AMY GOODMAN: This is the second general strike this year in Spain. It comes after a 53-year-old woman jumped from a balcony to her death as she was about to be evicted this weekend. The death of Amaia Egaña marked the second suicide in two weeks related to evictions in Spain as a growing mass movement has put pressure on the authorities to act.
For more, we go to Madrid, where we’re joined by María Carrión, independent journalist, former Democracy Now! producer. Her latest piece is in The Progressive magazine, called "Spaniards Take On the Banks."
María, welcome back to Democracy Now! Start with the story of this woman who committed suicide.
MARÍA CARRIÓN: Hi, Amy. It’s good to be with you.
Amaia is a former city council member in a town—the town of Barakaldo in the Basque Country. And her case is especially tragic because she actually didn’t share just how bad off the situation was even with her husband. So, most people had no idea that there was a whole—there had been a repossession and an eviction process. She was so desperate and so ashamed of the situation that she jumped out of her balcony, her fourth floor apartment, as court employees came to evict her. This comes two weeks after police found a man dead in his apartment as they went in to evict him from his home after repossession.
And—but, you know, the movement to stop these evictions and repossessions has been working very hard on this for almost two years, and this is just the watershed. This has been the one situation that has actually forced government and the opposition and banks to come to the table and talk about real reform. Before this, you had these evictions taking place—500 orders every single day—silently. And thanks to the 15M movement—this is—was the Occupy movement in Spain just over a year ago—the platform against evictions was incredibly energized. And so, they have been able to stop hundreds of evictions.
But those are evictions of people who come to them and who say, you know, "My home is being repossessed. I’m facing eviction. Can you help me?" There are a lot of people like Amaia who did not do this, out of perhaps a sense of guilt or embarrassment. And so, her case is really representative and emblematic of what has gone wrong in Spain with, you know, thousands of people being left homeless after repossession and eviction.