SPAIN TODAY: Ghost Airport Returns from the Dead; Venezuelan Papa’s Pet Sets her Roving Sights on Spanish Politician; Spanish Royal Family on Jihadist Hit List


 “The Plane Man,” a sculpture honoring the power behind the construction of the ghost at the very airport (Photo: Sanbec, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported. Cropped)


By Stephanie Riley

María Gabriela Chávez in Love?

Spain’s new populist political party Podemos, self-styled savior of the poor and the downtrodden, is reputed partial to the politics of the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavéz. Last year in Barcelona, for instance, Podemos secretary Íñigo Errejón gave a speech paying homage to the “greatness” of the deceased president saying that “in the south of Europe, we need much of this ‘warm Latin American wind’ to clean up the rogue situation…Chávez lives, the fight continues.”

Iñigo Errejon delivering a speech in the town of Villalba outside Madrid

Iñigo Errejon delivering a speech in the town of Villalba outside Madrid

Recently, María Gabriela Chávez, the daughter of the Venezuelan president, delightedly shared a video on her Instagram account of Errejón’s speech, adding that “Chavez [is] the hope of people worldwide. How could we not be proud….Chavéz lives!”

María Gabriela acted as “first lady” of Venezuela during her father’s time as president, and last August she became an ambassador of her country to the United Nations though some are questioning her qualifications for that position. María is notorious for her lavish jet-setting lifestyle which includes a long list of relationships with well-known figures. A few such figures being Chilean doctor Pablo Sepúlveda, grandson of the former Chilean president Salvador Allende, Fórmula 1 pilot Pastor Maldonado, Venezuelan actorManuel ‘Coko’ Sosa and, currently, businessman Roberto Leyba.

Because of this peculiar predilection, it is being speculated that she has eyes for Iñigo Errejón. Gossip has it that she feels “love and admiration” for Errejón.

STEPHANIE La Casona Venezuela-Presidential-Residence

The La Casona presidential villa

As to María Gabriela’s special privileges as papa’s pet, many but not all of these ended when incumbent president Nicolas Maduro managed to get her, her 17-year-old daughter, and the rest of the Chavez brood to move out of La Casona, the official presidential villa which costs some €266 million yearly to keep up. Not counting other scandals surrounding Hugo Chavez’s children, the size of the bill is quite shocking when viewed against the backdrop of the dire poverty that’s gripping the oil-rich Latin American nation.

>Iñigo Errejon: Angelica García,, CC BY 4.0 International. Cropped

>La Casona:
CC BY_SA 4.0 International. Cropped



Ryanair Closes Deal with Castellon’s Grotesque Airport 

Spain is a land of many mystifying idiosyncrasies, not least of which is building a costly public airport where no commercial plane has ever landed or taken off – though this doubtful “distinction” may soon be, happily, a thing of the past. Ryanair has reached an agreement to begin operating out of the infamous planeless airport in Castellon, the northern province in the autonomous region of Valencia. The airport was inaugurated in a hurry, in time for the regional elections, despite the fact that it didn’t have a navigational permit at the time. Not that planes were around to use the airport. More than four years after the inauguration it has yet to see public traffic; to date it has been used solely by occasional private planes and charter flights for soccer clubs.

Although the project was originally meant to be funded and built by the private sector, Valencia ultimately paid €120 million for construction work and an additional €50 million in compensation, cost overruns, and outsourced contracts. Because of this, the airport came to be known as a symbol and prime example of the wasteful public spending during Spain’s construction boom which came to an abrupt end at the start of the economic crisis in 2008.

As if to mock the people of Valencia – and all of Spain – “The Plane Man, “a monstrous sculpture, has been erected in the airport at the cost of €300,000 to honor the then President of the Castellon Council Carlos Fabra who had the bright idea of constructing the airport.

The airport’s Canadian manager, SNC-Lavalin, and sources at the provincial council headquarters, have admitted that they had been trying to close deals with numerous airlines and tour companies willing to utilize the flight facility. They were lucky to have pulled off the Ryanair deal.

Javier Miliner, the incumbent president of the Castellón Council, referred to the deal with Ryanair on his Twitter account saying that after months of hard work the notorious airport could finally justify its embarrassing existence and offer the services that public airports are built for.



Macabre Jihadist Threat Against the Spanish Royal Family

King Felipe VI

King Felipe VI

The Spanish Interior Minister, Jorge Fernández Díaz, assured on Monday March 16 in Ceuta that “steps [have been] taken” to reinforce the security for the Spanish Royal Family as a direct response to the March 13 arrests of eight suspected members of a jihadist cell who selected people to be sent to Syria and Iraq for training and implementation of terrorist attacks. The arrests were made during an anti-terrorist operation across the country.

A note referring to King Felipe VI and his two daughters was reportedly found on the presumed leader of the group. It read: “Felipe of Spain will know what suffering is when his two daughters are under the rubble.”

Judge Javier Gómez Bermúdez, magistrate of the Audiencia Nacional (National Court), considers these detainees “potentially very dangerous people to public security.”

The recent detentions were made on suspicion of spreading Islamic State propaganda. According to Spain’s Interior Ministry, local police arrested four suspected ISIL-affiliates in late February. Fernández admitted that there is a special jihadist threat in Catalonia, Valencia, and Madrid according to the National Center of Intelligence (CNI).

ISIL engages in high-power propaganda in social media, aimed especially at the youth. Due to such tactics, it is able to entice thousands of recruits from all over the world.

>Felipe VI  
Source: Senate of the Republic of Poland
Author: Michał Koziczyński
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Poland


STEPHANIE RILEY ID picGuidepost staff writer Stephanie Riley grew up in Texas but attended the University of Arkansas where, as a perennial of the dean’s list, she earned her Bachelor’s degree ahead of time. She currently lives in Madrid and enjoys living in the city and learning about its rich culture and history. In her free time, she loves to read as well as travel and learn new languages. She speaks Spanish fluently (apart from her native English, of course) and is currently learning French. Moreover, she plans to continue learning from others and experiencing all that life has to offer through different cultures and people.