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España: Almeida deja fuera al 86% de las familias que han solicitado Escuelas Infantiles

Por: Sara Plaza Casares

De las 28.671 solicitudes emitidas por las familias madrileñas para entrar en las Escuelas Infantiles, el Gobierno municipal ha dejado fuera a 25.489 familias.

De las 28.671 solicitudes emitidas por las familias madrileñas para entrar en las Escuelas Infantiles, el Gobierno municipal ha dejado fuera a 25.489 familias. Esto significa que el 86,2% de las solicitudes han quedado sin plaza y que sólo 3.683 familias tienen hueco en un centro municipal, según denuncia Más Madrid. Desde esta formación aseguran que no hay ni una sola plaza nueva respecto al curso pasado, “a pesar de que la cifra de peticiones crece cada año”.

“El Gobierno de Almeida está haciendo de Madrid una ciudad hostil para la crianza y para la conciliación”, expresa la concejala de Más Madrid Carolina Pulido. Pulido subraya además que no está prevista la apertura de ninguna Escuela Infantil “hasta los meses previos a las elecciones del 2023”. Así, y según su formación política, las obras de las cuatro que se han puesto en marcha fueron proyectadas por el anterior gobierno, cuando el consistorio lo lideraba Manuela Carmena: Antonio Mercero (Moncloa-Aravaca); La Bruja Avería-Lolo Rico (Centro), Margarita Salas (Retiro) y Parque de Ingenieros (Villaverde).

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España: “Organizarse es empezar a vencer”. Algunas notas desde las II Jornadas de Feminismo Sindicalista

Por: Laboratoria Sur De Europa*

La Laboratoria, desde su nodo Madrid, lleva ya dos años incitando pensamiento y encuentros desde un feminismo sindicalista que, bajo diferentes nombres, va abriéndose paso en nuestro territorio y más allá. Entendemos que “trabajadoras somos todas” porque dedicamos todo nuestro tiempo y nuestras fuerzas a sostener nuestras vidas y las de los que nos rodean, enfrentándonos a las múltiples y entrelazadas opresiones y explotaciones que el proceso de huelga feminista nos ayudó a revelar, cual papel tornasol. Diversos colectivos compartieron esta misma intuición en las I las Jornadas «El feminismo sindicalista que viene» en otoño de 2020. Son colectivos cuyo feminismo se teje en el día a día, en una práxis a caballo entre lo comunitario y lo sindical.

Año y medio después, y tras un proceso de autoencuesta que nos sirvió para calibrar mejor deseos y necesidades de los colectivos en lucha, celebramos en Madrid entre el 16 y el 21 de febrero de 2022 las II Jornadas por un feminismo sindicalista, con la alegría de encontrarnos en persona después del aislamiento de la pandemia y con la urgencia de la dureza de nuestras condiciones de vida. El objetivo: tramar formas de estar más conectadas, de compartir redes y recursos, de apoyarnos en cada una de nuestras luchas. Desde La Laboratoria-Madrid pensamos que todas estas luchas de base comparten ya una forma de acción y un campo de batalla.

Las feministas marxistas, los ecofeminismos, los llamados feminismos del Tercer Mundo, los feminismo postcoloniales y descoloniales nos han enseñado que además de la explotación asalariada, existe una inmensa apropiación de trabajo no pagado, todo el trabajo de cuidados que realizan tradicionalmente las mujeres (y que se suma a la apropiación de la naturaleza). Existe también extracción a través de la deuda, extracción de nuestros estilos de vida y creaciones colectivas, extracción de la permanente movilización de nuestra energía y trabajo para sobrevivir.

Los feminismos negros nos han enseñado también que esta explotación asalariada, la apropiación de trabajo no pagado y el extractivismo, es diferente según una jerarquía racial que viene de la colonia y que es la forma de organización de la acumulación capitalista, no algo tangencial sino constitutivo, imprescindible para la acumulación.

Los feminismos marxistas y las economías feministas nos han enseñado que los roles de sexo-género normativos cumplen una función económica: para las mujeres, poner los cuidados por encima de los deseos propios, sea cuidando material y emocionalmente, sea trabajando en cualquier cosa para mantener a niñes y ancianes; para los hombres, llevar a casa el salario principal, sostén monetario de la familia. En estos roles de sexo-género se nos educa desde que nacemos, pero cuando esa educación falla, cuando la desobedecemos, llega la violencia; y escapar de esta violencia se hace muy difícil cuando se suma a la precariedad, a la falta de trabajo y casa y a la cuestión de la custodia de les niñes, al gran miedo de perder a les niñes.

