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The parents of Antonio Meo,
who was left in a coma during a
rhinoplasty operation in 1989, re-
ceived the news they have been
fighting 21 years to hear when
they attended a Supreme Court
hearing with their son yesterday.
Meos family had its case
against the Nuestra Seora de
Amrica clinic thrown out of the
Supreme Court in 2008 and was
ordered to pay 400,000 in costs.
The clinic had claimed Meo
choked on his own vomit.
However, newevidence of mal-
practice against the clinics anes-
thetist from a doctor present dur-
ing the operationhas ledthe Attor-
ney General to demand that the
ruling be reviewed in the top
court, citing evidence of fraudu-
lent machination.
A decision on a possible retrial
is expected in 10 days.
The government yesterday in-
voked a constitutional amend-
ment to keep the oppositionfrom
presenting measures in Congress
that go against its plans to freeze
retirement pensions.
The parliamentary move
caused an outcry from the main
opposition Popular Party, which
accused the government of vio-
lating the basic elements of our
Under the Constitution, the
government can veto any parlia-
mentary measures that call for
either hikes or drops in public
spending. The strategy has only
been used once before, by Social-
ist Prime Minister Felipe
Gonzlezs government, but it
caused such a scandal that it was
withdrawn. Prime Minister Jos
Luis Rodrguez Zapateros gov-
ernment has invoked it more
than 60 times.
It was seen as a face-saving
move to keep the Basque Nation-
alist Party (PNV) and Canaries
Coalition (CC), who both have
agreed to side with the Socialists
in passing the 2011 budget, from
having to publicly cast votes in
favor of pension freezes.
PP parliamentary spokesmen
Cristbal Montoro and Vicente
Martnez Pujalte, charged that
the government was trampling
on the rights of the deputies in
Surprised lawmakers found
out about it during the middle of
a budget committee debate over
which amendments to include.
Before a final vote was taken, a
message arrived informing the
committee that the Cabinet last
Friday approved invoking Sec-
tion 134.6 of the Constitution,
which states: Any non-govern-
mental bill or amendment that
involves anincrease in appropria-
tions or a decrease in budget rev-
enue shall require previous ap-
proval by the government.
Francisco Fernndez
Marugn, the Socialist spokes-
man on the committee, said that
it was perfectly legal. The PP has
said that it wont rule out chal-
lenging the move before the Con-
stitutional Court.
Supreme Court ordered
to review coma case
Maneuver stops votes
against pension freezes
Government invokes veto under constitutional clause
Universities Pages 4 & 5
Ana Patricia Botn, chairman of
Spanish bank Banesto, will leave
her post to take over Santander
UK, financial sources said yester-
day. The move follows the an-
nouncement that Antonio Horta-
Osorio, the head of Banco
Santanders British affiliate, will
be joining Lloyds Banking Group
as its CEO. The 46-year-old Portu-
guese native had led Santanders
expansion in Britain including
buying up Abbey, Alliance & Le-
icester and parts of Bradford &
Botn, the 50-year-old daugh-
ter of Grupo Santander executive
chairman Emilio Botn, had been
head of Banesto since 2002. Con-
sidered by The Financial Times as
the second most-influential wom-
an in Europe, Botn was instru-
mental in getting the institution
listedonthe Ibex 35. Her post will
go to former Unin Fenosa presi-
dent Antonio Basagoiti Garca-
Tun, father of the Basque Popu-
lar Party leader Antonio Basagoi-
Moroccan Foreign Affairs Minis-
ter Taieb Fassi-Fihri on Wednes-
day attacked the excesses of the
Spanish press and justified the
ban on journalists from the Ag-
daym Izik Sahrawi protestors
campoutside Layoune, the West-
ern Saharan capital.
In a tense press conference,
held jointly in Madrid with his
Spanish counterpart Trinidad
Jimnez, the minister criticized
members of the Spanish press
who confuse their wishes with
reality. He added that it had
been decided to deny the press
access to the camp for reasons of
security and to preserve the dia-
logue with representatives of the
20,000 Sahrawis within.
But, as has been reported, sur-
rounded by Moroccan police and
soldiers, the camp suffers no secu-
rity problems, while dialogue
with its governing committee is
non-existent as it refuses to begin
talks with Rabat until it lifts the
military blockade and grants
free access to the foreign press.
Jimnez, in her first meeting
with Fassi-Fihri since taking over
the Foreign Ministry, said she did
not share her counterparts view
on restrictions, but did respect it.
Spains colleges
seek a cut of
budgetary cloth
Antonio Meo and his parents in the Supreme Court yesterday, where their malpractice case was reopened after new evidence emerged. / efe
Ana Botn takes
over Santanders
British division
Moroccan minister
attacks Spanish
press on Madrid trip
M. G. / I. C., Madrid EL PAS, Madrid
2 EL PAS, Thursday, November 4, 2010
drooping spirits of the Socialist rank and
file somewhat, the oppositionPopular Par-
ty has modified its inflexible determina-
tion to say and do as little as possible. It
has substituted Zapatero (ZP) withZapate-
ro-Rubalcaba (ZR) as the object of its at-
tacks; and has offered a few clues as to
what it will do if it wins the elections. Mari-
ano Rajoy chose an interview with EL
PAS to let the public knowthat the type of
program he would implement to cope
with the crisis will resemble that of Brit-
ish Prime Minister David Cameron, and
mentioned some recently enacted Spanish
laws that he proposes to change if he ends
up with a majority at the next elections.
The PPs strategy of immobility is
based on its perception that the partys
present advantage in the opinion polls
owes less to a shift of votes toward the
conservative camp, thanto the demobiliza-
tion of the center-left vote, lukewarm and
inclinedto abstentionandonthe percep-
tion that crisis-driven adjustment mea-
sures have caused massive losses of votes
for those who proposed them. Cameron
lost points in the opinion polls when he
announced a few such measures, though
he avoided specifying their real extent,
which was more drastic than anyone had
But the accusation that he lacked any
program other than Resign, Mr Zapate-
ro has at last pressed on a weak point in
Rajoy: his limited credibility. It is not exact-
ly an impression of solidity that he con-
veys when he speaks of economics, and
his economic expert, Cristbal Montoro, is
in no way comparable to Rodrigo Rato, for
example. Faced with a choice between the
accusation of lacking an anti-crisis pro-
gramand that of having one but keeping it
under wraps, he has opted to reveal some
proposals, albeit in very sketchy terms.
He criticized the fact that Zapatero has
focused on cutbacks in civil service sala-
ries, public works and pensions, but does
not say where he would cut the budget,
given that he accepts the priority of reduc-
ing the deficit. And he barely touched on
the dilemma (the axis of debate inall coun-
tries) between this priority and that of
maintaining the stimulus measures for re-
covery. He said that a tax cut may produce
more income, though Cameron raised val-
ue-added tax as soon as he arrived in
Downing Street.
In the area of social rights, Rajoy says
he would correct the abortion law
against which his party has already ap-
pealed where it gives pregnant minors
the last word when it comes to a termina-
tion. It is not to his taste that a same-sex
union be called a marriage, which was
also the view of the Council of State. But
rather than saying that he will accept
what the Constitutional Court decides on
the matter when it eventually rules on
the appeal filed by the PP he persisted in
his announced intention of modifying the
text of the law, despite this being a stance
that has already caused complaints in
some sectors of his own party.
