May 13, 2021

The Ombudsman sees “aporophobia” in the Ayuso Government’s statements about the blackout in Cañada Real


Last Friday, the Ombudsman sent letters to the Community of Madrid and the Government Delegation to demand that “urgent” solutions be taken to restore power to the Cañada Real. In the letters, sent after visiting the settlement, the institution led by Francisco Marugán condemns the “lightness and lack of measure” with which “the problem has been addressed” in appearances by public officials “of the regional government led by Isabel Díaz Ayuso, as reported in a statement.

The NGOs turn to the Ombudsman for the blackout in the Cañada Real: "1,812 children are suffering serious consequences"

The NGOs turn to the Ombudsman for the blackout in the Cañada Real: “1,812 children are suffering serious consequences”

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The Ombudsman considers that the Community of Madrid has used “fallacious and dangerous arguments that victimize the majority of the people affected and incur aporophobia.” “It has been tried to pass off the problem exclusively as the result of a generalized phenomenon of mass production of marijuana, an illegal activity whose responsibility has been uncritically extended to all the people who live in these enclaves,” says the institution, which calls to the “institutional responsibility to deal with this matter with a more truthful approach and respectful of the dignity of all.”

“To have the Porsches parked there, fine; to pay the bills, which is what is causing these cuts, no,” said the regional president at the Madrid Assembly two weeks ago after linking the cuts to the overload for the cultivation of marijuana carried out by the mafias. “If for you Otegi is a man of peace, these criminals will be agronomists who will be doing some kind of study there in the Cañada Real,” Ayuso ironically addressed the spokesperson for United We Can in the Assembly, Isa Serra.

The regional government – and also the Madrid City Council – has pointed to illegal plantations as a cause of power outages due to the overload of the network. For the institution, however, the explanations given by the Community of Madrid to justify the lack of supply in sector 5 are not “consistent, in light of the visit made.” The Ombudsman also notes that the Ayuso government “has not clarified what reasons prevent or hinder those affected from signing electricity supply contracts.”

Among the proposals submitted to the administrations is the installation of generators to supply the population. The institution also recommends that a joint strategy be designed to regularize the electricity supply in these sectors and “guarantee the right” to access to this asset legally “as long as these people remain in their homes”, in response to the letter sent by the NGOs that work in Cañada Real that warned that the situation was violating fundamental rights, especially of the 1,800 children living in sectors 5 and 6.

“A problem of a humanitarian nature”

“It is necessary to carry out a common diagnosis of the problems that prevent the electricity supply from being provided in a standardized way in this area and a coordinated operational plan of action to ensure the accessibility of the electricity supply in the area,” he stated. These measures are contemplated in the Cañada Real Regional Pact signed in 2017 by the Community of Madrid, the Government Delegation and three city councils (Madrid, Rivas-Vaciamadrid and Coslada) but they have not been applied.

On December 4, the Ombudsman went to sectors 5 and 6 to check the effects of these power outages and found, among other issues, that people with chronic lung diseases had worsened, as well as those who were electro-dependent or older. It has also focused on the 1,800 minors living in this shanty town, which “amplifies the seriousness of this humanitarian problem.” “There are minors of school age who are seeing their fundamental right to education violated, by not having electricity to carry out their tasks after sunset and not being able to clean themselves properly,” added the Ombudsman, who also cited hospital admissions of a newborn with hypothermia and of a minor poisoned with carbon monoxide.

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