Las historiadoras feministas nos han enseñado que estos roles de sexo-género con función económica no siempre han existido en su forma actual. Nos cuentan que este régimen de acumulación se inició con la desposesión de los medios de reproducción, la pérdida de la tierra y los comunes: la llamada acumulación originaria, iniciada en la Edad Moderna. Y llega hasta la actualidad, como vemos en la continuación del despojo en América Latina y tantos otros lugares del mundo.

Por eso en estas Jornadas no solo nos encontramos colectivos que luchan en el campo asalariado, sino un amplio arco de luchas feministas anticapitalistas con todas las letras, dentro y fuera de un terreno laboral cada vez más desdibujado. Y lo hacemos desde la convicción de que las luchas que no tienen en su centro de forma explícita el empleo no son luchas sectoriales o menores o divisorias; no son luchas que señalen algo superpuesto con el capitalismo, algo parcial, sino el corazón mismo del capitalismo: la forma en que construye jerarquías sobre las que acumula de forma diferencial, sin las que la acumulación misma no sería posible (imaginemos que las patronales del mundo tuvieran que pagar el ingente trabajo de cuidados no pagado sobre el que se sostienen sus beneficios) y que constituyen la base política de la dificultad misma de luchar juntas.

Vemos lucha anticapitalista en la pugna por ser menos dependientes del salario, por construir nuestros medios de producción, como hace el Nodo de producción del barrio madrileño de Carabanchel. O en la lucha por la vivienda y la luz, por desmontar la relación salarial como única legítima para el acceso a lo que necesitamos para vivir, como hace la Asociación Tabadol de La Cañada Real de Madrid, o los movimientos por el derecho a la vivienda como la Plataforma de Afectadxs por la Hipoteca o los sindicatos de inquilinos. O en la lucha contra esa violencia que busca atarnos a roles sexo-genéricos y raciales, que va dirigida a que no nos movamos ninguna de nuestra casilla asignada: de la violencia machista a las redadas policiales contra las economías populares o a la ilegalidad producida por la Ley de Extranjería. Mujeres supervivientes de Sevilla o AAMAS de la Red de estructuras populares y comunitarias de Manresa enfrentan esta violencia y lo hacen de forma colectiva, creando y espesando el tejido social.

Y es que todos los colectivos que nos encontramos en las Jornadas consideramos fundamental construir y fortalecer comunidades, redes sociales y de apoyo mutuo, que nos hagan más fuertes, más autónomas, frente a toda explotación y apropiación, y nos permitan imaginar y poner en práctica nuevas formas de relación y de vida. A estas luchas anticapitalistas, basadas en el apoyo mutuo y en la acción directa, que crean comunidad, que traen prácticas comunitarias de otras partes del mundo e inventan nuevas relaciones de cooperación en autonomía, las llamamos feminismo sindicalista. Lo hacemos sin ninguna pretensión de que sea un nombre canónico: lo hacemos para sentirnos más juntas.

Estas Jornadas han sido otro pasito en este sentirnos más juntas, para conocer nuestros nombres y nuestras caras, para compartir nuestra potencia y nuestros retos. Hemos decidido establecer formas de comunicación permanentes entre nosotras, poner por escrito nuestras exigencias más básicas, poner en común los recursos y las redes que tenemos y empezar a pensar modelos organizativos que puedan hacernos más fuertes. Porque organizarse es empezar a vencer y, también, empezar a vivir de otra manera.


  • La Laboratoria, espacio transnacional de investigación feminista


Fuente de la información e imagen:  https://desinformemonos.org

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Que no decidan por ti


Por: Juan Chambe


Decía Malcolm X que «si no estáis prevenidos ante los medios de comunicación, os harán amar al opresor y odiar al oprimido». Es una reflexión que debemos tener muy presente, especialmente en estos tiempos en los que la mayor parte de la información está controlada por un puñado de empresas privadas. Estos medios quieren parecer plurales, imparciales, exentos de cualquier atisbo de sectarismo o coerción. Sin embargo, tras esa máscara de objetividad se encuentra una realidad bien diferente.