This is an example of what the PP has
so far tried to avoid: having to specify mea-
sures which reveal that if it wins, it will
bring in cutbacks more drastic than those
that have driven down the Socialists rat-
ings in the opinion polls. And that is some-
thing that may well awaken a part of the
Socialist electorate.
Rajoy tells us
where he stands
The PP decides to show some of its cards,
at the risk of losing voter support
The new foreign minister,
Trinidad Jimnez, has al-
ready aired her views
about the Western Sahara.
But it is not true, Minister,
to claim that the dialogue
between the Moroccan au-
thorities and the 20,000
Sahrawis who are refugees
in their own land has born
fruit, nor is there a solu-
tion right now. Nor can it
be claimed that the two
sides the Polisario Front
and Morocco need to be
helped to reach a realistic
solution, when she only
goes as far as to express sor-
rowover, but not condemn,
the vile murder of a 14-year-
old Sahrawi child last week
at the hands of the Moroc-
can army. What is a realis-
tic agreement for you? Mo-
rocco is putting obstacles
in the way of negotiations
withits everlasting intransi-
gent posture interms of the
right of the Sahrawis to self-
determination. Morocco is
stopping water and food
fromentering the GdeimIz-
ik camp, as well as stop-
ping the foreign press from
hearing the demands of the
Sahrawi people first-
hand. Salamu Hamudi
Bachri. Mlaga.
to the Editor
Ignacio Polanco
Juan Luis Cebrin
Jess Ceberio & Jos ngel Garca Olea
Javier Moreno
Vicente Jimnez & Llus Bassets
James Badcock
Letters submitted to this sec-
tion should not exceed 20
typed lines. It is imperative that
each one is signed and is com-
plete with an address, tele-
phone number and DNI or
passport number of the au-
thor. EL PAS reserves the right
to publish such pieces, either
in shortened version or as an
extract when it is considered
opportune. Unless otherwise
stated, original letters will not
be returned, nor will informa-
tion be made available about
them by mail or by phone.
Email: iht@elpais.es
A sort of contrary symmetry is appar-
ent in two important elections in the
Western world. On Sunday the Brazil-
ians elected Dilma Rousseff, though
voting in spirit for Lula da Silva; while
on Tuesday many Americans voted for
this or that congressman or senator,
but always against Obama. The Brazil-
ians were applauding their countrys
aspirations as a major power, while
the Americans were casting ballots for
a regression in their countrys position
of world leadership.
These countries seem to be moving
in opposite directions on the see-saw
of power. The aim of Lula, and of his
successors even of the opposition
candidate Jos Serra is probably no
more than that of exercising a soft lead-
ership in Latin America, understood as
an interest bloc transcending ideolo-
gies. More directly physical is the de-
cay of the US as a hyper-power, though
this must be qualified, given that on
the strictly military level, even without
resort to its nuclear weapons, Washing-
ton is stronger than all the Euro-Asiat-
ic powers, separately or together. The
world into which Brazil is insinuating
itself is, on the contrary, a multi-polar
one of China, Russia, India, Japan and
an ineffective EU.
Obama was elected to clean up the
economic mess and to restore Ameri-
cas international face after the fiasco
of Bush II, but we cannot really blame
the previous president for this decay.
He only exposed it to view by over-
straining the machine behind its unaf-
fordable pretensions. Withdrawal is
now a material necessity, due not so
much to mistakes in Central Asia as to
the lack of political will to reign while
paying the price in treasure, reputa-
tion and opinion that this would re-
This is why Obama may be seen as
the initiator of a great scaling-down of
American world responsibilities in the
middle and long term. The Iraq war,
whenever the withdrawal may take
place, has already been lost. It is hard
to see how Iraq, now deprived of its
criminal but unifying kingpin, the Sun-
nism of Saddam Hussein, can ever be
fully sovereign; and its unstable amal-
gam of Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds will
have to accept some tutelary power,
which can now only be conceived as
Tehran. And in Afghanistan the best
that can happen for Washington is the
consolidation of a Kabul government
that is not openly friendly to Al Qaeda.
American influence in Central Asia is
It is not just Iran that is drawing
conclusions from the withdrawal. Chi-
na is ever less ready to yield ground in
any area of negotiation (human rights,
trade) with the United States. India
fears that Obama may recognize for
Pakistan a decisive voice in Afghani-
stan, and for this reason is seeking a
role of its own in the country. Turkeys
careful investment in Middle Eastern
alliances (Arab world going up, Israel
down) is also a reflection of howWash-
ingtons influence is lost or disused. So
is the defiant stance that Benjamin Net-
anyahu has been showing to Barack
Obama in his non-negotiations with
the Palestinian Authority.
In the vacuum of American foreign
policy for Latin America, Lula has seen
an opportunity. And those observers
are mistaken who with a haste that
betrays their irritation at Brazils new
pretensions have emphasized the
lack of hard results in Brazilian inter-
vention in the Iranian nuclear problem
and its standing offer to mediate in Pal-
Lula only wished to show the flag,
to tell us all that no problem in the
world is the exclusive property of
Washington, and that Tehran may well
make some concession when the inter-
locutor is the right one. It was a way of
announcing here I am. The Brazilian
leader has said so in unequivocal
terms: We cannot be subordinate.
Over the next 10 or 15 years, we have to
be daring. The years of the beginning
of the American withdrawal.
A realistic solution?
Sunrise, sunset
The press is supplying less information and more ammunition.
EL PAS, Thursday, November 4, 2010 3
They go from playing with dolls
to caring for a real baby. Some
young girls experience mother-
hood before becoming women
themselves. The recent case of a
baby born to a 10-year-old girl in
Jerez de la Frontera is an ex-
treme example of a trend that ex-
perts say is on the rise.
The Seville attorneys office is
investigating the Jerez case to es-
tablish if the 10-year-old was go-
ing to school and if she went to
the doctor during the latter
months of her pregnancy. If not,
her parents can be held account-
able for neglect. The mayor of
Lebrija, where the child lives,
said her parents, who are Roma-
nian, are preventing social work-
ers from entering the family
home to check on the child, the
baby and the father, who is alleg-
edly also a minor. The 10-year-old
was already pregnant when she
arrived in Spain with her parents
a fewmonths ago. Both the babys
mother and father had a consent-
ing relationship back in Romania,
the family alleges.
A child who gives birth faces
major physical and psychological
risks. These cases also represent
a failure of immigrant integration
anda challenge for social andedu-
cational services. They can also
conceal situations of abuse, and
raise concerns about the ability of
the new grandparents to care for
the newborn due to their proven
incapacity to provide proper care
for their own children.
In 2008 (the most recent year
for which figures are available),
178 girls under 15 gave birth, ac-
cording to the National Statistics
Institute (INE). Since 1990, the
number has never been below
80. To this the nearly 500 preg-
nancies that ended in abortion
must be added. The year 2008 al-
so registered the greatest rise in
underage mothers since 1990,
which experts say proves this is a
growing trend.
Analysts also consider that the
growing immigrant community
in Spain has a lot to do with these
figures, and statistics suggest
they are right. In 2008, 178 babies
were born to underage mothers.
Of these, 68 were foreigners,
some 38 percent. Yet foreign teen
girls barely represented 15 per-
cent of the 10- to 14-year-old fe-
male population in Spain that
year. This overrepresentation is
also evident in the figures for un-
wanted pregnancies that end in
abortion: 47 percent of girls un-
der 15 who terminated pregnan-
cies in 2008 were not Spanish.
