May 16, 2021

The mayor of Barcelona criticizes the central government for inaction in housing

The mayor of Barcelona criticizes the central government for inaction in housing



New York, Dec 1 (EFE), – The Mayor of Barcelona, ​​Ada Colau, rejected today in the US. the discourse of the extreme right in Spain to present immigrants as enemies who compete for the scarce resources of the cities, when the reality is the great inequality in needs, as accessible housing for the people.

"We affirm that this is false," he said in defense of the immigrants, assuring that the reality is that "there is great inequality, large properties, in our case banks that still have thousands of empty homes."

Colau participated in an event, which focused on the issue of housing, along with other mayors, including New York, Bill de Blasio, organized by the Democratic leader and Senator Bernie Sanders, who promotes the idea of need for an international movement to face a more social globalization.

"There is a lot, a lot of money, because the Spanish government has saved the banks that swindled the population from the millions that have given them, but then they say they do not have money for housing or for immigrants," the mayor said at the ceremony. the Sandres Institute in Burlington (USA).

Colau explained at the event – in which he spoke of measures he has taken to preserve affordable housing in his city – that he has the power to change the management of the money that has gone to the banks or the laws that can force the homes empty of the banks are for the people, it is the central government.

"Our task is to explain the truth: that there are thousands of empty houses, billions that are used to rescue the rich and the corrupt and not to save people, that is, that there is money and there are houses," he said.

Mayor de Blasio intervened to declare that there is also a campaign in the United States. to "demonize" immigrants, accuse them of undermining the middle class, affecting the future of their families.

"The immigrants do not have to see, but Wall Strett, the federal government, favoring the rich," he said.

During her participation in the event, which also included the mayor of San Juan (Puerto Rico), Carmen Yulin Cruz, Colau also spoke of the gentrification that affects cities and the "little power to stop it", and of efforts to prevent people from losing their homes.

"We have to use all the tools we have to avoid rent increases, our neighborhoods depend on it, a city without its people is a dead city, a city without a future," he said.

She added that she herself has been affected by the rise in the rental market.

"I know what they're talking about because I rent and my rent increased by 50 percent just this year, and I'm the mayor," he argued.

He also explained that under his administration of three years in Barcelona it has been required that 50 percent of new homes have to be accessible, and recalled that in other cities, such as New York, Paris or London, there are similar measures.

He also criticized the central executive to ensure that in the city he heads "we do more for housing than at any other level of government in Spain."

"Before being mayor, I was a housing activist and against evictions, so you can imagine that people have a high expectation with me, every day I think: what can I do?" to face the need for affordable housing.

He also said in the forum that the central government has cut housing investment by 70 percent. "With fewer resources we are covering the responsibilities of other levels of government," said the mayor, who is seeking re-election and who recalled that, after being an activist, this is her first experience in politics.

At the beginning of his conversation, he assured that it is the "people's agenda" and everything that has been achieved is because what the neighborhoods need is taken into account. He cited as an example how they came together to deal with how mass tourism was regularized affecting their communities.

"For many years we had lost trust in the government and that is why social movements are always critical and independent of whatever the government is," she said, recalling that when she was elected they told her that she was no longer an activist and that she have another role

According to the mayor, we must change the political concept, "take into account our responsibility" to have an active government that listens, that shares the vision with social movements and citizens.

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