Repasemos algunos ejemplos recientes: el 17 de febrero varios medios, incluían en su portada alguna reseña de los disturbios que se vivieron en Madrid y en Barcelona tras las protestas por la detención de Pablo Hasél. Dos meses después veíamos como las portadas de esos medios silenciaban el ataque con artefactos explosivos que sufrió la sede de Podemos en Cartagena. En mayo del año pasado, pudimos ver algún artículo refiriéndose a una manifestación por la sanidad pública en Moratalaz como “convocatoria ultraizquierdista” mientras que cuando se ve a unos neonazis acosando a un Vicepresidente del Gobierno se tilda de “jarabe democrático”. Hemos visto también a varios medios llevar en sus portadas ruidosos titulares sobre causas abiertas por supuesta financiación irregular de Podemos; que casualidad que esas mismas portadas se quedan sin espacio cuando se trata de publicar el archivo de dichas causas. Por último, pero no menos importante, asistimos cada mañana a debates donde participan mentirosos profesionales, repetidamente condenados, sin que eso ponga en cuestión la veracidad de lo que se dice.

Evidentemente hay muchos más ejemplos, pero creo que los expuestos son suficientes para encontrar un patrón. Por un lado, hay numerosos programas que dan veracidad a periodistas que mienten sistemáticamente, y por ende, el debate que se genera es completamente estéril desde el punto de vista informativo. Y por otro lado, vemos que esas mentiras, medias verdades, titulares capciosos o sencillamente falsos tienen siempre la misma dirección. Los errores no tienen una dirección predilecta, las mentiras sí. Y si esos medios no sólo permiten que se mienta en sus programas, sino que además tienen permanentemente a los mentirosos en sus platós, es porque lo que se pretende es atacar al enemigo político de las elites que controlan dichos medios.

En este periodo electoral que se abre hasta el 4 de mayo vamos a ver recrudecida esta tendencia, de hecho, ya lo estamos viendo. El discurso de Ayuso se está reduciendo en generar miedo hacía el adversario, especialmente Podemos. Ese es su lema, sin propuestas. Pero detrás de Ayuso hay todo un ejército de periodistas, opinólogos, pseudoexpertos y palmeros que se están encargando de dar sustancia a ese mensaje. De ahí que en TVE ayer no viésemos el pronóstico alcista de Podemos en el CIS, sino sólo que Pablo Iglesias era el líder peor valorado. Los programas líderes de las mañanas dedican largos debates al caso Neurona, sobre el que no hay sentencia alguna, mientras ignoran informaciones clave como que Ayuso no medicalizó las residencias de ancianos durante la primera ola y que además mintió cuando fue preguntada sobre el asunto. Pero todo esto recubierto de pluralidad e imparcialidad, que si no se nota mucho.

La Comunidad de Madrid ha supuesto durante más de 20 años la simbiosis perfecta entre el Gobierno Regional y constructoras, inmobiliarias, grupos privados de salud y un largo etcétera de empresas que, gracias a esa colaboración público-privada, han obtenido grandes beneficios a costa del erario público. El Hospital Isabel Zendal es sólo el último capítulo de un libro muy largo.En las elecciones del 4 de mayo nos jugamos mucho, y las élites lo saben. Y de no tener una mirada crítica hacia los medios de comunicación corremos el riesgo de no decidir quién nos va gobernar los próximos dos años, sino que serán los medios, y las élites que los controlan, quienes lo decidan por nosotros.

Fuente e imagen: https://www.tercerainformacion.es/opinion/06/04/2021/que-no-decidan-por-ti/

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España: La Plataforma Trans pide una reunión con el Gobierno para abordar las agresiones al colectivo

La Federación Plataforma Trans pide una reunión urgente con el Ministerio del Interior y con la ministra de Igualdad, Irene Montero, para abordar las agresiones hacia las mujeres trans.

Esta semana 2 mujeres jóvenes trans, una en Barcelona y otra en Madrid, han sufrido 2 brutales palizas. Así lo ha indicado Mar Cambrollé, presidenta de la Federación Plataforma Trans, que considera que «hay que poner freno» a esta «grave situación» con las herramientas que el propio Estado de Derecho tiene, para que no se llegue a convertir en algo común la agresión hacia las mujeres trans.

La noche del viernes era agredida una joven de 19 años, Eva Vildosola, mediante patadas y puñetazos mientras le gritaban insultos como «engendro» o «maldito travelo». Con las fotografías adjuntó también el siguiente texto: «Soy transexual, sí, pero es que es no me hace menos normal, no me hace un engendro, no me hace menos, tengo derecho a salir a la calle, tengo derecho a hacer con mis redes sociales lo que yo quiera y tengo todos los derechos que tendría que tener todo el mundo».

