Since April, Spanish mayor Angel Vadillo has camped in front of the national Ministry of Industry. Two months ago he started a hunger strike.
By now, the mayor has become visibly emaciated. But he has lost none of his resolve. “I drink eight liters of honey water every day,” he says. “That keeps me sharp.”
Vadillo is the mayor of Alburquerque, a municipality with a population of 5,500 in Extremadura in the west of Spain. For the last two decades, Alburquerque has staked its future on solar energy, and five new facilities with a capacity of 250 megawatts had been planned prior to the subsidy cuts. Now, those plans have been shelved: “That means that we will lose some 850 jobs,” says Vadillo. It is estimated that the measure will cost a total of 10,000 jobs across the country.
The mayor has long since become something of a symbol in Spain of the desperate determination with which the Spanish are fighting against the consequences of the economic crisis which has enveloped their country and the tight austerity measures imposed by the government.
… the environmental organization Greenpeace has blasted [Spain’s] subsidy cuts as a “serious historical mistake,” and several small energy suppliers have also criticized the decision. Spain’s global competitiveness, they say, has been limited in a sector in which they had been a leader. Prior to the cuts, Spain was the most attractive location worldwide for renewable energies. The subsidy slashes have caused the country to slip to 13th place.
Austerity is sociopathic and self-harming. As Spain shows, the fake asceticism of the Anglo-European austerity agenda is making our global energy supply less resilient while removing people from productive work.