The INE has forecast that in
2019 there will be 1,047 babies
born to mothers under 15 (com-
pared with an estimated 218 by
the end of this year). It doesnt
meanits necessarily going to hap-
pen, but rather that it will happen
if current behavioral trends con-
tinue, said an INE spokesman.
Statistics aside, another impor-
tant consideration is the potential
physical, psychological and social
risks associated with early preg-
nancies although experts dis-
agree on the physical problems.
It all depends on the girls devel-
opment, says Javier Martnez
Salmen, head of the gynecology
department at Severo Ochoa Hos-
pital in Legans, Madrid. If her
development is complete and the
minor has been well cared for,
there doesnt have to be any com-
plication. The president of the
Spanish Society of Gynecologists
and Obstetricians, Jos Manuel
Bajo, agrees and explains the
risks depend on when the child
had her first menstruation,
which in Spain occurs from nine
onwards. Until a year or two af-
ter that, however, there is usually
no ovulation, which means [the
girl] is not yet fertile, adds Bajo.
According to INEfigures, how-
ever, only 12 out of the 178 under-
age deliveries in 2008 were com-
pletely normal. The other child
mothers had complications dur-
ing pregnancy or delivery or
both. Other studies showthe still-
born rate for mothers under 17 is
triple that for the 20-29 age
range. The risks to the baby can
include malformations, blind-
ness, cerebral palsy and mental
retardation. If the mother has
not completed her own develop-
ment, or if she lacks a proper nu-
trition for her age and condition,
the risks can be serious, says the
gynecologist Manuel Alonso.
There is no doubt, however,
about the psychological and so-
cial problems of early mother-
hood. Aminors body may be pre-
pared to host a baby, but a little
girl is not mentally ready to be a
mother, says Carolina Fernn-
dez, a child psychologist. In many
cases, the grandparents end up
taking charge of the baby as
though it were their own child.
The girl from Jerez does not
have an easy life ahead. Margari-
ta Delgado, of the Superior Coun-
cil of Scientific Research (CSIC)
and author of the report Teenage
Motherhood in Spain, says that
becoming a teen mother without
intending to has long- as well as
short-term effects. These wom-
en have fewer studies, enter the
job market later and their senti-
mental relationships are more
fragile, she says.
The life that awaits a 10-year-old mom
Seville authorities investigate case of immigrant minor from Jerez who gave
birth bUnderage mothers face serious psychological risks, experts say
Portugals Assembly of the Re-
public on Wednesday passed
the austerity state budget for
next year as the opposition So-
cial Democrat Party (PSD) ab-
stained at the vote.
After several rounds of
tough negotiations during
which at one point the PSD
walked out of the talks the
minority Socialist govern-
ment and the main opposition
party finally agreed details of
the spending and revenue-
raising plans for next year
over the weekend.
With 97 members in the
230-member assembly, the So-
cialists need the backing of
the PSDs 81 members to get
the bill through parliament.
The budget calls for 4.5
billion in spending cuts and a
controversial hike in the val-
ue-added tax rate to 23 per-
cent from 21 percent to re-
duce the deficit froma project-
ed 7.3 percent of GDP this
year to 4.6 percent in 2011.
After having overcome
this battle, Prime Minister
Jos Scrates said in refer-
ence to the vote, the country
now needs to concentrate on
successfully executing the
budget to safeguard Portugal
frombecoming a victimof the
international financial crisis.
The US Supreme Court on
Monday refused to hear the
case of an American lawyer
who was suspected of taking
part in the 2004 Madrid train
bombings and had chal-
lenged the US governments
surveillance law.
Brandon Mayfield of Port-
land, Oregon was arrested as
a witness following the bomb-
ings when FBI officials mis-
takenly concluded that finger-
prints at the Madrid crime
scene matched his. Authori-
ties planted listening devices
in his office and home, and
tapped his phone calls.
After Spanish authorities
said the fingerprints be-
longed to an Algerian terror-
ist, the US government paid
Mayfield a $2-million settle-
ment. The lawyer also tried to
get parts of the US 1978 For-
eign Intelligence Surveillance
Act declared illegal. In refus-
ing to hear the case, the top
court allowed a lower courts
ruling that the government
had settled the case to stand.
The March 11, 2004 bomb-
ings claimed 191 lives and
caused more than 2,000 inju-
Medical risks. The physical
complications depend on the
minors level of development.
They can range from the risk
of miscarriage to problems
with the future development
of the baby. The majority of
births are carried out by
cesarean section.
Social risks. Unplanned
teenage pregnancies bring
adverse social consequences.
Young mothers generally
attain a lower level of study,
enter the labor market later in
life and experience more
fragile personal relationships.
Immigrants. There is a
overrepresentation of
immigrants in the teenage
pregnancy rate. In 2008, 38
percent of mothers under 15
were foreigners, even though
that year foreign teenage girls
barely represented 15 percent
of Spains 10- to 14-year-old
female population. The same
year, 47 percent of girls under
15 who terminated their
pregnancies were not Spanish.
approves 2011
state budget
US top court
declines to
hear Madrid
bombing case
Underage pregnancy: the consequences
EL PAS, Madrid
The actress Ellen Page (l) in a scene from Juno, directed by Jason Reitman, a film about the life of a teenage girl who falls pregnant.
EL PAS, Madrid
Her body may be
prepared, but a little
girl is not mentally
ready to be a mother
4 EL PAS, Thursday, November 4, 2010
Chronically underfunded and
with many of their best and
brightest teaching staff already
lured abroad, Spains universi-
ties now face further cuts that
will drastically curtail research,
as well as new working practic-
es that will see academics put
on short-term contracts.
State universities are being
forced to cut costs further, as
their budgets are squeezed by a
government looking to reduce
spending in order to bring
Spains budget deficit back into
line with European Union rules
and bolster market confidence
along the way. Universities in
Valencia have had their budgets
frozen for the last three years; in
Catalonia, some 60 million has
been cut over the last two years;
in Galicia, a 5.5-percent spend-
ing cut has been imposed this
year, while in Madrid the figure
is 3.8 percent. Next year will see
even bigger cuts.
At the same time, Spanish
universities are struggling to
adapt to the requirements of the
Bologna Process, which aims to
standardize degree programs
throughout the EU. In reality
this has meant that teaching
staff are taking on a greater
workload at a time when more
and more young people are ap-
plying to university either to
weather the economic storm, or
to attain better qualifications in
the hope of finding a job as the
youth unemployment rate hov-
ers around 45 percent. Educa-
tion Minister ngel Gabilondo
said in September that atten-
dance rates would return to the
highs of the 1990s, at around 1.6
million. The crisis comes at a
time when universities are be-
ing called on to lead the change
toward a knowledge-oriented
economy, something that gov-
ernments since the 1980s have
paid lip service to, but systemati-
cally failed to implement.
In response to the cutbacks,
Spains universities are telling
the government to put its mon-
ey where its mouth is. Josep
Joan Moreso, the rector of Bar-
celonas Pompeu Fabra Universi-
ty, publicly called on regional
governments to adjust their ex-
pectations of the universities
contribution to improving the
economy to the resources they
are prepared to put into them.
A government review of uni-
versity funding in 2006 called
for some 2.4 billion to be spent
overall if Spains universities are
to reach the level of other ad-
vanced countries. Not a single
Spanish university features
among the worlds top 100. In-
stead, spending has been cut.