Además, tal y como recoge ‘Telemadrid’, el jueves Adriana, una joven de 27 años, procedente de Paraguay, se encontraba junto con una amiga en el centro de Madrid cuando 2 individuos, con la excusa de pedirlas un cigarro, se acercaron a ellas, momento que en el que uno de los hombres, sin mediar palabra le hizo tocamientos en el pecho y las piernas. Ante esto, las jóvenes salieron huyendo, intentando zafarse, cuando uno de ellos les dio alcance y cogió del pelo a Adriana, golpeándola en la cabeza y tirándola al suelo, propinándole patadas, puñetazos y agrediéndola con un objeto punzante en la espalda.

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‘It is easy to blame us for spread of Covid-19, rather than the people in authority’

Manuel Jabois/elpais.com

EL PAÍS speaks with residents in districts affected by the restrictions on mobility about the rise in coronavirus cases and whether the new rules will be able to curb contagion.

Francisco Albarrán was 21 years old when he left Ávila province and came to the Madrid district of Usera looking for work. It was 1974 and he found a job in a bar that had been open for six months called Vicentín. He went on to run the place and has been behind the bar now for a total of 46 years.

Dressed in a maroon shirt and black apron, Albarrán serves coffee to a customer playing the slot machines. “I’m thinking of retiring for the first time. Not because I want to, but because this is forcing me to,” he says. By “this,” he is referring to the virus. Half a year after it first emerged, Covid-19 no longer needs to be referred to by name. “This country has been through a lot since 1974,” he adds. “Dictatorship, crises… But this is the worst.”

In a bid to curb coronavirus contagion in the region, the Madrid government has placed 37 basic health areas – many of them in working-class – under a selective lockdown. Usera is one of the districts affected by the new rules, which came into effect on Monday. Under these rules, people in the affected areas are only allowed in and out for essential activities such as going to school or work, or to care for dependents. Public parks in the restricted zone have been closed, capacity at stores and other commercial establishments reduced to 50% and closing time set at 10pm, with the exception of pharmacies and gas stations.

As of Monday, Albarrán’s bar is only allowed 10 customers inside at once, none of whom can stand at the counter; and it has to close by 10pm. But he was closing at that time even before the new restrictions came into effect. “Things don’t work like they used to, whether that’s 20 customers inside or opening beyond 10pm,” he says.

It’s 10am and the Vicentín has been open since 7am. “People act irresponsibly and recommendations are not followed. Twenty guys meet and nothing happens,” says Albarrán, adding, “I am 67 and I have never regretted coming here from Ávila; Madrid has given me everything.”

Why are some of us affected and others aren’t? Because of the way we behave? So how are they behaving in the center of the city?

MONTSE, UNEMPLOYED WOMAN IN USERA

The Vicentín is in Rafaela Ybarra street in the Zofío area of the Usera district where restrictions were enforced due to the high coronavirus transmission rates. The street is named after an affluent 19th century woman from Bilbao who gave alms to the poor using silk gloves to avoid dirtying her hands. “She realized that this was not right,” wrote Carmen Torres in a biography Rafaela Ybarra. The Lover of God. Exchanging her luxurious clothes for humble attire, Ybarra dedicated her life to caring for girls and young women, for which she was beatified.

When her husband, the president of the manufacturing company, Altos Hornos de Vizcaya, inquired after her fortune, he was told that his wife kept it in the best bank there was – heaven. Today if Ybarra was to grace the street named after her, she would have to pull her gloves back on. In the parish of San Juan de Avila, in Fornillos street, there is a quote from her, placed there in 2003, which reads: “Gaze on this world, as it was all made through love for you, and all it is, and all things in it, speak of love, and demand love, and mean love.” When entering the church itself, a sign informs visitors that there is no holy water and that the sign of peace is made without touching.

“It is easy to blame us for the uncontrolled spread [of the virus], rather than the people in authority or those who should have given us the resources to organize ourselves,” says Montse, a young unemployed woman who is taking her dog out at 11am. “What are they going to do about the people who have to work outside the area – which is the majority?” she asks. “What are they going to do about the people waiting for a PCR test? And what are they going to do about people with children? Why are some of us affected and others aren’t? Because of the way we behave? So how are they behaving in the center of the city?”

