The responsibility of “Política Mafiós” ? (subtitled – This is what greed does)

Saturday 1433 – 9th February 2013

I was travelling again today, back from a week’s holiday in Mallorca with my lovely daughter Katy. We had a busy but relaxing time and followers of my photography blog Helen’s Photomania can be assured there will be photos on the blog soon 🙂

Mallorca is a very beautiful island but does it also have some unsavoury political secrets ?

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Yesterday (Friday that is as I’m writing this a bit late! ) Katy and I visited one of the most celebrated, long, undeveloped beaches in the South East of Mallorca, Es Trenc which is backed by protected sand dunes in one area and salt flats in another. We approached it via a town called Se Covetes, which is at one end of the beach.  We parked beside a small bar and restaurant which should certainly have vegetation and maybe sea views but doesn’t as there is now a ghost development of 13 beach-front apartment buildings which apparently would have contained a total of 68 flats. It was never finished.

_671.._672

_667I was initially attracted by the graffiti which is everywhere on the buildings, some of which you can see here, but was also very saddened to see this ugliness in such a beautiful place. My daughter was angry rather than saddened and thought it should just be knocked down at once ! She’s right!

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When I asked a barman about it, his English wasn’t so good but better than my pretty non-existent Spanish, he became very animated – “Política Mafiós , Política Mafiós” he said several times pointing to the building and then told us it was being demolished at last in May; about which he looked delighted and who could blame him. He was looking at this eyesore every day instead of the beautiful azure sea behind it. 

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This says something like – No Roots in Cement ! Surely a reference to the vegetation that was destroyed?

_670I determined to do a bit of research about it when I got back to see why it wasn’t finished and how it came to be there in the first place. What I found was that the land sits in a municipality called Campos and back in 1994 it is said that the right-wing Popular Party who controlled the area changed the land classification to urban ( what !!! no way! ) which meant that there could be buildings 20 metres from the sea. The previous classification ( and clearly the correct one) prohibited development within 100 metres of the sea. This reclassification enabled a building license for the developer Marina Ernst, the vegetation on the site was cleared and the building began.

This explains the barman’s Política Mafiós statement.

DSC_0365Do you smell something fishy in the air?   ( excuse the pun) 

There followed  protests by the Mallorcan Socialist Party and the “Balearic Group of Ornithology and Defence of Nature” and a protracted 18 year legal battle which it seems has only just been resolved. Apparently the municipality ( council) spent what has been estimated as over 700,000 Euro of PUBLIC money trying to defend their decision!! 

_669So a victory it seems but there is a sting in the tail because the same council now has to approve a 200,000 Euro spend of PUBLIC money to demolish the buildings and the developer is said to be suing !! Surprise! Surprise!   It’s not hard to imagine that there may have been corruption involved although, as I do not wish to be sued, I am not saying there definitely was 😉 

What is definitely happening though is that the “man in the street” is going to be paying to rectify the situation ,not the developer nor the council officials who made the decision to change the classification.

It’s not hard to imagine that this is happening around the world either.  It’s up to us all to  defend our natural environment.  

( If anyone reading this speaks Catalan and would like to give accurate translation that would be much appreciated.) 

I’ll finish with the piece of Graffiti below. Descriptive isn’t it ! 

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Saturday Girl signing off now, Apologies for not keeping up with my favourite blogs I hope to catch up now I’m back. See you next week.

You can find my photography blog Photomania here and I hope you’ll pop over and take a look if you haven’t already.. photos of Mallorca soon, continuing London People and a new minimalism series also in the pipeline. Time is all that’s needed !

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11 comments on “The responsibility of “Política Mafiós” ? (subtitled – This is what greed does)

  1. […] Saturday’s post was rather serious and you can read it here if you haven’t already done so. This weeks couldn’t be further from serious. It’s […]

  2. munchow says:

    It’s really sad to see the results of Política Mafiós. And, yes, it’s unfortunately not the only example of this kind of corruption. All the more important to bring those cases into light. Thank you.

  3. Alex Jones says:

    The sort of corruption that destroys community and nation.

  4. Stuart says:

    Glad you’re back…….(and glad you had a good time)…looking forward to some photos…
    Coastal Spain, both islands and mainland, throws up some terrible examples of this kind of thing…..in some way I think the current dire economic situation may prove a bit of a watershed….hopefully when the country comes ‘out of the other side’ things will be more tightly controlled .

    In the meantime, though God knows it isn’t a
    sea view at least there is some fabulous painting….graffiti can turn something f**k-ugly into something worth a second look…
    Cheers Helen …great post.

  5. bananabatman says:

    A great post Helen. You are correct, that this is happening everywhere throughout the world. We will all have heard of indiviuduals who have run for positions on local councils, just for their own financial gain.

  6. scillagrace says:

    Apart from the tiled roofs, the great blocks of cement remind me of abandoned Soviet structures in Budapest. Systems failures. Embarrassing, disgusting, pervasive, nevertheless, part of our human story. And the natural story goes on despite it…vegetation creeps back. I wonder if any animals have moved in? Perhaps the sea would as our global climate warms. How lovely to enjoy a holiday with your daughter and explore/react together!

    • Helen Cherry says:

      Scilla, I’ve only just realised I haven’t answered many of my comments! Budapest is a very beautiful City though you are right there are still remnants of Soviet occupation. I have visited several times and talked with taxi drivers and they have some tales to tell.

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