It is almost impossible for us
to join the ranks of other univer-
sities more competitive systems
and to add value to the change
in our economic model [...] with-
out applying the necessary finan-
cial resources, warned Juan
Juli, the rector of Valencia Poly-
technic in late September.
The Education Ministry has
known for some time that that
2.4 billion is not going to be
found anytime soon. Instead, it
has been proposing to lay the
foundations for change over a
three-year period. Meanwhile, it
intends to accelerate austerity
plans, and to improve efficien-
cy. The main change that it
says needs to be addressed is to
cut back on less-popular degree
A recently created commis-
sion to oversee university spend-
ing cuts says that the number of
study programs at degree and
masters level needs to be re-
duced by eliminating those with
the lowest standards or that are
least popular. We need to ap-
prove a quality model to reduce
the number of masters pro-
grams in Spain, it says. The
idea, adds Juan Jos Moreno,
the director general of the Edu-
cation Ministrys university poli-
cy department, is to put the
least-popular degree programs
in a single campus, or to orga-
nize a good masters programbe-
tween different universities.
But the idea has so far not
prospered. The Education Minis-
trys latest report on the subject
of financing pointed out that
Spain had not taken advantage
of the requirements of the Bolo-
gna Process to trim down de-
gree programs. In 2007, there
were some 3,300 degree and
masters programs on offer; this
year, there are more than 4,700.
The governments conclu-
sions as to why action has not
been taken to reduce the num-
ber of programs makes for dis-
turbing reading. In managing
our universities, it is much
more important that the inter-
nal interests such as those of
pressure groups, specialist de-
partments and other groups are
met than meeting the needs of
society. It adds: Regional gov-
ernments also prioritize keep-
ing the peace by ceding to pres-
sure from the universities.
The commissions first task
will be to carry out a survey to
assess which saving plans out-
lined in the governments recom-
mendations are being imple-
mented. It says its findings will
be ready early this month and
that reducing the number of uni-
versity programs depends on
the regional governments and
the universities themselves.
Some effort has been made in
Catalonia and Madrid, and the
Ministry has put together a plan
to establish a ranking of mas-
ters programs indicating their
pros and cons.
Federico Gutirrez-Solana,
the president of the Conference
of Rectors of Spanish Universi-
ties (CRUE), and the rector of
Cantabria University, says that
while better planning is needed,
Why Spains places of learning are
condemned to a future of yearning
Already underfunded, colleges face fresh cutbacks amid surge in attendance
Spanish universities
are struggling to
adapt to the EUs
Bologna Process
It is impossible
for us to compete
without the
necessary funding
EL PAS, Thursday, November 4, 2010 5
along with better use of resourc-
es and a reduction in the num-
ber of degree programs, any ac-
tion needs to be the result of
careful consideration. He says
that spending on teaching and
research must be maintained.
We need the political ability to
see that education and research
is the most fruitful investment
for the future.
Moreno says that regional
governments will have no
choice but to cut university fund-
ing, but that the question is
whether this can be done by bet-
ter use of resources, or what he
calls reasonable cuts.
But what is a reasonable
cut? That depends on each uni-
versity. An old university with a
long-established staff isnt in the
same situation as a new one,
where costs are going to be low-
er, Moreno answers.
In other words, it is a ques-
tion of size. In the northwest of
the country, the Galician region-
al government has asked its
three public universities to
come up with their own spend-
ing cuts, which include cutting
back staff. The University of
Oviedo, in neighboring Asturias,
has refused to cut personnel,
while in Castilla y Len, region-
al deputy Juan Jos Mateos has
raised the issue. The reality in
most regions is that universities
are reducing spending by not re-
newing contracts from visiting
teaching staff, or by not replac-
ing them when they retire.
Juan Vzquez, the former
head of CRUE, says that there is
no getting away from the fact
that for most universities the
only way to reduce spending is
by reducing their wage bill. Fur-
thermore, this is made very
hard to do because most hold
civil service posts; whats more,
the rigors of the Bologna Pro-
cess and an increase in student
numbers actually means more
staff are needed.
Thus, university lecturers
have seen their teaching work-
load increased, says Mart Paral-
lada, a professor at Barcelona
University, and the author of the
yearly report of the Foundation
for Knowledge and Develop-
ment. The austerity plan ap-
proved by Madrids Com-
plutense University this sum-
mer is clear enough: Better or-
ganization and spreading teach-
ing workloads will allow for
teaching staff numbers to be re-
The Complutense is not the
only university finally facing up
to harsh realities. Barcelonas
Pompeu Fabra, which was
counting on a budget of 62 mil-
lion between 2009 and 2011
from the regional government
of Catalonia, will find it difficult
to pay back the money it bor-
rowed to pay for ambitious ex-
pansion plans, its rector has ex-
The problem of how best to
manage the universities financ-
es is made more difficult by the
lack of recent data. Based on fig-
ures from 2008, Juan Hernn-
dez Armenteros, a leading ex-
pert on the subject, drew up a
list last year of the institutions
that faced the biggest hurdles.
Among them were the Com-
plutense and the Pompeu Fabra,
along with Zaragoza, Burgos,
Len, Salamanca, La Rioja, the
Pablo Olavide in Andalusia, the
Catalonia Polytechnic, Alicante,
Jaume I, Valencias Polytechnic
and its University, Santiago de
Compostela, Vigo, and the
Basque Country University.
The specialists say that the
universities will weather the
current financial storm, albeit
by accruing heavy debts. The re-
al question is whether they will
be able to face the challenges of
the Bologna Process, and be-
come the much-vaunted motor
that will drive Spains post-con-
struction-boom economy. At the
same time, they face being rele-
gated yet further by other Euro-
pean universities, where spend-
ing is being increased, as well as
from institutions in emerging
economic forces such as India,
China and Russia.
Vctor Manuel Fernndez is the
head of the Department of Pre-
history at Madrids Complutense
University. Opening the door to
his tiny, cramped office, which
has a huge crack running down
one wall, he smiles wearily:
Welcome to the university of
the future. We squeeze past a
pile of magazines that cant be
posted because there is no mon-
ey to pay for the stamps. He
doesnt need telling to pull his
belt in: Theres no more savings
to be made here, he says.
Fernndez says he lacks even
the most basic things: there are
no printer cartridges, and the
photocopy paper is fast running
out. Once it is gone, there will be
no more until the 2011 budget is
implemented. Some teachers
want to hide what little paper
we have left, he says. Annual
funding for his department,
which has 18 lecturers, has fall-
en from27,000 to 12,000 since
last year. We can hardly afford
to buy books.
Each of the teaching staff
now has around 55 a month to
cover office and admin costs,
says Fernndez. He has man-
aged to put off the phone compa-
ny until next year, but office ma-
terials have to be paid for within
30 days.
Things arent much better
over in the Department of Geog-
raphy and History. We have to
juggle our finances, explains
Luis Enrique Otero, the dean of
studies. He says he has lost 40
percent of his budget over the
last two years. Spaniards are
not aware of the contribution
that the education system
makes to this country, he says
ona tour of the nine-storey facul-
ty, which is in need of repairs,
and does not even meet EU safe-
ty requirements.
The door to the Prehistory de-
partments laboratory has no
frame on it. Dozens of boxes are
piled up inside. We produce
some high-level research, but
this laboratory is a disgrace, he
complains, adding that he is
now looking for private funding
to build a new one.