On Marina Usera street, a man drops his cigarette which falls close to the feet of Juan Carlos Valdeoliva, who is standing at the door of the Luarca bar. Valdeoliva works at the bar and lives in the Usera district. “The measures are a joke and, because of them, many businesses here are definitely going to go down the drain,” he says.

So why is the spread of the disease so virulent in the district? “Because there are a lot of assholes who don’t do what they should,” he replies, then, reiterating the prejudices that have taken root in various sectors of the population, he adds, “I’m not a racist, but South Americans don’t give a damn about the measures.”

During the Spanish Civil War, Zofío – a health area in the Usera district – was known as the Usera front where one of the most important episodes of the Republican defense of Madrid took place. The sculptor Emilio Barral died nearby, hit by a shell, and had the following lines dedicated to him by Spanish poet, Antonio Machado: “Emiliano Barral, captain of the Segovia militia, fell at the gates of Madrid, defending his country against an army of traitors, mercenaries and foreigners.”

The entrance to the Metro station in Carabanchel, which has been placed under a selective lockdown.
The entrance to the Metro station in Carabanchel, which has been placed under a selective lockdown.DAVID FERNÁNDEZ / EFE

Julio Embid calls the Madrid district of Carabanchel home, though he currently lives in Zaragoza province, where he works as a coordinator for the Socialist Party’s (PSOE) parliamentary group in Aragón. Carabanchal, like Usera, is also under a selective lockdown. In 2016, Embid wrote an essay called Concrete Children; How do we live on the southern fringes of Madrid? In it, he talks about how five-story syndicate blocks were built between the M-30 and M-40 ring roads, housing thousands of people during the 1960s from all over Spain, their diversity of origin reflected in the street names. “Many of the streets in the Pilar neighborhood are called after Galician towns, and in El Pozo, the names are towns in Córdoba; in Aluche it’s towns in Toledo,” he tells EL PAÍS by phone.

Embid sheds light on what he terms “one of the most unequal cities in Europe,” explaining that there is a four-year difference in life expectancy between El Viso, the capital’s wealthiest neighborhood, and Villaverde, in the far south. “There are just three hospitals for a million inhabitants: Gómez Ulla, 12 de Octubre and Infanta Leonor. Nowhere else in Spain with a million inhabitants do they have just three hospitals,» he says, referring to Madrid’s southern districts. «If you live in Las Águilas, in the south of Madrid, and you work in La Moraleja, for every 19 years, you will spend an entire one on a train,” he adds. “The distances are long and public transportation has not improved. Not only has it not improved, between 2005 to 2014, the inflation rate in Madrid rose by 10 points while the basic monthly transport pass rose by 45 points.”

The authorities don’t follow the advice of the experts – such as providing trackers, more primary healthcare resources, planning for schools and teachers

ANTONIO PALACIOS, PSYCHOLOGIST IN CARABANCHEL

Emid also points out another difference in this area: the rise of the misery economy. Since the financial crisis, there has been a notable increase in “businesses that can only work if people are doing badly, such as betting stores, pawnshops and witchcraft stores – for the desperate,” he says.

Meanwhile, in the neighboring Carabanchel district, five communions take place at 12:30pm in Colonia de la Prensa. Many journalists would retire to villas in this old residential district at the start of the 20th century. Several of these villas are still standing, but many were demolished when the area began to attract more working-class families.

A group of people in formal dress stand out in the empty street. Antonio Palacios, a psychologist, emerges from one of the communions. “It is unfair to take issue just with the individual responsibility of the locals,” he says. “The authorities don’t follow the advice of the experts – such as providing trackers, more primary healthcare resources, planning for schools and teachers. There is a very clear lack of responsibility.”

The communion was supposed to be held in May but had to be put off until last weekend. It almost didn’t happen. “I don’t know if it could be held after Monday,” says Palacios, in reference to the new restrictions which have reduced capacity at religious sites to one third. “Today, 10 relatives, including parents, can enter the church. There is no lunch, and although we had planned to go to a park to celebrate, with the weather as it is, we can’t do that either.”

The weather is cloudy with showers in Carabanchel. People come and go from the local market. There is a queue at the fishmonger and butcher with people standing more than a meter and a half apart, occupying almost the entire market. Tucked away, cobbler Mariano is at his stall making shoes. He knows that things have changed but as he lives in another district, he doesn’t think he will have any problems. “If there are any problems, they’ll give me a pass or something,” he says. “At this stage, they need to let me get on.”

