Stories written by Inés Benítez
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Faces of the Crisis in a Protesting Europe*

Out-of-work engineers, family businesses that are falling apart, people working in precarious conditions in an ailing labour market – it’s a description of Spain, but it could just as easily be Portugal, Greece or Italy…

Defying Foreclosures in Spain

Shouting slogans against bank foreclosures, dozens of protesters in this southern Spanish city gathered Wednesday to prevent the eviction of a Moroccan family who couldn’t afford to meet their mortgage payments.

Weapons exports are flourishing in Spain. Carsten Lorentzen/CC BY 2.0

Purveyors of Death Flourish in Spain During Crisis

At the height of the economic and financial crisis, the Spanish government is promoting the export of weapons, creating concern among civil society organisations that say commercial interests are prevailing over the law and human rights.

Stevia, a Flourishing Business in Spain

On a parcel of land a few kilometres outside the southern Spanish city of Málaga, unemployed activists are growing 2,000 seedlings of stevia, a plant used by the Guaraní indigenous people for centuries as a natural sweetener that is awakening ever greater interest in Spain.

Spain at Risk of Chronic Protests

Over the past year and a half, Spain has been caught up in constant street protests against measures taken to combat the severe economic crisis. But some say the movement has failed to come together around concrete proposals.

Mobile phones ready for recycling. Credit: Courtesy of Entreculturas

“Two Children May Have Died for You to Have Your Mobile Phone”

"It’s possible that two children died so that you could have that mobile phone,” says Jean-Bertin, a 34-year-old Congolese activist who wants to end the “absolute silence” around the crimes committed in his country to exploit strategic raw materials like coltan.

Spain Hit by Epidemic of Despair

Rising rates of depression and suicide are among the most obvious signs of the increase in mental illness resulting from the economic crisis in Spain.

Ethical Banks Weather Crisis in Spain

Where do banks invest their depositors' money? Whose interests do they serve, and what criteria do they apply? Increasing numbers of dissatisfied customers want to know what happens to their money, and are opting for alternative financial services which are growing in spite of the economic crisis choking Spain.

Outer wall of immigrant detention centre in Málaga. Credit: Inés Benítez/IPS

Notorious Immigrant Detention Centre Closed in Spain

The closure of one of Spain’s eight immigration detention centres on Wednesday was celebrated by human rights groups, which for years have denounced the prison-like conditions in the centres.

Crisis Sows Community Gardens in Spain

The economic crisis is fuelling the search for less individualistic ways of life in Spain, and a growing interest in urban agriculture has given rise to flourishing community gardens on vacant lots in cities and towns.

Coffee grower Lourdes Altamirano from the Nicaraguan cooperative Aldea Global, which produces Tierra Madre coffee.  Credit:Courtesy of Intermón Oxfam

Fair Trade Alive and Well in Spain Despite Recession

The economic and financial crisis afflicting the countries of the European Union (EU) has scarcely affected sales of fair trade products from Latin America, especially food products, in Spain.

Teenagers who had a tough childhood in northeast Brazil perform Afro-Brazilian dances in Málaga.  Credit:Ines Benítez/IPS

Brazilian Street Stars Dance and Shine in Spain

Arrayed in colourful garments they have made themselves, six teenagers who used to be street kids in Fortaleza, in northeast Brazil, visited this southern Spanish city to recount their life experiences and awaken solidarity.

Spain’s “Indignados” Take to the Streets Again

A filthy vacant lot is now sprouting strawberries, tomatoes and carrots. This small community garden in the centre of the southern Spanish city of Málaga was created by the "Indignados" protest movement, which is celebrating its first anniversary Saturday by taking to the streets across the country.

Courts Looking into Theft of Babies in Spain

An 80-year-old nun is the first person facing trial in Spain on charges of forming part of a secret network that allegedly stole hundreds of babies and sold them to couples without children.

Spain Slashes Funds for Integration of Immigrants

The Support Fund for the Integration of Immigrants in Spain has been drained of resources, and as a result there is no funding for social insertion, employment and education programmes for the immigrant community.

Former Cuban political prisoners gathered outside the governing party headquarters in Málaga to demand an extension of the aid they were receiving. Credit: Inés Benítez/IPS

Cuban Dissidents in Spain Complain about Cut-off in Aid

A group of former political prisoners from Cuba and their family members gathered in Madrid's Puerta del Sol square and in front of the foreign ministry Tuesday to protest the unexpected cut-off in aid from the government.

Solar panels in Arico, Canary Islands. Credit: Mataparda/CC BY 2.0

Oil Drilling Threatens Spain’s Renewable Energy Paradise

Environmentalists and local authorities are opposed to prospecting for oil in the waters off the Canary Islands, one of Europe’s leading tourist destinations and an area with great potential in the field of renewable energy.

Protesters in Málaga declared "No to the labour reform". Credit: Inés Benítez/IPS

Spanish Officials Turn Deaf Ear to General Strike

Spain’s centre-right government stood firm and announced that it would not modify the labour reforms that tens of thousands of people protested Thursday in a 24-hour general strike.

Spain’s Jobless Unite for Solutions and Survival

Unemployed people's movements and associations in Spain are proposing alternatives to official job seeking channels, in the midst of an economic crisis that so far has left more than five million people out of work.

Euribor: an unknown quantity added to mortgage payments.  Credit: Tumejorhipoteca.es

Euribor Under Scrutiny by People’s Campaign in Spain

Two Spanish lawyers have launched a campaign on social networking sites to prise out information about Euribor, the reference interest rate used for calculating mortgage payments in Spain, and to draw attention to the lack of transparency surrounding the way the rate is set.

SPAIN: Demonstrators Protest Bank Bailouts and Spending Cuts

Demonstrators in nearly two dozen cities in Spain raised their voices Friday to protest against the use of public funds to bail out banks while the budgets for basic services like education and health are being slashed.

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