Tuesday, June 6

Pedro Sánchez squeezes the La Palma volcano into his official agenda




Was the fourth visit from Pedro Sánchez to the island of La Palma, “and unfortunately”, in the words of the Prime Minister himself, “it will not be the last.” Since the eruption of the still unnamed volcano at Cumbre Vieja began, the chief executive’s trips to the ‘pretty island’ have taken place in an event that is unprecedented in a climate emergency in Spain. No summer fire, flood or natural phenomenon it has cornered the president’s agenda as has the eruption.

Four official visits – with all his entourage – the 24 days after the start of the crisis that the neighbors have received content with enthusiasm, pending above all the end of a process that they do not know when it will end and that keeps them away from their homes. This Wednesday, Sánchez appeared publicly to specify that the 206 million euros announced by his Government in the previous trip will finally remain at 214, in the absence of knowing the final amount that will be necessary for the recovery and reconstruction of the territory “given the magnitude of the catastrophe”.

The chief executive returned to the island on Wednesday ten days after his last visit, when he announced the second aid package. Without specifying more than the destination already announced previously, the funds from the reconstruction plan will be invested in housing, agricultural and fishing farms, irrigation, infrastructure and employment, with the already announced ERTE specific for the Canary Islands. Within this point, the president inquired, 60 million euros will be allocated to guarantee “opportunities, jobs, stability and certainty” to the palmists. “We are working against the clock so that, among all the institutions and with unity, the palm trees have the greatest of certainties,” said the president.

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In addition, as already happened during the previous procession, Sánchez interviewed several evacuated families. Two weeks before, he had witnessed in first person the long journey that the palm trees have to make to get from the affected municipalities to Fuencaliente, a road that is also under construction and without asphalt for much of its section.

The president’s first visit came on the same day as the eruption, when scientists knew it would erupt. It was on September 19 and lasted for several days, interrupted by his speech before the UN General Assembly in New York. From there he returned to accompany the Kings on their visit on September 23.

During this first visit, La Palma was also the scene of his international interview with the international news network CNN. Sánchez had arranged a conversation on the occasion of his participation in the Assembly with the journalist Christiane Amanpour, who would initially interview him from London. However, Sánchez’s passage through the Big Apple to return to the Canary Islands forced the connection to be made from La Palma.

But not only the ministers responsible for the security device installed in the area have passed through La Palma, such as the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, or the Minister of Defense, Margaret Robles. It has also served as the stage for the head of Health, Carolina Darias –Canarian–, that of Social Rights and the 2030 Agenda, Ione Belarra, and the Minister of Consumption, Alberto Garzon.

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