TIME portfolio

These Photos Show the Reality of Spain’s Housing Crisis

Andres Kudacki photographed the country's home evictions

In Spain, few sights are more universally terrifying than that of police through an apartment door peephole. “They’ll come at dawn. They’ll cordon off the area two blocks around the house. And if the residents don’t open the door, they’ll break it down,” says photographer Andres Kudacki.

While shooting for the Associated Press in Madrid in 2012, Kudacki embarked on what would become a three-year project about evictions, hoping to tell a deeper story of the widespread, enduring consequences of Spain’s financial crisis. His efforts will find an attentive audience as a featured exhibit at this year’s Visa pour l’Image photojournalism festival in Perpignan, France, at a time when Spain’s economic woes seem all but eclipsed by those of Greece.

Kudacki’s photography puts individual faces to a crisis that has seen hundreds of thousands evicted from their homes since the 2008 housing market crash. Spain’s unemployment rate, at 22.5%, is the second-highest in Europe after Greece, and it’s simply impossible for many to make rent or mortgage payments. “Everybody knows someone who’s been evicted,” he claims.

The tragedy continues to unfold every day, over and over again, says Kudacki who initially found his sources with the help of housing rights activism group Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH). He was soon covering up to four evictions a week. Those who lose their homes, he says, are usually forced to reoccupy evicted spaces, only to be evicted again later.

To make matters worse, the victims often suffer astonishing heartlessness at the hands of police. “The officers kick people to the ground and even push fingers into their eyes,” says Kudacki. But the most brutal treatment, he discovered, is reserved for members of the press. “The police don’t want to be the face of the evictions, because they are just executing an order delivered by a judge. But they will execute it no matter what.” During one eviction, Kudacki was arrested and faced up to four years in prison before his lawyers managed to get his case dropped.

Despite the risks he’s had to take, Kudacki’s work has sparked change for the better. One of his subjects, an 86-year-old widow named Carmen Ayuso, quickly became a symbol of the crisis after his portrait of her went viral on Twitter. “She had been living in [her home] for 50 years,” he says. “Her case sensitized everyone to the problem. A local football club donated all the profits from one of their games to help her.”

Aside from the direct impact his work has had on Carmen’s life, the opportunity to exhibit at Visa pour l’Image is one of the most gratifying things to happen to him as a photojournalist, he says. “When the police are trying to arrest me or break my camera, they’re saying, ‘Your work is nothing.’ But Visa pour l’Image is a space with such a good reputation. It says that [my] work is important and that it matters to society.”

Andres Kudacki is a freelance photographer based in New York.

Mikko Takkunen, who edited this photo essay, is an Associate Photo Editor at TIME. Follow him on Twitter @photojournalism.

Jen Tse is a photo editor and contributor to TIME LightBox. Follow her on Twitter @jentse and Instagram.

TIME Google Doodle

New Google Doodle Celebrates 70th Anniversary of Spain’s La Tomatina Festival

The festival is considered the world's largest food fight

Once every year, for about an hour on the last Wednesday of August, thousands of people descend on the town of Buñol in eastern Spain to pelt each other with tomatoes as part of La Tomatina festival.

The small Spanish municipality isn’t the only place being pelted with tomatoes, however — today’s Google Doodle has joined in on the act to celebrate the 70th anniversary of what is widely considered the world’s largest food fight.

google-doodle-la-tomatina
Google

The festival first began in 1945, when a man was pushed off a float during the town’s annual parade. In a fit of rage, he picked up tomatoes from a nearby vegetable stall and began throwing them at everyone in sight. A group of people repeated the act the following year, and although authorities tried to clamp down on the tomato-throwing initially, it became an official festival in 1957.

The Google Doodle, created by Nate Swinehart, features an animated depiction of the revelry that about 50,000 people are expected to engage in on Wednesday — including the ham hoisted on top of a pole that must traditionally be untied and brought down before a single tomato can be thrown.

TIME Spain

Woman Beats Animal Rights Activist With a Duck

It happened at a "duck chase" in Spain

He was trying to save the ducks, or at least chronicle what he saw as the abuses against them Instead, an animal rights activist in Spain ended up getting beaten with one.