The Complutense is Spains
largest university; it is also
chronically underfunded. The
dean, Carlos Berzosa, blames the
regional government of Madrid,
which has frozen a 290-million
spending plan it had drawn up
with six other public universi-
ties, of which 118 million was
supposed to go to the Com-
The regional government
says the Complutenses adminis-
tration does not know how to
manage its money despite the
university implementing its own
austerity plan in June. Among
the measures will be an end to
overtime and bonuses, no supply
teachers to cover absences, rent-
ing out facilities, and reducing
staff, all with the aim of saving
15 million so it can pay its bills.
Across Madrids public uni-
versities, the story is the same:
Alcal now closes for the holi-
days, the Autnoma is trying to
reduce its electricity bill by in-
stalling solar panels, the King
Juan Carlos has installed light
timers, and the Polytechnic is
looking into renewable energy.
All say that they have cut staff.
In the rest of Spain it is no
different: the University of Len
is reducing safety and cleaning
contracts, as well as putting
meters on telephones, and cut-
ting back on travel costs for staff.
The Miguel Hernndez Universi-
ty inElche, Alicante, is saving in
every area that it can, says
Jess Rodrguez Marn, the
Spains universities occupy 10th
position in a list of 52 in terms of
scientific output, but 21st place
when it comes to measuring the
impact of their research, accord-
ing to Scimago Institutions Rank-
ing (SIR), the most comprehen-
sive research ranking world-
wide. SIR has surveyed 2,789 of
the worlds most important edu-
cational and research institu-
tions on the basis of papers they
have published.
The conclusion that SIR
draws is that while Spain un-
doubtedly produces a great deal
of research, not much of it is of
any use. Specifically, SIR says
that Spains universities are rea-
sonably strong in basic sciences
and engineering, but weak in hu-
manities and social sciences.
More than three-quarters of the
basic scientific research that
Spanish universities produce is
cited internationally, while just
12 percent of social sciences and
humanities material is. SIRs re-
port also looks at life and health
sciences. Taking into account the
average score for each of the four
areas, no Spanish university is
among the top institutions. That
said, just 25 percent of them are
belowthe average score. In other
words, in soccer terms, Spanish
universities are firmly inthe mid-
dle of the league table.
The challenge that Spains uni-
versities nowface is howto trans-
formquantity into quality; a task
that will be made more difficult
due to the current economic cri-
sis. A look over SIRs survey of-
fers some clues.
The first aspect that stands
out is that five of the universities
with the biggest impact are in
Catalonia. They are the Pompeu
Fabra, Barcelona, Barcelonas
Autnoma, the Rovira, and the
Virgili y Lleida. Andreu Mas-
Colell, an economist and the
former secretary general of the
European ResearchCouncil, says
that whatever the reason why
Catalonia leads the pack, it has
nothing to do with having ac-
cess to more money and resourc-
es. Felix de Moya, who worked
on the SIR report, highlights one
key factor: the creation of clus-
ters, top-level research centers
close to hospitals, with which
they work closely. Of Spains 17
top research centers that meet
this criterion, 10 are in Catalonia.
Better coordination between
academic institutions, along
with more focused funding is
what the governments Campus
de Excelencia Internacional
project aims to achieve, with the
goal of getting at least one univer-
sity into the ranking of the top
100 universities around the
world. Science Minister Cristina
Garmendia has promised extra
funding for universities that earn
international recognition.
But De Moya points out that
there are many models to choose
from, and many ways to improve
Spains international scorecard.
The countries that sit highest in
the research rankings (the Unit-
ed States and the United King-
dom, for example) also have a
considerable number way down
in the list. But countries like the
Netherlands and Switzerland,
where universities are not
among the very top, all tend to
register a similar score.
We can hardly afford books
Departments search desperately for ways to balance budgets
Research: quantity not quality
Some of our
teachers want to
hide what little
paper we have left
J. A. U., Madrid
Vctor Fernndez of the Complutenses Prehistory department. / l. s.
Regional authorities
avoid decisions by
ceding to pressure
from the universities
An old university
with an established
staff has it harder
than a new one
Students having lunch
outside a faculty of Madrids
Complutense University, one
of the institutions hit hard by
cuts to funding. / santi burgos
6 EL PAS, Thursday, November 4, 2010
Rough Seas
Heavy swell
Slight swell
A Corua
Oviedo Santander
Huesca Girona
Palma de
Ciudad Real
Crdoba Jan
Ceuta Melilla
San Sebastin Toulouse
Las Palmas
de Gran Canaria
S. C. Tenerife
He works between 50 and 120
hours per week, like Mourin-
ho, he notes. He rises at 6am
and doesnt have breakfast until
he fires up the computer in his
office at the Bernabu to check
the weather forecast. Then he
has just a coffee, not the tradition-
al English breakfast.
Paul Burgess has just one ob-
session: it is 105 meters long, 74
meters wide and its green: the
pitch at the Santiago Bernabu.
Burgess job is to keep it in per-
fect condition all season long in
order to withstand a herd of buf-
falo with aluminum hooves. But
there are other threats to his pris-
tine baize carpet; in September,
shoots began to appear and Jos
Mourinho, Reals coach, pointed
out that it was not easy to play on
a potato patch. The English
groundsman decided to change
the entire pitch before the tubers
could lay down roots.
I worked without sleep be-
tween Tuesday and Thursday,
Burgess says. The operation re-
quired 484 separate clods of turf,
which cost 200,000 and were
imported from the Dutch-Ger-
man border. The pitch has taken
on a fresh vibrancy, with the
grass breathing and a fine layer
of sand in place to compact the
new pieces of turf.
Elected Groundsman of the
Year five times in England, Bur-
gess left Arsenal for Real Madrid
in 2009. He spent the rest of the
season observing how things
were done. The way of working,
the composition of the turf, it
was all a disaster, he recalls.
The following year, he got hands-
on. He changed the pitch from
top to bottom; the drainage
pipes, the heating system, the irri-
gation and then a good stratum
of sand and organic material. Fi-
nally, the turf itself, four centime-
ters high.
Burgess solved the problemof
the south end of the pitch not re-
ceiving any natural light with a
battery of lamps he had used at
Highbury. I discovered the sys-
tem when I visited a rose green-
house in the Netherlands, he
says in English. His employees,
though, are all Spanish: In a
country with 20-percent unem-
ployment, I didnt think it would
have beenpopular to bring 10 En-
glishmen with me.
Burgess Spanish is still limit-
ed, hence his difficulties in talk-
ing to Agustn, a 40-year veteran
of the Bernabu turf. Paul,
when you talk to me in English I
dont understand well, he says.
Sometimes his lack of vocabu-
lary serves him well. He says
that Real goalkeeper Iker Casil-
las and he compete to see who
speaks the others language
worse. Xabi Alonso, who spent
five years at Liverpool, is his lin-
guistic conduit and they often
talk about the state of the pitch.
Burgess is content in Madrid.
He lives with his wife, Melissa,
and his son Oscar in an apart-
ment in the center of town. He
was also happy in London,
where he laid artificial turf in his
own garden so he wouldnt have
to bring his work home with
him. His face lights up like a
child when he recalls what he
did to the goalkeeper for Totten-
hamHotspur Arsenals arch-ri-
Ian Walker would always do
ridiculous things in his goal be-
fore the match, during the warm-
up. On the day of the derby I
bought a plastic dog turd and left
it in his area. He stared at it for
fully five minutes. Until he saw
me laughing.
