October 19, 2020

Nobody at the wheel in Madrid, but the first thing is to know where the wheel is

In the marquees and kiosks of Madrid, ‘Waiting for Godot’ is announced, Samuel Beckett’s work paradigm of the theater of the absurd that has become the perfect mirror in which Madrid’s politics are viewed during the pandemic. No, it is not guerrilla advertising or an intentional political campaign. It’s a real play on a real stage and with real actors. The government of Isabel Díaz Ayuso is also real, or tries to be, with its real president and its vice president and real advisers. In the real world, in which nine of the ten Spanish cities with the highest number of coronavirus cases are in the Community of Madrid, the impression is debatable, as has been seen this week. A Deputy Minister of Health announces drastic measures without specifying that have not yet been decided, after a message by WhatsApp to the president. A vice president cancels the weekly press conference because he does not know what to say or does not want to eat the brown of standing up for everyone. A Health Minister is not up to the task of putting himself before journalists. The deputy councilor refuses to record a video to unveil the enigma, a video that serves as proof of life that the Government knows what it is doing. The headlines hesitate between the words chaos, disaster or fire. Hard choise.

No one behind the wheel, some say. To which you have to answer: first, the authorities would have to know where the steering wheel is. We have to wait to find out, perhaps this Friday. Godot won’t come today, but tomorrow he sure will.

All this occurs in the same week that Díaz Ayuso affirms in a debate in the Assembly that the opposition does not respect him and is complaint that “there has been cruelty in Madrid”. Against her, of course. Faced with the accusation of passivity in the summer months with the drastic increase in infections until reaching an uncontrolled transmission that has placed the Madrid region as the one with the most cases in Europe, the president denies everything: “The Community of Madrid (that is, its government) has not relaxed at any time. ”

“It is difficult to understand how they have not been adopted measures before, “Santiago Moreno, head of the infectious diseases service at the Ramón y Cajal hospital, told El País.” I remember that in July, while other communities suffered a significant increase in cases, here in Madrid it was said that everything was fine and under control. It seems that there was some relaxation, which is what should never be done with the coronavirus. ”

Hospitals are already suffering the consequences. “You can’t expand the ICU because we don’t have nurses, “Araceli Rojo, UGT delegate at the Doce de Octubre Hospital, tells this medium. In several Primary Care centers, staff put up posters outside to announce how many doctors and nurses are working that day and how many patients they are answering so people know why it is taking a week to make appointments or why the telephones in the centers do not answer calls.

Twelve hours after the end of Tuesday’s plenary session, the Ayuso government begins to smoke everywhere. Everyone looks at each other to see who should take responsibility after the deputy councilor Antonio Zapatero, Ayuso’s right eye, announced on Wednesday “restrictive confinements” without specifying where and how they will be done and implying that the president is warned. All are deleted, although the Minister of Health is forced to record the video to which Zapatero has refused. Ayuso, who was starring in an interview tour through various media, remains silent. The news that the new measures will already be counted on Friday does not serve to silence the controversy.

As journalistic pressure increases to find out what is happening, government sources tell three media outlets on Wednesday afternoon that it is preparing to reopen the Ifema hospital – with what health personnel if it is already missing from the outpatient clinics? -. Hospitalization data is the worst in Spain, 22% of beds occupied, but it is far from having reached the saturation level. It is just propaganda to win a headline on Thursday’s press covers, which is achieved with El Mundo and La Razón.

Sources from the Madrid presidency send journalists a long message to maintain that the measures being studied are not different from those adopted in other regions. It does not explain why it has taken so long to apply them in Madrid. Perhaps because it was politically more profitable for them to talk about the Barajas airport than about the number of doctors and trackers. He also explains the words of the vice councilor: “Zapatero spoke of ‘selective confinements’, but he used that term as a concept so that we all understand it, he did not say that selective confinements are going to be approved, but at all times he spoke of restrictions”. Zapatero did refer to the fact that they were studying “selective confinements”, but the message tells us that talking about selective confinements does not mean that selective confinements are being considered. How can they think such a thing?

Aguado is nervous. He has declined to give the weekly press conference, but appears at an online event on Thursday about the sport without journalists being able to ask him questions. Finally, he does refer to what everyone is talking about and makes an appeal that sounds desperate: “It is necessary and urgent that the Government of Spain is forcefully involved in the control of the pandemic in Madrid.” It is difficult to know what he means by the word “forceful”. It does not say what Moncloa should do. Give orders to Ayuso? Send more help to the Community? Give them some type of legal coverage that the Government has already made available to them, such as the state of alarm?

Few hours later, Pedro Sánchez sends a letter to Díaz Ayuso in which he offers to go to the headquarters of his Government to meet and “work together” to find a solution. The president accepts the offer, but cannot avoid the temptation to leave the paw with her usual “Madrid has been alone too long.” Those who are not so lucky are several mayors from the south of Madrid who were going to meet with her on Friday via telematics and find out what will happen in their cities. They will have to keep waiting for Godot, that is, Ayuso, because their meeting was canceled the day before.

Those who also feel very lonely are the inhabitants of the southern neighborhoods of Madrid in which the deputy minister had said that they were having a “citizen relaxation” that was promoting the increase in infections. People who cannot get to be seen in the overflowing Primary Care centers, compared to those who have to queue outside until they can attend them.

Flora, a nurse with 15 years of experience who works in a health center in the Puente Vallecas neighborhood where four of the six doctors are on sick leave and another on vacation, explains to La Sexta who these people are: “It’s obvious. You just have to see: who works? The working class. Who moves? The working class. Who does not telecommute? The working class. Who lives in 45 meters six, eight people or more? The class that lives in Vallecas, in Carabanchel, in Usera … Come on, you don’t have to be a lumbreras (to know it), you have to know very little about public health “.

Those are alone. They are the ones who keep waiting for someone to do something.


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