English version by Heather Galloway.

Source and Image:  https://english.elpais.com/society/2020-09-23/it-is-easy-to-blame-us-for-spread-of-covid-19-rather-than-the-people-in-authority.html

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Health workers and unions at Madrid’s Ifema field hospital: “It’s a disaster”

Europe / Spain / 01 / April / 2020 / Author: Ulia F. Cadenas / Isabel Valdés / Source: english.elpais.com

The convention center in the Spanish capital was meant to help ease the strain of the coronavirus crisis, but staff complain it is overcrowded and poorly managed

In Pavilion 5 of the Ifema convention center in Madrid, which has been turned into Spain’s largest field hospital to manage the rising number of coronavirus patients, there is neither two meters of distance between one patient and another, nor adequate personal protective equipment. The conditions of nurses and doctors are “shameful” and they don’t even have the computer program they need to work.

This is what doctors, nurses, guards and administration staff at the center told EL PAÍS this past weekend.

“There is greater risk of contagion than of being cured in this situation. It’s a disaster,” says one nurse.

Ana González, another nurse who works a a local health center in Móstoles and in intensive care units (ICUs) in different hospitals in Madrid, went to the field hospital on Wednesday to volunteer. “The patients are overcrowded …. It looks like [a scene from a] war, there are barely two steps between beds, there is one bathroom for all the patients, and they had gone 13 days without showering until a shower was installed on Friday. There are no stands to hold up drips, we are using broomsticks!”

These are just some of the dozens of complaints from health workers. The terrible conditions faced reached their limit on Sunday, according to Spain’s CCOO labor union, which argues that the protocol for personal protective equipment is not being met, that there is overcrowding, and that the changing rooms fail all safety measures aimed at avoiding contagion and stopping the spread of the virus.

Pavilion 5 at Madrid's Ifema exhibition center on Friday.
Pavilion 5 at Madrid’s Ifema exhibition center on Friday.

Up until now, the field hospital has been run by volunteers, but many are thinking of refusing to work in these conditions. On Sunday, trash bags were handed out instead of caps to protect heads, and non-protective green gowns were put on with a plastic apron.

“The waiting areas and the changing rooms are being filled up with scrubs, caps and personal protective equipment that we have been using before with infected patients. There is not even a meter of distance between one person and another,” staff have told the union. This situation breaks all safety protocols set out by the Madrid region’s public health department for health workers and non-health workers who have direct contact with patients.

“[I work] three nights in a row and where I am there is no replacement. There are very few of us in Summa [Madrid’s emergency services] and the patients are very unwell,” says a nurse. “They are left exhausted by the fever, the diarrhea caused by [HIV medicine] Kaletra and an indescribable sadness.”

The regional government in Madrid has recognized that there was a “one-off organizational problem” on Sunday that led to complaints from professionals, but says that the field hospital is being provided with the necessary resources. “There are professionals who have decided to also cover their gowns, caps and shoes with plastic bags,” authorities added.

The CCOO union has warned that it would not allow workers to be threatened for refusing to work without adequate personal protective gear. In response, the Madrid regional government said that they had seen no evidence of such threats and encouraged staff to report such cases “because they would not be tolerated.”

Some health workers insist that the threats are real. One of them says they are “veiled but continuous.” “They don’t want people to know how things are being done and there is pressure all the time,” they explain.

The pro-public healthcare group Coordination Against Healthcare Privatization (CAS) says that “many patients from residencies were brought in directly, without a Covid-19 diagnosis” this weekend, and added that the field hospital did not have the resources needed to carry out the necessary analyses. “The computer program is not installed and there is no way of creating a patient’s history.”

Volunteers for 5,500 beds

Since the field hospital opened, 1,110 patients have been admitted and 424 have been discharged after recovering. On Sunday night 750 patients were in the hospital. The space is set to have capacity for 5,500 hospital beds and 500 intensive care beds. “But obviously they are not all there right now. Not even those that are there have the optimum conditions for patients,” says one family doctor.

Another family doctor, Carmen, 45, who works in a health center in Móstoles, received a call on Friday afternoon from her boss. They needed people at the field hospital “right away.” She told her husband, 52, who is also a doctor, and the two of them went on Saturday to Pavilion 5, the first of the three that the Madrid government converted to ease the strain on hospitals in the region.