Burgess feels the pressure of
Real Madrid. Every day, he
states. Agustn knows why: Its a
very difficult job, he says as he
casts an eye over the pitch from
the stand. You do one hundred
things well and youre happy.
You do one thing wrong...
The veteran slaps Burgess on
the back and saunters off in the
direction of the locker rooms.
The grass is always greener...
Real Madrids groundsman swapped London for the Spanish capital
Mostly sunny
In the north of Galicia, Cantabria, the Up-
per Ebro region and the western Pyrenees
clouds are forecast. There may be light
showers in the Basque Country and Navar-
re, but these are expected to give way to
clear skies later on across the north. The
remainder of the country can expect a fine
day with plenty of sunshine. Lows: Madrid
9C, Barcelona 15C, Seville 12C, Valen-
cia 12C, Las Palmas 22C, Lisbon 14C.
All emergencies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112
Ambulance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 061
Fire Brigade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 080
Municipal police . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 092
National police . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 091
Civil Guard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 062
Catalan police . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 088
Traffic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 900 123 505
information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 900 775 757
Forest fires . . . . . . . . . . . . 900 850 500
abuse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 900 100 009
Coast Guard . . . . . . . . . . . 900 202 202
Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . 900 150 000
Directory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11818
directory inq . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11825
Madrid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 548 85 37
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 548 80 08
AENA (airports authority)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 902 404 704
Iberia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 902 400 500
RENFE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 902 240 202
International . . . . . . . . . . . . . 902 243 402
Australia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 353 66 00
Canada . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 382 84 00
Ireland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 436 40 93
New Zealand . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 523 02 26
UK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 714 63 00
US . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 587 22 00
All emergencies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112
Six of Spains highest-ranked
female tennis players yester-
day reached an agreement
withthe SpanishTennis Feder-
ation(RFET) to play inthe Fed-
erations Cup World Group II
tie against Estonia on Febru-
ary 5 and 6, 2011.
Carla Surez, Anabel Medi-
na, Lourdes Domnguez,
Mara Jos Martnez Snchez,
Arantxa Parra and Nuria Lla-
gostera had threatened to
withdraw from the interna-
tional tournament equiva-
lent to the Davis Cup due to
what they termed in a letter to
the RFET a lack of interest in
Spanish womens tennis.
The players were demand-
ing that the Spanishchampion-
ship should not be downgrad-
ed nor held during the run-up
to the Australian Open; that
promised investment of
200,000 in a management
plan be forthcoming; and that
medical facilities and practice
courts be provided. A year af-
ter the players requests, the
RFET had still not responded,
prompting their proposed
They will play in the Fed
Cup, said secretary of state
for sport, Jaime Lissavetzky,
who mediated the meeting be-
tween the players and the
RFET. Nobody has put a gun
to their head. If the players are
here, it is because they are hap-
py. The intention is to re-
launch Spanish female tennis
inthe short andmediumterm.
Today we reached a new
framework for tennis.
We were concerned for
the future of Spanish female
tennis, said Llagostera. The
players, all within the worlds
top 150, said the discussions
had been one-hundred per-
cent successful.
Useful information
Spains Fed Cup
players call
off proposed
Paul Burgess, Real Madrids groundsman, with his obsession: the turf at the Santiago Bernabu. / luis sevillano
EL PAS, Madrid
Jos Mourinho
said it was not
easy to play on
a potato patch
Iker Casillas and he
compete to see who
speaks the others
language worse
EL PAS, Thursday, November 4, 2010 7
Daily variation Yesterday Annual Variation %
Euros % Min. Mx. Previous Current
Abengoa 19,750 -0,395 -1,96 19,750 20,345 71,0 -11,7
Abertis 13,950 -0,210 -1,48 13,930 14,240 33,3 -2,5
Acciona 61,920 -0,820 -1,31 61,700 63,270 -24,9 -29,9
Acerinox 11,885 -0,015 -0,13 11,810 12,150 12,6 -15,2
ACS 36,490 -0,605 -1,63 36,340 37,300 26,2 11,6
Arcelor Mittal 24,330 0,225 0,93 24,180 24,770 45,1 -24,2
Banco Popular 4,465 -0,106 -2,32 4,420 4,587 -18,1 -10,4
Banco Sabadell 3,363 -0,071 -2,07 3,342 3,448 -24,9 -11,6
Banco Santander 8,690 -0,317 -3,52 8,620 9,058 50,1 -18,9
Banesto 7,000 -0,012 -0,17 6,968 7,122 -3,5 -13,6
Bankinter 4,608 -0,102 -2,17 4,585 4,765 -16,1 -32,9
BBVA 8,895 -0,318 -3,45 8,825 9,250 12,1 -27,9
BME 19,050 -0,150 -0,78 19,000 19,510 27,2 -9,5
Criteria 4,040 -0,021 -0,52 4,017 4,100 61,0 29,5
Ebro Foods 15,355 -0,340 -2,17 15,275 15,800 76,3 8,3
Enags 15,545 -0,120 -0,77 15,495 15,900 10,5 4,6
Endesa 19,685 -0,360 -1,80 19,585 20,095 1,8 -13,4
FCC 18,935 -0,405 -2,09 18,840 19,450 -8,4 -31,7
Ferrovial 8,270 -0,082 -0,98 8,242 8,430 70,2 7,8
Gamesa 5,103 0,072 1,43 5,010 5,120 -58,7 -56,0
Gas Natural 10,610 0,080 0,76 10,500 10,690 -29,3 -25,3
Grifols 10,855 -0,180 -1,63 10,790 11,255 -7,6 -9,7
Iberdrola 5,990 -0,109 -1,79 5,978 6,109 -1,3 -10,2
Iberdrola Renov. 2,476 -0,024 -0,96 2,465 2,545 -17,6 -24,8
Iberia 3,159 0,007 0,22 3,131 3,187 59,6 66,4
Inditex 58,460 -0,270 -0,46 58,170 59,150 95,0 36,7
Indra 13,945 -0,175 -1,24 13,900 14,260 -5,9 -10,9
Mapfre 2,341 -0,045 -1,89 2,330 2,397 9,4 -16,9
OHL 23,440 -0,370 -1,55 23,295 24,000 164,6 26,7
Red Elctrica 36,135 0,005 0,01 35,965 36,470 9,3 -2,5
Repsol 19,865 -0,320 -1,59 19,800 20,295 47,7 8,7
Sacyr 4,458 -0,098 -2,15 4,420 4,646 -30,0 -44,3
Tcnicas Reunidas 44,620 -0,520 -1,15 44,430 45,380 163,9 14,9
Telecinco 9,283 -0,162 -1,72 9,211 9,530 40,7 -7,0
Telefnica 19,415 -0,180 -0,92 19,385 19,690 35,1 3,4
% Euros
Sotogrande -7,27 -0,210
Testa -7,09 -0,510
GAM -5,39 -0,110
Ezentis -5,25 -0,030
Fergo Aisa -4,71 -0,020
Colonial -4,49 -0,004
Nyesa -4,19 -0,090
Faes -3,75 -0,110
Banco Santander -3,52 -0,317
BBVA -3,45 -0,318
Household sentiment worsened
in October as consumers be-
came more downbeat about the
current economic situation, par-
ticularly the job market and
their financial situation.
The consumer confidence in-
dex of state-owned lender Institu-
to de Crdito Oficial (ICC-ICO)
dropped to 67.1 points last month
from 72.8 points in September
and was also below the level of
October of last year of 69.2 points.
