Afterwards we visited La Punta, an area not far from the City of Arts and Sciences. The scene here is devastating. People have been evicted from their homes so that the Valencian government can carry out its plans to expand the local harbour. One victim of these violent evictions tells us the story of his land, which he invested in and built his house on together with his wife. For eights years they were creating their home and cultivating grounds, when the evictions were announced. His pregnant wife could not even spend the last weeks in her home before giving birth. People were forced out of their homes by the police, and occupations in support of the inhabitants were ended violently. “I want to know, why the European Union supported this construction. I demand they control their investments and see what happens with each Euro spent. Because, for me, this has destroyed my life.”
Next we met with Carles of the Coordination of development NGOs in Valencia. He requested that the EU should continue and improve its efforts in helping countries most in need and in fulfilling the millennium development goals 2015. Concrete proposals have been made by organisations fighting poverty that the EU should listen to. It is not the corporate path, but the ethics of social organisations that will help the aims of the development goals. “If Europe is not united in solidarity, it is not Europe, and it cannot construct a better world.” Carles also talked about the fact that, the poverty they fight in developing countries, is now a rising issue also in Spain and Europe itself.
At the end we visited an Assembly of la PAH Valencia, where over 100 people met united in their fight against evictions of people from their homes. La PAH is an incredibly strong movement achieving actual change, and Valencia is one of the most active within the national network. After the meeting, a small gathering of people told us that they request of the European Union to comply with the commitments it has made to human rights. Their worry is that the EU only listens to the economic interests but does not pay attention to the needs of the people. There is a great demand for social housing in Spain, but similar politics existing in other European countries are abstinent.
The ruta del despilfarro was a route of sadness and frustration. But it is also an important route to visit, because without listening to the voices of the people who have suffered from great injustices, as Rosa says, there is no chance to avoid the same stories from happening again.
See also our cartoons of the day: