November 29, 2020

Madrid raises a flag of Spain of 75 square meters in the middle of a political and health crisis


The political agenda sometimes provokes devilish coincidences. This Friday has been one of those occasions: the entire Government of the Community of Madrid and that of the City Council were summoned to raise “one of the largest flags in Spain” in Valdebebas, a wasteland of offices and half-built buildings in the northeast from Madrid. But while a dozen people -among doctors, firefighters, teachers and priests summoned for the photo- placed the 11-kilo weight insignia on a 25-meter pole, in Puerta del Sol -the regional government headquarters- the storm broke out . The Minister of Health, Enrique Ruiz-Escudero, announced the plan of the regional government after the end of the state of alarm decided behind the backs of Citizens.

“When this was set up, we could not foresee the situation that was going to occur today,” justified the mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida to excuse the regional president, whose attendance at the event was canceled at the last minute. The call has been maintained in the middle of a frenetic morning for Madrid politics. The councilors of the Madrid City Council and the regional councilors were grouped in groups. The Minister of the Presidency, Eugenia Carballedo, and the spokesperson for the popular group, Alfonso Serrano, listened to their boss on YouTube via mobile. The councilors of PP and Ciudadanos met to tell each other the latest news, oblivious to the fact that in Sol, again, there was a fight. “It is a disloyalty to your government partner. It is unpresentable.” The sky, with black clouds, threatened rain from the first hour in Valdebebas. “But is Sanchez coming out or not?” Asked a leader before the flag began to fly.

Outside the fences, a group of residents of Hortaleza raised another emblem: “Better public health, less deaths.” The security service deployed around the appointment has not let them pass. “It is a private party”, they have indicated. In the background, the mayor delivered his speech: “The flag is the mantle that has allowed us to fight from ground zero.”

This Friday, Madrid has once again become Spain within Spain. This time, Isabel Díaz Ayuso has not said so, who has preferred not to be inaugurating a flag while her Government communicated the next restrictions. Although an hour later she appeared surrounded by microphones and cameras a few meters from the flag, in the Isabel Zendal pandemic hospital with her helmet on.

In the second row there was room for the Vox spokesman in the City Council, Javier Ortega Smith, who has not spoken with the mayor after the break of the PP with the extreme right in the motion of no confidence. “They are lucky that we are not like them,” he later declared to the press. At his side was the leader of the Socialists in the Madrid Assembly, Ángel Gabilondo, the only representative of the opposition.

The initiative to honor the victims of the coronavirus with a giant flag was neither regional nor municipal on this occasion, but private. From a businessman named César Cort, owner of most of the Valdebebas land and master of ceremonies this Friday, who already deployed another 731 meter banner two years ago along a very tall building also in Hortaleza.

The mayor thanked him for “his sensitivity and delicacy.” “You represent the future of the city”, the councilor told him with a particular skyline of cranes and large buildings. The Minister of the Presidency, minutes before, took advantage of the event to promote the pandemic hospital, visited in a last minute change of agenda by Ayuso, and “the 22 planes that we have brought” as great milestones in the management of the Community of Madrid. At the end of the event, two ladies were stoically waiting behind the fence for the mayor waving two flags from afar. “Long live Spain!”

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