The component of the index
that measures respondents
opinion of the current situation
fell to 44.4 points from 50.9
points in September.
The ICO said the dip in con-
fidence probably reflects one-
off factors such as the rise in
the standard value-added tax
rate from the beginning of Ju-
ly and the removal of subsi-
dies for car purchases, with
overall private consumption
continuing to recover albeit
Jobless claims in Spain rose for
the third month in a rowin Octo-
ber, but the government insisted
the figures still pointed to a slow
recovery in the labor market.
According to figures released
Wednesday by the Labor Minis-
try, the number of people regis-
tered as out of work last month
climbed 68,213 to 4.085 million.
Over the past 12 months the eco-
nomic crisis in Spain has
swelled the ranks of the unem-
ployed by 277,623, or 7.3 per-
cent. Jobless claims rose in all
sectors of the economy except
for construction, where they fell
0.4 percent from the previous
The newLabor Minister Vale-
riano Gmez said that com-
pared with the same month in
previous years, the latest figures
point to a gradual improvement
in the job market. Were mov-
ing slowly but gradually toward
equilibrium, Gmez said. The
recovery hasnt arrived yet but
we are close.
The number of jobless claims
in October of last year jumped
by 98,906 and by 192,658 in Oc-
tober of 2008, when the impact
of countrys worst recession in
some 60 years started to make
itself felt.
The minister said October is
traditionally a bad month for
the job market after the end of
seasonal hiring in the agricul-
ture and tourism sectors.
Gmez predicted that the
pace of activity would not be
strong enough to start creating
net employment until the sec-
ond half of next year. The minis-
ter said it was still too early to
gauge the effectiveness of labor
market reforms introduced
some four months ago.
According to a survey by the
National Statistics Institute re-
leased last week, the unemploy-
ment rate fell for the first time
since 2007 in the third quarter
of the year, but still remained
double the average rate in Eu-
rope at 19.79 percent.
Buy Sell
US dollar 1,4042 1,4040
Japanese yen 114,0500 114,0400
Sterling pound 0,8730 0,8729
Australian dollar 1,4092 1,4085
Hong Kong dollar 10,8839 10,8824
Swiss franc 1,3720 1,3717
Norwegian kroner 8,2021 8,1941
Units per euro at 18:00
The European stock markets
closed lower on Wednesday as
they awaited the outcome of the
US Federal Reserves Open Mar-
ket Committee meeting, during
which the US central bank was
expected to announce further
measures to prop up the US eco-
nomic recovery.
After the markets closed this
side of the Atlantic, the Fed even-
tually announced it would be
buying $600 billion in govern-
ment bonds through to June of
next year. The figure was slight-
ly above the $500 billion expect-
ed by the market.
The losses in Spain exceeded
those in the rest of Europe on
the added factor of a widening
in the risk premiums of the pe-
ripheral countries in the euro
zone in general. The Spanish
blue chip Ibex 35 closed below
the psychologically important
10,600-point mark.
The Ibex 35 ended the ses-
sion down 1.79 percent at
10,569.50 points after trading in
a range of 10,528-10,795 points.
The Ibex Medium Cap gave up
0.94 percent, while the Ibex
Small Cap shed 0.57 percent.
The Madrid general index was
down 1.88 percent at 1,083.62
In the rest of Europe, Paris
CAC 40 lost 0.59 percent, the
DAX in Frankfurt slipped 0.55
percent, while the FTSE 100 in
London was down 0.15 percent.
The PSI-20 in the Lisbon Euron-
ext exchange gave up 0.64 per-
Open-market deals in the
Spanish continuous market
came in at about 2.4 billion.
Only five stocks in the Ibex 35
managed to post gains, one of
which was Gas Natural after the
utility announced an increase of
22 percent in its net earnings in
the first nine months of the year.
Blue-chips were led lower by
the big banks, with Santander
down 3.52 percent, and BBVA
shedding 3.45 percent.
Telefnica lost 0.92 percent.
Consumer confidence dips
Registered unemployment
increases in October
But minister says slow recovery in job market intact
% Euros
US dollar 1,4042 1,4040
Japanese yen 114,0500 114,0400
Sterling pound 0,8730 0,8729
Australian dollar 1,4092 1,4085
Hong Kong dollar 10,8839 10,8824
Swiss franc 1,3720 1,3717
Norwegian kroner 8,2021 8,1941
Portugal Telecom will hand
over some of the bumper pro-
ceeds from the sale of its
stake in Brazilian wireless op-
erator Vivo to shareholders
but will retain the bulk of the
gains to reinvest in the Latin
American country and else-
PT said Wednesday it
plans to pay a special cash div-
idend of 1.65 per share, with
1.0 per share to be handed
over in December and the bal-
ance later. It is also planning
to increase its ordinary cash
dividend on 2010 and 2011
earnings by 13 percent to
0.65 per share.
The Portuguese telecom
operators net income soared
to 5.3 billion in the third
quarter of this year following
the sale of its 30-percent inter-
est in Vivo to its erstwhile
partner Telefnica for 7.5 bil-
lion. The company made a
net profit of only 116.1 mil-
lion in the same period a year
earlier. Operating revenues in
the latest quarter edged up
0.3 percent to 952.2 million,
while gross operating profit
in the form of EBITDA fell 4.1
percent to 381.9 million.
About 80 percent of the
gains from the Vivo deal will
be reinvested, including 3.75
billion on a 22.4-percent di-
rect and indirect interest in
the Brazilian telecoms group
Ois operating arm Telemar
Norte Leste. Another 2.2 bil-
lion will go to fund the exten-
sion of the operators fiber-op-
tic network to reach 600,000
households in Portugal, while
the balance will be used to
help launch fourth-genera-
tion cellphone services.
Gas Natural
Spanish utility Gas Natural
Fenosa said Wednesday its
net income in the first nine
months of the year rose 22.2
percent from a year earlier to
1.117 billion as it sold gas dis-
tribution assets in Madrid
and after completing its
merger with electricity firm
Unin Fenosa. Gas Nautral al-
so noted an improvement in
the demand for power in
Spain. Gross operating profit
in the form of EBITDA was
up 25.6 percent at 3.529 bil-
EDP Renovveis
The Portuguese renewable
energies firmsaid its net prof-
it in the period January-Sep-
tember fell 68 percent from a
year earlier to 22 million
due to higher financing costs
as net debt rose to fund the
companys investments in its
production facilities. Net fi-
nancial debt at the end of Sep-
tember stood at 2.915 bil-
lion, up from 2.134 billion a
year earlier. EDP Renovveis
said it had increased in-
stalled capacity in the third
quarter by 535 megawatts.
The British airport operator
unit of Spanish builder Fer-
rovial said Wednesday it had
placed 325 million pounds
(about 372 million) in
bonds, completing the refi-
nancing of its existing debt
facility. The bonds carry a
fixed-interest coupon of 7.125
per cent and mature in
March 2017.
The Spanish power group
said Wednesday it had
named Vicente del Bosque,
the coach of Spains World
Cup-winning soccer team, as
a member of its consultation
committee for the region of
Castilla y Len.
Waiting to be Fed news
PT to use part
of Vivo sale
gain to pay
special dividend
A. S., Madrid
A. S., Madrid
A. S., Madrid
A. S., Madrid
EL PAS Source: Labor Ministry
Tracking jobless claims
Number of registeredunemployed
Change October / September
26,670 31,214
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
MADRID: Miguel Yuste, 40. 28037 Madrid. 91 337 82 00.
