Jaén, Linares and Hasél, three unrest snapshots

2 min
A man photographing himself in front of a barricade on a night of riots in Barcelona over the Hasel case.

It is convenient to see El año del descubrimiento now that the month of February marked by street protests is coming to an end. The documentary directed by Luis López Carrasco shows a blind spot in the modern history of Spain, an episode erased from the most recent historical memory. In the year 1992 -while in the State everything was revolving around the Olympic Games in Barcelona and the Expo in Seville-, the industrial reconversion -a requirement to be part of the European Union- closed factories one after the other, and in Cartagena the riots for the closure of the public company of naval constructions Bazán ended with the Murcian Parliament in flames due to the throwing of Molotov cocktails. It is worth seeing El año del descubrimiento to think about current issues now that unrest is often on the streets of Barcelona, Vilanova i la Geltrú and Vic, but also in the streets of Linares and Jaén.

As in the case of Murcia in 1992, no attention is being paid to the protests in Jaén. Two weeks ago thousands of cars collapsed the Andalusian city in protest against the "historical mistreatment" of the province. The reason? The Spanish government's decision to install in Cordoba, and not in Jaén, an army logistics base that was to generate two thousand jobs. And if then the Murcians felt wronged in relation to the shipyards of Ferrol - which had the influence of Manuel Fraga - and Cadiz - the city of Carmen Romero, then the wife of the Spanish prime minister, Felipe González - now the residents of Jaén - who have accumulated years of protests over the lack of infrastructure - point directly to the role of the Spanish first vice-president, Carmen Calvo, who admitted having asked Pedro Sánchez for the army base to be installed in Córdoba, her home province.

A few kilometres from Jaén, in Linares, the feeling of continued grievance and contempt has also taken hold. In the city of more than 20,000 inhabitants (it has 58,000) with the highest unemployment in the state - the unemployment rate exceeds 30% and is close to 50% in the case of young people - the spark has been the brutal aggression of off-duty policemen against a father and his 14-year-old daughter. An episode that triggered a day of riots and clashes with the police in a city that ten years ago saw the Andalusian government close Santana Motor, the car company in the area, and two thousand jobs were also lost.

In Catalonia the riots have come hand in hand with the imprisonment of Pablo Hasél, but the protests go beyond that. As in Jaén and Linares, or in Murcia in 1992, the fuel behind the barricades is the lack of expectations. That's why, instead of talking about the police model - which is also the case - it would be a good idea for the negotiations to form a government to focus on how to respond to these young people - and not only to them - who are frightened by the lack of prospects. And not to wait, like in the case of Murcia, for everything to burn.