Skip to main content

You'd almost think it could only happen in the social safety net lacking United States, not a welfare loving socialistic European state. But in Spain it happened repeatedly some months ago, and now it's happening again.

A 46-year-old man has killed himself in Alicante, Spain, over the threat of being evicted from his house. It was the fourth case this week in Spain of a suicide committed over an eviction.
Photobucket

It turn out that Spain has some of the harshest foreclosure and eviction laws in the industrialized world.

European Union Advocate General Juliane Kokott issued a non-binding report concluding that Spanish legislation on evictions contradicts European norms for protecting consumer rights. Europe's highest court will rule on the issue.
So crazy that in many cases, after you've been foreclosed on and evicted, the banks can still come after you for the rest of your life for what you "owe" them.
Under Spanish law, even when borrowers turn over their homes to the bank, they still owe the entire amount of the mortgage.
And so the anguish continues.
On Tuesday, a retired couple took their lives by taking an overdose of prescription drugs in their apartment on the island of Majorca, AP reported. The 68-year-old man and the 67-year-old woman left a note saying they were going to lose their home due to debt. The couple’s son found their bodies.
Spaniards have been up in arms protesting these draconian laws for some time now, and the current conservative Government promised reforms. But legislation that was enacted last year has no teeth, only preventing evictions of people if they are in the direst of dire straights and meet stringent requirements.
Families who fail to keep up payments on home loans must also meet other conditions to qualify for the protection from the banks ((under the new law)). They must have at least three children or a child under three years, or be taking care of a dependent who is disabled, or be unemployed and not receiving benefits, to name a few stipulations.
 

No one thought to ask Basauri Vizcaya how dire the straights were he found himself in as he became despair's fourth victim.

And at the beginning of the week, a 56-year-old man committed suicide in the town of Basauri Vizcaya because he couldn't pay his mortgage.
Now protesters are rallying for parliament to consider a "people's legislative initiative" for a new mortage law.

Photobucket
Anti-eviction activists protest in front of Popular Party's office in Barcelona, February 12 (Reuters / Albert Gea)

Public outcry against evictions this week led Spain's parliament to accept ((for consideration)) a popular initiative against mortgage-related evictions for unpaid debts...

The Popular Legislative Initiative (ILP), promoted by the citizen movement Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH) (Platform for those Affected by Mortgage), is backed by nearly a million-and-a-half signatures.

It calls for "payment in kind," meaning that a person’s debts are written off once they have surrendered their home, and wants this to apply retroactively. It also wants a moratorium on evictions, and the creation of social housing with homes confiscated by banks.

The conservative Government agreed to consider the proposal "in extremis" due to increasing social pressure, but would obviously be loathe to enact such legislation.
It remains to be seen whether the measures proposed in the ILP will be incorporated unchanged into a bill on the same subject which is already passing through the parliament...

Some in economic circles oppose payment in kind, arguing it will make credit more expensive and hurt the financial system.

Spain as a whole continues to be in deep shit, not just with respect to housing, but in every sector of the economy.
Unemployment is now affecting a whopping 26.2 percent of the workforce in Spain, even as there are drastic cuts in key areas such as health and education.
The total failure of its economic policies has (finally!) led the government to say that they might do something, pulling back just a tad on some of their austerity measures.
Mr. Rajoy ((Spain's Prime Minister)) has signaled he might ease up somewhat on the austerity push. He said last week that his government will continue to extend benefits for the long-term unemployed for as long as the unemployment rate stays above 20%. He also said it would extend a plan offering financial assistance for new car purchases.
Yup. A new car is just the thing for all those middle-aged unemployed workers tossed out of their homes. But even with that massive anti-austerity measure in the works
Most analysts expect the first quarter of 2013 to be nearly as bad for the Spanish economy as the previous three months... "Looking ahead, we forecast GDP to contract through 2013..."
Meanwhile, as government ministers ponder and pontificate
Protesters gathered outside parliament on Tuesday evening, shouting slogans such as "It's not eviction, it's murder."
It's time Spain's politicians started listening to their people. It's time for austerity, and despair, to end.

-----

Related:

Is This What It Must Come To To Stop the Banksters

Wells Fargo Has Blood On Its Hands


Originally posted to jpmassar on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 03:27 PM PST.

Also republished by Progressive Policy Zone, Occupy Wall Street, and ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site