The activist was filming the “duck chase” in the Catalonian town Roses, Yahoo reports, home to a controversial annual tradition in which ducks are thrown into the Mediterranean to be caught and brought back to land by swimmers.

As the activist films the chase, a woman in a white bathing suit swims up and, holding a duck by its legs, begins beating him with it.

A recent Change.org petition to end the chase because of the “suffering, fear and anxiety” it causes the ducks has received over 10,000 signatures.

TIME Spain

Spanish Music Festival Re-Invites Jewish Rapper Matisyahu

matisyahu
Rob Kim—Getty Images Matisyahu visits at SiriusXM Studios on July 1, 2015 in New York City.

The festival apologized and explained the original cancellation was based on pressure by a local pro-Palestinian organization

(MADRID) — Following a barrage of criticism, organizers of an international reggae festival in Spain backtracked Wednesday and apologized for cancelling a concert by Jewish-American singer Matisyahu because he had declined to state his position regarding a Palestinian state.

Rototom Sunsplash festival said in a statement that it publicly apologized for canceling the concert and invites Matisyahu to play as originally planned on Saturday.

It said it recognized its mistake, adding that it had been the fruit of pressure by a local branch of the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, which campaigned against Matisyahu’s participation.

The change comes after the World Jewish Congress wrote to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, calling on him to condemn the cancellation, adding that the “scandalous behavior” of Rototom Sunsplash festival organizers demanded firm action by Spain.

The government also slammed the festival’s decision.

The World Jewish Congress and the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain hailed the reversal Wednesday and thanked the organizers.

It wasn’t immediately known if Matisyahu will accept the new invitation.

In the letter sent Tuesday, the Jewish congress said the decision’s “anti-Semitic overtones are not in Spain’s best interests,” adding that the Jewish community in Spain and worldwide were deeply troubled by the incident.

The organization had suggested Spain should consider recuperating public funding for the festival, being held this week in eastern Spain.

Spain’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday the government understood the Jewish communities’ unease, adding that Spain opposed boycott campaigns against Israel. It reiterated its support for a Palestinian state through negotiations.

Festival organizers originally said they canceled the Aug. 22 concert because Matisyahu refused to state his positon regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the issue of a Palestinian state. He was the only artist asked to do so. They had said the festival has always supported the Palestinian people’s rights and denied that the decision was a result of a pro-Palestinian group’s campaign.

But in the statement Wednesday, it recognized that the group’s pressure tactics had prevented them from seeing the situation clearly.

It said the festival rejects anti-Semitism and respects the Jewish community.

On his Facebook page, Matisyahu, whose name is Matthew Miller, said Monday that the festival organizers were pressured by the pro-Palestinian group and wanted him “to write a letter, or make a video, stating my positions on Zionism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to pacify the BDS people.”

“I support peace and compassion for all people. My music speaks for itself, and I do not insert politics into my music,” he said.

TIME Spain

Famed Spanish Matador Paquirri in Serious but Stable Condition After Goring

He had come out of retirement for a farewell tour

Matador Francisco “Paquirri” Rivera Ordóñez is in serious but stable condition after being severely injured Monday in a bullfight in the Spanish town of Huesca, when a bull sank its horn approximately 10 inches into his groin.

Ordóñez was also tossed in the air and then trampled during the incident, El País reports. His injuries are not expected to be life threatening.

“All we have done is taken care of him, and God is the one who will cure him,” Enrique Crespo, the doctor who treated Ordóñez at the bullring, wrote on Facebook.

Ordóñez comes from a bullfighting dynasty. His father died in 1984 after being gored during a fight in the southern city of Cordoba. His great-grandfather, Cayetano Ordóñez, was the inspiration for the young matador in Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. His grandfather was also a respected bullfighter, and his brother continues to fight on the Spanish circuit.

The 41-year-old bullfighter officially retired in 2012 but staged a comeback this year, appearing at 19 fights before his injury in Huesca, although he told El País earlier this year that it would be for only one season “because this is the promise I made my wife.” She is pregnant and due to give birth later this month.

[El País]

TIME Spain

Spanish Police Find Smuggled Picasso Masterpiece

This photo taken on Friday, July 31, 2015 and made available on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015 by French Customs shows a 24 million-euro ($27.4 million) masterpiece by Pablo Picasso, seized from a boat cargo on July 31 from a boat cargo in Corsica, France. Corsican authorities said they were tipped off about an attempted smuggling of the prized 1906 painting, "Head of a Young Woman," to Switzerland. The painting is expected to return to the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015. (Douane Francaise via AP)
Douane Francaise/AP This photo made available on Aug. 11, 2015 by French Customs shows a 24 million-euro ($27.4 million) masterpiece by Pablo Picasso, seized from a boat cargo in Corsica, France, on July 31, 2015.

The painting, "Head of a Young Woman," is valued at $26 million

(MADRID) — A team of Spanish police experts flew to the French island of Corsica on Tuesday to retrieve a masterpiece by Pablo Picasso that was smuggled out of Spain, where it is considered a national treasure.

A spokesman for Spain’s Civil Guard said four police experts in national heritage and several Culture Ministry officials flew to recover the painting, “Head of a Young Woman,” which is valued at 24 million euros ($26 million). The officer said they expect to return with the painting later Tuesday.

The work is owned by Spanish banker Jaime Botin, brother of the late Emilio Botin, former head of the Santander banking group.

The National Court ruled in May that it could not be taken out of Spain, backing an earlier decision by the Culture Ministry. The ruling is under appeal before the Supreme Court.

The officer said they expect to return with the painting later Tuesday.

He was speaking on condition of anonymity in keeping with police regulations.

On arrival, the painting is to be taken to Madrid’s Reina Sofia Museum, museum officials said.

Corsican authorities said in a statement Aug. 4 that they had been tipped off about an attempted smuggling of the prized painting to Switzerland.

They said the oil painting, which comes from the Cubist master’s “pink period” and features a woman with long black hair, was seized July 31 when the captain was unable to produce a certificate.

On the boat, authorities say, a document was found in Spanish confirming that the work was of “cultural interest” and was banned from leaving Spain, Picasso’s homeland.

TIME Spain

Dutch Teen Dies in Bungee-Jumping Accident in Spain

She is the second person to die in less than a month from bungee-jumping in Spain

A teen died in a bungee-jumping accident in Spain this week, marking the second fatal bungee-jumping incident in the country in less than a month.

The 17-year-old Dutch girl died on Monday while bungee-jumping in Cabezon de la Sal, the AP reported. The teen, who has not been publicly identified, fell 131 ft. (40 m) from a viaduct. She’d been bungee-jumping in a group.

Th accident follows the death of a 23-year-old British woman on July 21, who died from a bungee-jumping accident off a bridge near Granada. “We don’t want something like this to happen again,” the woman’s father had told media afterward.

TIME portfolio

Discover Melilla, the Southern Frontier in Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Melilla, a Spanish enclave in Morocco, has become a modern-day fortress

Melilla, a small Spanish enclave on the Moroccan coast, may seem like an idyllic destination for summer holidays, with sandy beaches, turquoise waters and historic Roman ruins. The town, which Spain conquered in 1497, is an architectural treasure where influences from different cultures can be observed side-by-side. Anchoring it all is the Ciudadela citadel, an imposing Spanish military fortress with insurmountable walls built to repel Moroccan forces in the 16th and 17th centuries.

But today, for many migrants, Melilla has a very different meaning. It’s the culmination of a weeks-long journey, often commenced in West Africa. It holds the promise of a better life in Europe — but only if they can evade border patrols and overcome the 10- to 20-ft.-high fences that have transformed Melilla into a modern-day fortress, too.

“It’s the border of the border,” says Gianfranco Tripodo. The Italian photographer has spent the last three years documenting migrants’ attempts to climb Melilla’s fence. “When I started to work in Melilla, there was so little coverage of the migrants’ situation,” he explains. “And I wanted to see with my own eyes the tangible and real consequences of the European Union’s migration policies on thousands of people.”

Tripodo followed migrants on both sides of the fence — in the many unofficial refugee camps set up around Melilla in Morocco, as well as at the Centros de Estancia Temporal de Inmigrantes (CETI) where migrants are processed once in the Spanish enclave. “Not far from the center, some migrants have built a sort of meeting place with chairs and stuff they’ve collected around the city,” he says. “People cook, drink or just hang out,” as they wait for authorities to settle their fate.

