In this post, I am going to give some general information about Bankia, the polemic bank which is considered as the main responsible of the economical crisis in Spain. I say general because the crisis is a really deep and complicated topic, and, of course, there are too many different versions of how it was caused. However, in spite of the fact that there are different points of view, it is undeniable that Bankia is one of the main guilty ones, as it is the fourth largest bank entity of Spain.
Bankia was created in December 2010; it is the fusion between seven savings banks: Caja Madrid, Bancaja, Caja de Canarias, Caixa Laietana, Caja de La Rioja, Caja Ávila and Caja Segovia. Its president was Rodrigo Rato, who had formerly been the president of Caja Madrid. Even if it was private at first, now it has been largely nationalized due to the problems that the institution had in the latest years. As we all know, Bankia requested a bailout of 19 billion euros on the 25 of May of 2012, which has been the largest bailout requested by a spanish bank entity in the whole history.
As a start point, I am going to speak about one of the main (and best known) reasons of this crisis we are living, in which Bankia is largely involved: the speculation.
Generally speaking, the main problem of Bankia (and in general) was that in most of the savings banks there were politicians doing the job of the administrators, and, as it has been largely proved, the qualification most politicians have in the field of administration is quite limited (sometimes they don’t have qualification at all), and they started giving credits to local governments and to property companies (which seemed to be in their boom of production and sales) without taking care of the consequences. When the property market started bankrupting, most of the little/medium sized banks were hit by a flood of bad investments and credits which were impossible to charge, and Bankia found itself in the need of a rescue.
People were terrifyingly surprised when Bankia, which was considered as one of the most successful banks in Spain, fell. As I said before, the reason is moderately simple: while Rodrigo Rato was the president of Bankia, 31 798 millions of euros were irresponsibly invested in the construction sector. Now, we can see huge extensions of useless constructions which have cost millions of euros.
In conclusion, I would say that this bank is the result of an illogical decision, and that the government is largely involved. Bankia started from a bank fusion which nobody understood very well, and the government approved it without any doubt. Now, we are paying the consequences of their frivolous decision.
Aitor Seijas Conde
On 17 February 2012, a piece of news written by Kevin Ovenden in The Guardian stated this: ” Calls for aggressive intervention in Syria are growing as the country slides further into sectarian civil war. The shrillest are from the Republican right, joined this week by Israel’s foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman. The same people are campaigning for confrontation with Iran, threatening a major war. Elliot Abrams, a neoconservative architect of the Iraq disaster, spells out the connection: Syria, he says, provides a “proxy opportunity” to heat up the cold war with Tehran”.
As happened in Libya, “the war was purportedly to save lives. In fact, the killing intensified on all sides, including from Nato bombs. Estimates of the number dead reach 30,000. The outcome is not democracy and human rights. Amnesty International is the latest NGO to report the torturing to death of prisoners under the new regime and rival militias”.
The Tribune News, added in March through the reporter Vaishnav Sunil that “what distinguishes Syria from Libya is the nature of existing opposition within the country. Unlike Libya, where much of the coastal core of the population lived under rebel control, the opposition to Syria’s dictatorial president, Bashar al-Assad, has not achieved sustained control of any major population area. This implies that air power alone would probably not be sufficient to blunt the Assad loyalists entrenched in cities, and a heavy ground campaign would probably face stiff and bloody resistance. If a large region broke away from the regime en masse, international humanitarian intervention would become more viable. So although a mass homicide campaign is under way in Syria, there is no way to stop it without loss of unacceptable lives.”
Many political experts claim that militaryintervention in Syria would do more harm than good. Namely, Ed Husain, Senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies, Council on Foreign Relations, gives his view on the motion in “Economist Debates: Syria”. He believes that “military intervention in Syria is ill-conceived, short-sighted, counter-productive, and likely to generate more killings and massacres rather than stop them. Unlike any other Arab nation, Syria is home to varied and numerous assortments of religious sects, tribes, ethnicities and historic rivalries. In contrast to the uprisings in Yemen, Egypt and Libya, we have not witnessed high-level political and military defections inside Syria. And the largest cities in Syria—Damascus and Aleppo—have so far been relatively calm. Whatever the reasons—fear of, or support for, Bashar Assad—the opposition has thus failed to mobilise key constituencies inside Syria that would indicate to us that the regime is losing control”.
Nevertheless, there some few experst that are in favour of intervention. Shadi Hamid,director of research, Brooking Doha Center, states that “military action, in any context, should not be taken lightly. But neither should standing by and proposing measures that have, in Syria, so far failed to work. Opponents of intervention need to explain how staying the current course—hoping that diplomacy might work when it has not for nearly a year—is likely to resolve an increasingly deadly civil war”.
- Kevin Ovenden, 17-02-12, “Western Intervention in Syria will do more harm than good”. The Guardian. Retrieved: 05-05-12 from www.guardian.co.uk.
- Vaishnav Sunil, March 2012, “Syria: must the west take action?” The Tribune News. Retrieved: 05-05-12 from www.thenewstribune.com.
- Ed Husain, 10-02-12, “West must not intervene militarily in Syria”. CNN. Retrieved: 03-05-12 from http://www.edition.cnn.com.
- Shadi Hamid, 21-02-12, Economist Debates: Syria. The Economist. Retrieved 03-05-12 from www.economist.com.
- Charles Crawford, 27-03-12, “If it brings freedom, a bloody Syrian civil war may be preferable to slavery”. Syrian Freedom. Retrieved: 05-05-12 from www.syrianfreedomls.tumblr.com.
In 2008, Barack Obama chose Twitter to thank for his victory in the elections (Cristina Pereda), and in three years time Twitter has reached 220 million users, having only one million in the year 2008 (Yolanda Monge). In 2011, six Spanish candidates out of ten owned a Twitter account in the elections in May (Albert Medrán). What is the reason behind this? In Medrán’s words, if politics is dialogue, discussion, debate and conversation, there is nothing closer than Twitter; but, does all this have a real incidence in votes? Read more…
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