“We are still in the dark” shouts one of the streets of the Cañada Real. Boa Mistura, the protest art collective, has placed solar-powered garlands on the streets of this neighborhood that has lived in the shadow of the capital for more than a year. “We continue fighting / We want contracts / Light for Cañada,” beg the rest of the lights, like banners that hang from those poles that only give light on special days.
About to start the next battle against the cold in the darkness of the Cañada Real
With this action, for the second consecutive year, Boa Mistura wants to denounce that in that Madrid that the rulers draw as the locomotive of Spain there are 147 streets illuminated with Christmas lights in the center that tourists and shop customers visit, while 14 kilometers from Puerta del Sol, there are people who go back to spend another winter without electricity in a much less photogenic place. The one that does not appear in the guides and rarely appears in the newspapers, despite having been in darkness for a month
Neighbors challenge administrations without success. They received some good news, not so much, from the previous municipal government, which tried to meet some of their needs. Now all those ties with the institutions are broken. They feel that they want to evict them from their homes and with each passing day they distrust more of the people who come from abroad. There were not even many who came close to the Boa Mistura ignition and those who came across the show passed by. And that the night was not particularly cold, at least not to the ones they have become accustomed to, including Filomena’s time. Even so, they have preferred to stay at home and only a few children have come to browse.
Houda Akarikez, president of the Tabadol Association, which defends the rights of that neighborhood, explains that the garlands are an attempt “to put the focus back on the Cañada Real” and on the violation of human rights that is being carried out by not allow the energy supply to reach these houses. In everyone’s mind, the Community of Madrid and its government, which has been pretending for a year that there is nothing wrong with having thousands of people without electricity.
The blackout that Cañada Real has suffered since October 2, 2020 affects more than 4,000 people, almost half of them children. However, there is no administration taking action or going to do so. “Spain has the third world 20 minutes from the door of the president of the Community of Madrid, who also has never set foot in the Cañada,” Akarikez denounces. “It is shameful that he does not approach a neighborhood that is suffering the greatest attack on human rights in Europe.”
From the Government of the Community of Madrid they explain that they do not return the electricity because there are large drug plantations and they cannot allow their production. However, the Tabadol Association points out other motivations: ”There are quite clear urban interests. From our homes you can see perfectly how the construction of Los Berrocales is approaching and how the PAU of Vallecas is growing ”.
Another reason that the Administration alleges are the technical difficulties to return the light without reaching the marijuana plantations. However, during the Government of Manuela Carmena a protocol of action was carried out, each time one of these plantations was detected, the supply was cut off and the police were sent. At the same time, the current of energy was reestablishing, as explained by Alicia Torija López, deputy of Más Madrid la Assembly, who has been present at the lighting of lights.
Akarikez accuses the institutions of wanting to evict them from their homes to continue with the urban expansion of the capital. Still, Akarikez says he has “hope that the light will return. We trust our fight. It is peaceful and sensible. We are only asking for a fundamental right ”.