Fax: 91 327 08 18. Legal deposit: M-14951-1976.
Ediciones EL PAS, SL. Madrid, 2009. All rights reserved.
According to articles 8 and 32.1, second paragraph, of the
intellectual Property Law, it is expressly prohibited to
reproduce, distribute or communicate in public, including
making available, the entirety or segments of this publication for
commercial ends, in any shape or form, without the authorization of
Ediciones EL PAS, SL.
A small group of anarchists and
criminals led by a man named
Buenaventura Durruti hatched a
plan to murder King Alfonso XIII
during a visit to Paris in 1926. The
historical episode has been
plucked out of the French police
archives and reconstructed on the
occasion of this years centennial
of the CNT, the Spanish anarchist
Whenthe Third Reichs armies
marchedinto Paris, they tookcon-
trol of the Sret police files with
repression in mind. The docu-
ments were eventually distribut-
ed among different castles in Ger-
many, Silesia and Czechoslovakia.
The bureaucratic efficiency of the
French police is evidenced by the
sheer magnitude of the material:
nearly two million files in total.
The files provided a broad pic-
ture of the worlds of gamblers,
arms, women and drug traffick-
ers, anarchists and white-collar
swindlers. But there was a group
of individuals who stood out par-
ticularly: the foreigners who ar-
rived in France between both
world wars. Their dossiers are
the only ones that included photo-
graphs with front and side views.
This group includeda select hand-
ful of Spaniards who called them-
selves the blue-collar gun kings
of Barcelona.
This pompous moniker was
coined by one of the group, Juan
Garca Oliver, who was, without a
doubt, the boldest and most capa-
ble of its members. Born in Reus
in 1901, he arrived in Paris in the
winter of 1925 after serving two
years in jail for the holdup of a bar
called Alhambra de Manresa. To-
gether with his associate Fran-
cisco Ascaso, he gunned down
four hired thugs fromSindicato Li-
bre, a yellow union at the service
of business interests.
Besides being a man of action,
Garca Oliver was also the most
enlightened of the blue-collar gun
kings. And that is not just because
he went on to become a justice
minister no small potatoes for a
blue-collar anarchist but also
because during his bitter old age
in Mexican exile he wrote a fasci-
nating book, half-novel and half-
memoir, called El eco de los pasos
(or, The echo of footsteps).
The echo of his own footsteps
in the Paris of 1926 was accompa-
nied by those of anarchist leader
Durruti, Francisco Ascaso and
Gregorio Jover, who arrived in
the capital that same year after a
long stay in the Americas, where
they had endured relentless po-
lice persecution. Durruti, Ascaso
and Jover were wanted for nu-
merous holdups and for the mur-
der of people such as the cardinal
and archbishop of Zaragoza, Juan
Soldevilla, who was killed by As-
While in South America, Dur-
ruti, Ascaso and Jover called
themselves Los Errantes (The
Rovers). They begantheir chainof
holdups in Mexico, moved down
to Cuba and Chile, and in Febru-
ary 1925, the gang settled down in
Argentina. The holdup of Banco
Argentino in the city of San Mar-
tn was a big operation. Legend
has it that Durruti intimidated
bank employees with the hoarse
scream of: Anyone who moves
gets four bullets!
Minutes later, they sped away
in a powerful car with 64,000 pe-
sos in the trunk. In late March
1926, Los Errantes put an end to
their Latin American adventure
and boarded a Europe-bound ship
in Montevideo.
A month later, they put in at
the port of Cherbourg. They were
traveling with false Uruguayan
passports and posing as trades-
men. Their suits and luggage sug-
gested that business was brisk. In
Paris, they rented an apartment
on Rue Legendre. Soon after that,
they met up with Garca Oliver at
the Caf Thermomtre on Place
de la Rpublique. Garca Oliver up-
dated them on the situation of an-
archists in Paris and their plans.
Then, Durruti proposed a new
mission: Since the [Spanish] king
will be in Paris on his way to En-
gland, I suggest we analyze the
possibilities of liquidating him.
Although Garca Oliver later
wrote in his memoirs that he im-
mediately thought this idea was
suicide, the plan to assassinate Al-
fonso XIII was accepted by every-
one present. At their next meet-
ing, Durruti left themdumbfound-
ed. Just days earlier, he had pur-
chased an impressive Fiat car af-
ter paying 10,000 francs in cash.
He and Ascaso had also been to
one of the best armories in Paris,
the Maison Vernay-Carron, where
they bought three Winchester ri-
fles and five Colt 45 revolvers. Af-
ter that, they drove the Fiat to the
woods of Senart to try out their
weapons. Afterwards, Ascaso and
Durruti studied the kings
planned itinerary through the
streets of Paris and decided to kill
him at Place de la Concorde.
When Garca Oliver enquired
about the details, Durruti replied:
We drive up to the guys car, and
you four shoot the weapons in
massed fire. I will drive and Paco
will sit inthe passenger seat, so he
can take control of the wheel in
case anything happens to me. On
our way out, you get out of the car
and split up, acting as if nothing
has happened. When the king is
dead, lets all meet in Barcelona
that would be a good way out.
In his memoirs, Garca Oliver
regrets not having nipped such a
harebrained scheme in the bud.
It was that simple: a car, some
rifles, some revolvers and five
men, with Durruti at the wheel. It
seemed obvious to us that there
would be no barrier protecting
the monarchs, no gendarmes or
police, no closed access to traffic
along the route. We didnt count
on the efficiency of the Paris po-
lice, who had probably been fol-
lowing in the footsteps of Spanish
refugees and anarchists for sever-
al days.
He was right. In one of the doc-
uments included in Durrutis file,
dated June 24, 1926, the police in-
form the Interior Ministry about
his presence in Paris, his pur-
chase of a car and guns and about
the target practice. The rest of the
men involved in the failed plot are
also mentioned. The day after
their meeting, Durruti and Ascaso
were arrested in their homes, car-
rying Astra 9mm pistols. A house
search yielded the other weapons.
During questioning, Durruti con-
firmed the project to kill Alfonso
XIII, although he took full respon-
sibility and said he had no accom-
I thought if I achieved my goal
of killing the king, it would cause
a revolution in Spain, he said. I
didnt act out of personal hatred
for the monarch; I respect him as
a man but not as a king, and I feel
that his disappearance could help
save Spain.
Ascaso, Durruti and Jover
stood trial in Paris on October 7,
1926 and were handed very light
sentences for rebellion, arms pos-
session and use of forged docu-
ments: six months, three months
and two months, respectively.
Garca Oliver was able to elude
the police by hightailing it to Brus-
sels, but was detained upon his
return to Spain and imprisoned
until the advent of the Republic in
Carlos Garca-Alix is a painter and
the director of the documentary El
honor de las injurias (2007), about the
anarchist Felipe Sandoval
The blue-collar kings of Barcelona
A group of Spanish anarchists came up with an ambitious plan to murder King
Alfonso XIII in 1926 a scheme one of them later described as harebrained
Anarchy in action: documents from Madrids Property Registry being burned in 1936. / national historical archive
The episode has
been reconstructed
on the occasion of
the CNTs centennial
Their pompous
moniker was coined
by the boldest of
its members
The gang began their
chain of holdups in
Mexico, and then
moved to Cuba
Garca Oliver later
wrote that he
immediately thought
this idea was suicide