See the story of Fez, 27, a deaf migrant in Melilla as he tried to reach the rest of his family in Europe – a video directed by Guillem Valle, co-founder of Me-mo magazine.

On April 24, 2014, as Tripodo was working in the compound, word arrived that a “jump of the fence” was underway. “I immediately rushed there and some 40 migrants were standing on top of a building on the side of the border,” he says. “After a couple of hours, the Spanish Guardia Civil started to push back the migrants into Morocco.” Some of them were able to scale the barrier, stepping on European soil. “But, despite the fact that they had a right to stay in Spain according to European and Spanish immigration laws, some police officers tried to grab them to send them back to Morocco.” According to Tripodo, the resulting confrontation severely injured some of the migrants.

For the Italian photographer, the tense situation in Melilla is just one aspect of a wider immigration crisis that is affecting the whole of Europe, from Italy and Greece, all the way to France and the U.K. It’s crisis, he believes, that has yet to be met with an adequate response. “The countries that are most exposed to the flow of migrants — such as Spain, Italy and Greece — lack the resources and funds to take care of this emergency,” he says. Last year, for example, Italy was forced to scrap its Mare Nostrum rescue operations, which used to cost more than 9 million Euros per month. Its replacement is called Operation Triton, whose focus shifted from rescuing migrants to securing the border. In the first six months of 2015, about 2,000 people have died in the Mediterranean.

“You can’t stop people from coming to Europe simply by making the route more dangerous or by strengthening the border,” he says. “This doesn’t work, and everyone can see what the consequences are in their newspapers every day: more tragedies and more deaths.”

Gianfranco Tripodo is an Italian photographer based in Madrid, Spain.

Mikko Takkunen, who edited this photo essay, is an Associate Photo Editor at TIME. Follow him on Twitter @photojournalism.

Francesca Trianni is a video producer at TIME. Follow her on Twitter @frantrianni.

Olivier Laurent is the editor of TIME LightBox. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @olivierclaurent

TIME free diving

The World’s Greatest Free Diver Is Missing and Presumed Dead in Spanish Waters

She set 41 world records and won 23 world championships in the sport

Natalia Molchanova, regarded by many as the greatest free diver in the history of the sport, is missing and presumed dead after she disappeared during a dive off the Spanish island of Formentera on Aug. 2.

Molchanova, who set 41 world records and won 23 world championships in the sport, was diving for fun with friends close to the village of La Savina in an area where currents can fluctuate powerfully, the New York Times reports. Because she was diving for leisure and not to set a record, she was not attached to the line that divers often use to mark depth and guard against emergencies.

Her personal records in competition include a dive of 233 feet without the use of fins and almost 300 feet with a monofin. She also held the world record for “static apnea,” in which a diver floats face-down in a pool, managing to stay 9 minutes 2 seconds without taking a breath.

Search efforts begun after her disappearance continued for two days, but her son, Alexey Molchanov, who is also a respected free diver, told the Times on August 4 that she is now not expected to be found alive.

“Free diving is not only sport, it’s a way to understand who we are,” Molchanova said in an interview with the Times last year. “When we go down, if we don’t think, we understand we are whole. We are one with world.”

[NYT]

TIME food and drink

World Faces Olive Oil Shortage

Spain olive oil
Getty Images Olive groves seen in Andalusia, Spain.

The price of Spanish olive oil reached its highest point since 2006

Prices for Spanish olive oil are approaching an all-time high as hot weather and disease harm the country’s harvest.

Last week the cost of Spanish extra-virgin olive oil rose 5 percent to $4,272 per metric ton—the highest since April 2006 and “critically low levels,” according to industry analysts Oil World. A bacterial disease xylella fastidiosa and fruit-fly infestations have also contributed to a 50 percent decline in Spanish and Italian olive oil output for the 2014-2015 season, Bloomberg reports. Spain and Italy account for 70% of the world’s olive oil.

“It’s quite a concerning acceleration in the price of olive oil,” Lamine Lahouasnia, the head of packaged-food research at market intelligence firm Euromonitor International, told Bloomberg. “The supply shortages as a result of the drought, and particularly under-production in Spain, have filtered through to the marketplace.”

Olive oil prices around the world have risen an average of around 10 percent in the past year, outpacing the global inflation rate for packaged foods according to Euromonitor.

[Bloomberg]

 

 

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