise, but here, that is a no no, so one has to pay for endless classes. My husband and my daughter survived the course, although each had really rude things to say about it. I don't dare.
If you think Valencia is corrupt, check in the Spanish company OHL a busy busy company making its fortune in Mexico with the tolls on Mexican highways, natch with a happy Mexican govt.
Why don't you check out Cadiz?
The people are a cheerful bunch
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
148 Posts
I don't live there, but I can tell you how it makes me feel - sickened, disgusted, ashamed and that word that came into fashion recently, indignant.
This is exactly the kind of thing I had in mind when I started the "You couldn't make it up" thread.
Some quotes that speak volumes to me I have no doubt that if the PP were a political party intent on serving its electorate it would indeed have wiped out its Valencian branch. The fact that it hasn't should be inviting people to ask why. It would appear that the Valencian PP ers know too much, have too much power over central government to invite them to step down.

PS I think this links in with a previous post of mine (26) on the You couldn't make.... thread

PPS By coincidence I was up at 5:50 to take my daughter to the station to go to Valencia, a lovely city that goodness knows how, survives its politicians. I hope she doesn't come back with any photos of Rita Barberá, the jolly PP mayor of Valencia since 1991. No wonder she's always smiling; she must be worth a fortune!!
I wish the people of Valencia/ Spain would wake up and smell the corruption!!
It's hard to smell the corruption over the stench of the downtown sewers - another serious problem that Valencia governments can't/won't do anything about. It's bad on a number of streets and even worse in the apartments of the Carmen area.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top