The invisible lavas of the La Palma volcano over Los Llanos

Turnover in businesses in the west of La Palma has plummeted due to the economic uncertainty caused by the volcano, and due to a kind of collective empathy that retracts purchases from those who do not want to show their expenses in front of neighbors who have done so. lost everything. Different business campaigns and administrations try to save the sector on these Christmas eve.

Daniel Soler He is perched on a chair, hanging some Christmas baubles on top of your counter at Los Ibericos de La Palma, an establishment that he manages with his partner Lola located in the Plaza de Llanos de Aridane Gallery and opened two years ago.

The interior is a tasty jamonal which also offers 30 different cheeses from seven countries and a list of sausages that require two levels to cover so much substance. Everything meticulously ordered.

Like your bills. After offering a slice of one of his acorn sweets, he opens his accounting book, with old-fashioned notations, and summarizes that, "since the volcano exploded I lose 4,000 euros every fortnight."

There are the numbers. «But the payments are the same, that of the IGIC, that of the dispatch of goods and the AIEM ». With the covid, he escaped, distributing gender at the click of a button, "but the volcano is much worse economically." If for the month of February the crater does not stop expelling lava, and thereby expelling customers from Los Ibónicos, Dani and Lola go to Zurich. They emigrate exhausted.

"There are those who do not feel like carrying some packages from the store knowing that their neighbor has been destroyed"


Eliezer Cabrera is the owner of the Borrasca Surf Shop, located in one of the best commercial arteries in Los Llanos, at number 4 avenida de Venezuela. It sells sports clothing, but also all the necessary equipment for a good day of surfing, from the neoprene to the moorings, passing through the boards themselves. And he confesses in shock. Because Cabrera not only has fallen into a volcano in the business, it is that the beach that complemented everything he sells has disappeared with it, that of Los Guirres, so that what was once within walking distance, today it has become a kind of maritime sale in a remote interior.

The closest wave to surf is now more than 90 minutes away, round trip, in Mazo, and the next one in the north, three hours away. Since September 19, he hasn't sold a single board. But something similar happens with the rest of the genre. Who is going to buy with this great tragedy? He asks himself.

In calle Real of a town that, due to its number of stores, is in practice a huge shopping center, with more economic weight than that of the capital of the island itself, municipal workers dedicate these last hours to preparing the raising of the lighting lever Christmas, which will take place tomorrow, Friday. All this with two main queues in sight. The one of those affected who go to starboard municipal offices to process bureaucracy, and the port side, the one that next to the beautiful town square, they wait for the volunteers of the notarial college to give them faith of their misfortunes.

But shopping bags, few. In a neat men's clothing office located halfway up the street, they try to explain the phenomenon of the persistent drought of sales. "There is a lot of fear here," confesses the manager with the thunder of the volcano somewhat more muffled in the background, but just as threatening, with its tremor, its trembling and its fading of gases, lavas and itches. "The sales," he explains, "are marked by him," in such a way that whether a transaction is made depends on the giant's mood. The more noise, the less billing. And vice versa.

The owner of Borrasca Surf suffered a double misfortune with the disappearance of Los Guirres beach


Back on Avenida Venezuela, at number 9 you will find the Blue Leaf boutique: jewelry, costume jewelery, clothing and handicrafts from landmarks such as Domingo Ayala, Mala Mata, Malaje, El Chorlito, Trust Pussy, Hello Aloi ... Yure Rodríguez is attending the attractive establishment, which opened its headquarters a month before the pandemic, on February 14 of that year without the month of April. During the pandemic "we escaped", with word of mouth, "because we have a loyal clientele", which they supplemented with a website. "But Bartolo arrived," he underlines in reference to the phenomenon, "and we have already had to cut back on orders."

Rodríguez points to one of the possible keys. Those who live on the west side of La Palma they have stayed in two groups. Those who have lost everything and those who, without suffering financial damage, do suffer moral damage.

"Even if you still have your house or your farm, you do not find yourself in the mood to buy, and there are those who do not feel like carrying some packages from the store knowing that their next-door neighbor is a wreck." It is practically "a matter of social conscience," he says, adding that sales are limited to specific events, "like a birthday." In factOr, there are clients who request to try the gender at home.

Lidon Perez She is the owner of the boutique, as well as four other shops, including one in the state of Erte. "Every time we go up, we go down, and exhaustion and fatigue accumulate," he recounts in relation to the pandemic, the urban fire that devastated the Valley last August and now the bug. Pérez confirms the theory of reluctance when buying, so that you prefer to enter those stores that are more sheltered from the street to avoid encounters, but he also attributes the crisis to the constant uncertainty at the mercy of the volcano and its moods. Demand understanding for customers to buy locally, -"Skinny please make us online purchases" -, and the smartness of the administrations to make effective the subsidies to bananas, the first economic substance of the place.

María Rodríguez is the manager of the Los Llanos Open Commercial Zone, that groups about 80 shops. He affirms that at first, no more bursting the crater, the administrations focused first on procuring what was strictly necessary for the affected people, “and once the first moment of madness had passed, joint campaigns with the City Council have been organized to promote the economy, such as the one that begins next December 9 with a purse card raffle. This, after the one started on November 1 and which ends today in combination with the municipalities of Breña Alta, Santa Cruz de La Palma and Los Llanos also with the purse card system.

To which are added initiatives from outside the islands, such as the chocolate organized by the Madrid business association, which this year allocates its profits to La Palma or the one that arrives from Gran Canaria, an original idea through which a donor can make a double benefit, since through the ZAC you can manage and pay for the purchase of what a victim needs in local businesses.

"On Monday we bought, thanks to the donation of a girl from Tenerife, two beds and two mattresses to a family that needed them for a value of 400 euros," she says gratefully about the "Canarian initiative." Live Trade, is called the effective occurrence.


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