Despite my carefree gadding about in my ciudad de hadas, my fairy-city of Oviedo, I’m still confronted with examples of the economic crisis in Spain (unemployment rate: 21 percent) everywhere I go.
I’ve met young españoles who are uncertain about their futures in a bleak job market. I’ve seen the unfinished construction projects that are reminders of the housing bust that is believed to have been the primary trigger of many of Spain’s economic woes. I’ve read the news, how españoles voted Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s Socialists out of power in the regional and municipal elections in favor of the conservative Popular Party, foretelling the probable drubbing of the Socialists in next year’s general elections.
The most blatant example, though, is los indignados, the protesters, who have camped out in the streets.
I was first confronted by them in the Puerta del Sol in Madrid, but I was shocked to see them ensconced in the Plaza de Escandelera in Oviedo and also in León and even more shocked when Vanessa, one of my professors of español, pointed out that protesters were entrenched in city centers all across Spain.
The group in Madrid have voted to return home, amidst organizational issues arising from their lack of coherent demands and the deteriorating conditions of the camp, purportedly to continue their activism on a more local level. Even if they don’t have much of a clear agenda besides the end of corruption and the overhauling of the political system, however, it’s definitely disquieting to see how worldwide this economic crisis is, how clouded the future is for españoles, as it is for so many other people.