Intensive care beds at the Ifema field hospital.
Intensive care beds at the Ifema field hospital.MINISTERIO DE DEFENSA

“That first day was devastating. Nothing had been put together. It was all very makeshift, it was very cold. It is a sad site, a grey concrete hangar, with beds separated without screens, with no privacy,” says Carmen. The best part of the center was the attitude of the health workers. “We are all volunteers except for the internists who coordinate. The volunteers are very eager, we came to give it our all, to do what was needed.” But, as one nurse notes, “enthusiasm doesn’t protect you, and willpower doesn’t cure.”

That job is done by personal protective gear. Carmen arrives at 7.30am at Ifema and it takes the Samur staff at least 10 minutes to put on her four gloves, socks over her pants, fix everything in place with duct tape, a plastic suit that is “fearfully hot,” two face masks and protective facial visor “like welders wear, only transparent.” This is the highest level of protection.

“They are very heavy suits to wear, everything is tight and it’s very hot. We come out of them literally sweating. Working seven hours this way is very hard,” says Carmen.

But it is better than not having access to this equipment at all, says one nurse. “The dehydration under this weight of plastic and the marks and the injuries that it can give you, these are all things that we all want, rather than feeling completely unprotected, thinking that we are going to get infected and infect the patients.”

Prioritizing patients

Every patient at the Ifema field hospital has mild symptoms and has been transferred from a hospital in Madrid, a region which has been overwhelmed by the health crisis. When a patient arrives with more serious symptoms, or their condition worsens, the health workers have to make a decision.

“Some are transferred to ICUs in hospitals, but there are others, who because of their age or the fact they have multiple illnesses, are candidates for sedation,” says Carmen. The doctor from Móstoles explains the triage system: prioritize those with the greatest chance of survival when faced with a shortage of resources to help critical patients. “The ICU beds are limited. Sadly, you have to select patients. We can’t send patients over 90 to the ICU when a 30-year-old needs it… It’s very hard,” she says.

Since she started to work at the Ifema field hospital, Carmen has discharged five patients and her husband two. On Tuesday she had to sedate an 87-year-old woman, a moment she won’t ever forget. “It’s very sad but I am happy that I made it so that she would not die alone.” A day before her condition worsened, the woman suddenly improved and asked to speak with her daughter, by gesturing to her cellphone. Hours passed and when Carmen realized she was not able to do any more for the woman, she called the patient’s daughter again. This time, so that they could say goodbye. “I wanted for her to hear her daughter’s voice before she was sedated. [During the call] the grandmother smiled occasionally. I heard that they were talking to her about her granddaughter.”

Ana González, a 22-year-old volunteer nurse, does not go home when her shift ends “I stay in case someone gets dizzy and I have to go back in.” According to González, the working hours at Ifema are set by the protective suit: between four and six hours a day with one day off a week: “And that day, we work for free.” With the protective suit on, health workers cannot go in for more than six hours. But many staff who worked last weekend say that after experiencing the conditions on Sunday they may not last a minute longer. “And we can’t allow ourselves to take sick leave,” says one health worker. “The worst is yet to come.”

English version by Melissa Kitson.

Source and image:  https://english.elpais.com/society/2020-03-30/health-workers-and-unions-at-madrids-ifema-field-hospital-its-a-disaster.html

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Activists outside Madrid abortion clinic: “Are you here to kill your child?”

Europe / Spain / 26/02/2020 / Author: LUCÍA FRANCO / Source: english.elpais.com

Report shows that 89% of women trying to terminate their pregnancies are pressured by pro-life groups

Anyone who takes the Madrid metro to Tetuán station and walks up Hermano Gárate street will find a message painted on the sidewalk: “They kill children in here.” The last few meters between this point and the Dator clinic – one of seven abortion centers in the Madrid region – are not easy to cover for women trying to walk into the clinic. Other messages are scrawled on nearby walls. And then there are the pro-life advocates themselves who are waiting for them at the entrance.

“Are you going in to kill your child?” asks Mercedes, rosary in hand, as a woman walks towards the clinic. She grabs her arm and gives her a brochure, but before she lets go, she whispers one last message in her ear: “Murderer!” Mercedes is a volunteer for one of the organizations that post activists outside the clinic in a bid to deter women from terminating their pregnancies.

Sonia Lamas, a worker at Dator and spokesperson for the Association of Accredited Abortion Clinics (ACAI), says she is frustrated by the situation. “We have been reporting the harassment for months, but the authorities don’t even come to clean up the graffiti,” she says.

