On 2 May, the Government of Spain has given us back a small fraction of our pre-COVID19 freedom. We were let out of our homes for a few hours. It was the beginning of the desescalada. The beginning of something that we don’t know for sure what. But it’s something that feels precious because somehow it smacks of rebirth. In the middle of all the uncertainty, there was one thing unequivocal: a deep sense of gratitude. We wouldn’t be here now, out on our first true taste of sunshine and the soft breeze of spring, without the healthcare workers who have put their own lives on the line so we could live. Their heroism is breathtaking. We’ve lived by the rules so that we all could live even though some of us hadn’t been able to make it. And we grieve for them.
‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’ is the theme song of my life. It was the few days before lockdown began in Spain that Monday in mid March. I knew I would enjoy the time for solitude that the lockdown would provide. I would have plenty of time to read, write and meditate upon what I want to do with my life as a 23-year-old recent college grad. But my parents preferred me to come home. Dear Spain, muchas gracias for the short time we had together. We’ll see each other soon, once the gods permit.
Spain has finally learned that where the notorious coronavirus is concerned, no country is an island. When northern Italy was hit by the virus, everyone felt it was just a matter of hours – not days – before the virus reared its ugly head here. Spanish Minister of Health Salvador Illa urges calm, common sense and trust in the public health system, Spain’s crown jewel. Fifteen people have tested positive and the number is likely to rise in the looming pandemia. People in Spain are caught between believing and blind panic.
Barcelona was all set to host the Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest mobile show. And then – wham! – the killer coronavirus broke out from the confines of Wuhan, China and the major exhibitors pulled out over fears of contagion. After this, there was nothing left for the organizers to do but to ring down the curtain even before the sensational tech show began.
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act was passed in the Senate and the House of Representatives by a unanimous vote and thus could be enacted into law even if President Trump vetoes it. (He signed it.) Good to know that, although far away, the cry for freedom and democracy can still be heard and addressed in some way.
Forecast: the Spanish economy will maintain a robust growth path: after growing at a rate of 2.6% in 2018, GDP is expected to expand by 2.2% in 2019. Meanwhile, Inditex is on the up and up. Three Spanish companies were highlighted at the Sustainable Growth meeting in Tsukuba within the framework of Japan's G20 presidency, etc. etc.
"It's a small step for the rover but one giant leap for the Chinese nation"
The accord between El Corte Inglés, benchmark of Spanish commerce, and Alibaba, the digital giant from China, is welcomed by both partners with such a great enthusiasm one would think it was marriage made in heaven. El Corte Inglés press releases are rosy and replete with optimism. The partners present the accord as the answer to Jeff Bezos’ dominant position in global e-commerce.
The crush of the crowds and the crushing tomatoes make La Tomatina one of the wildest of Spanish festivals, but a lot safer than the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. It is always held on the last Wednesday in August