She considers the coercion to be a direct attack on women and their reproductive rights, which are recognized by the public healthcare system. “The women who come here have been referred by the public health service,” she says. “The Madrid government should look after its patients.”

Besides the street harassment, the pressure groups work on various other levels: legal, administrative and public. In ACAI’s last report, issued in 2018, the association interviewed 300 women who had experienced pressure from pro-life groups. Hazte Oír, Derecho a Vivir, Más Futuro and Asociación Sifra were names that came up again and again. These organizations pour much of their time and money into trying to prevent voluntary pregnancy terminations. In the report, 89% of women said they had been subject to some form of harassment by these groups, while 67% said they had felt threatened during the medical procedure. However, 100% went through with the termination.

Activists with these pro-life organizations gather outside abortion clinics in the mornings and wait for women to arrive. “Our goal is to help people who are dealing with an unexpected pregnancy and women who have already had an abortion and are now living with the consequences,” says a spokesperson for Sifra. This group, which also delivers talks about the ethics of assisted reproduction techniques, offers women two alternatives: motherhood or adoption.

Each woman who comes to the Dator clinic copes with the harassment in her own way. But according to the professionals, some patients are so upset by the encounter that by the time they get through the door their condition makes any medical procedure inadvisable, which entails postponing the termination and prolonging the agony of what is always a difficult and complex decision.

A doctor and Vox lawmaker, Gador Joya, has been offering ultrasounds outside the Dator clinic in Madrid.
A doctor and Vox lawmaker, Gador Joya, has been offering ultrasounds outside the Dator clinic in Madrid.

Two years ago, a woman who is using the name Maria for the purposes of this article made the decision to terminate her pregnancy. On the day of the procedure, a group of men approached her at the entrance to the clinic. “I was very nervous when I arrived because having an abortion isn’t easy,” she says. “But the worst thing was definitely the harassment. Several men lectured me, showed me pictures and told me that women die inside. I hope these people realize the damage they do to us by being there,” she says.

Around 8,000 women have been subject to harassment in Spain since the 2010 abortion law was passed, according to the Pro-Rights platform, an umbrella group for 62 organizations across Spain.

Handing out leaflets is the most common strategy for exercising pressure, complete with pictures of fetuses and phrases such as “You are all alone, and your abortion will be for life,” and “Abortion can cause suicide and cancer.”

The pro-life activists always follow the same strategy. Once they have the woman’s attention, they ask how far into her pregnancy she is with the aim of convincing her to accompany them to one of their offices. Once there, she is shown ultrasounds to persuade her to have the baby, regardless of whether there are fetal deformities, risks to her health or the circumstances of conception.

Pro-choice groups have been calling for this type of harassment to be incorporated into Spain’s criminal code

A few months ago a doctor named Gádor Joya, who also sits in the Madrid regional assembly representing the far-right party Vox, made headlines after parking a van outside abortion clinics and offering free ultrasounds because, as the party claims, “women don’t know what they are carrying inside them.”

There are other less aggressive but more effective strategies. The most common is to invite the pregnant woman to breakfast, as the medical procedure cannot be performed if the patient has drunk or eaten anything. Consequently, they have to face the ordeal of returning another day.

According to ACAI, in Madrid this type of harassment happens mainly outside the Dator clinic, which was the first private center to be allowed to carry out abortions in Spain. Pro-life groups gather here almost daily, while at the Isadora clinic and the El Bosque medical center, it is a weekly occurrence, usually on Saturdays.

The harassment is not confined to the patients, either. Lamas, 47, has been working at Dator for five years and says that once an activist followed her and bombarded her with questions, such as “How much do you make?” and “Are you here for the money?” He also claimed that “I can help you find another job.”

For years, ACAI has been calling for this type of harassment to be incorporated into Spain’s criminal code, like France did in 2017. They have also asked that a minimum distance be established to keep anti-abortionists away from the entrance to abortion clinics, similar to the distance that smokers must observe from schools and hospitals. But their demands remain unanswered.

In the Madrid region, 18,914 women had abortions in 2018, according to the Health Ministry’s latest available data. This is a 9.7% drop from 2010, when new legislation went into effect legalizing abortion upon request in the first trimester. And for many, the anguish of making such a momentous decision is exacerbated by those who want to make the decision for them.

English version by Heather Galloway.

Source and image:  https://english.elpais.com/society/2020-02-26/activists-outside-madrid-abortion-clinic-are-you-here-to-kill-your-child.html

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