Wednesday, July 6

The lives cracked by Line 7 of the Madrid Metro: “They treat you as if you were nothing”

A group of neighbors from San Fernando de Henares watch the end of a large bulldozer attack a building. “That was my kitchen,” laments Juan Fuentes as he points to the bare tiles and the device’s clamp bites into the living room wall from behind. This Tuesday the demolition of the first building on Rafael Alberti street with La Presa has been carried out, which has left 24 families affected by Metro line 7b homeless, a project by Esperanza Aguirre that did not take into account the reports that They discouraged it due to the conditions of the subsoil and that now endangers the area.

The last days in La Presa street: evictions in San Fernando de Henares due to the works on metro line 7

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All the neighbors have September 22, 2021 marked on their heads. It was the day they had to leave their homes. The Community of Madrid told them that it would be for a couple of months, while they carried out the relevant studies to carry out the rehabilitation of the building in danger, where increasing cracks had been appearing since the end of 2019. The infrastructure counselor, David Pérez, assured then that when they returned they would do so “with the absolute peace of mind that it is the most solid building in Spain”.

Eight months later, the most solid building in Spain is a pile of rubble, in which furniture and personal belongings accumulate that their owners have not been able to collect due to the rush to leave their apartments, almost with what they were wearing. “There are the photos of my son’s graduation, memories of my parents, of relatives who are no longer here. I see my furniture and I don’t care, but the experiences and experiences I’ve had are irretrievable,” laments Juan, who is now relocated with his wife Eva and their 21-year-old son Iván, who was born in that house, in a apart-hotel run by the community in the Polígono de las Mercedes.

Vanesa Ramos and Andrés Sánchez have been living in the building since 2010. As they watch the home they have built for more than a decade crumble, they say they feel “abandoned”. The Community of Madrid recognized the patrimonial responsibility and opened the deadline for claims in February. The affected neighbors have to present all the documentation they have, both for the apartment and the furniture inside. Compensation will be resolved within a maximum period of six months. For the fall, they say, although some are more pessimistic.

“They treat you like you’re nothing”

“All deadlines will be skipped. The law is made only for some, they treat you as if you were nothing, “says Andrés. For him, the worst thing is the uncertainty about his future. How much will the compensation be? When will they receive it? Will it reach them to buy another house? Where? The answers, at the moment, are not clear, but they fear that the valuation of their homes is below its real price, while they continue to face a mortgage.

This is the case of Mari Carmen Ramírez, who in 2019 began “a new life project” in that block with her children, who are now 14 and 18 years old. In the summer of that year she moved into the third, after getting a mortgage and renovating the house. In December the first cracks began to appear. This Tuesday she saw how all her plans fell apart. “The problem has always existed. It started on Vergara Street, but here it has been very brazen when the pumping well burst, ”she explains. The complaints began, but they assure that the Community did not pay attention to them then, when the problem could have been solved. “They sent studies, tastings, but every two or three months,” she says.

Like the rest of the neighbors, Mari Carmen is now living in an apart-hotel. She shares a bed with her youngest son and the eldest sleeps in another, further away, because they could not provide them with the same accommodation with two rooms. “I started another life project and they cut it off, they paralyzed it. They leave you with a debt and you don’t know how much they are going to compensate you with, ”she laments. “They say that they have to look very carefully at compensation because they don’t want to fall into prevarication. With everything that is coming out of commissions, you take my life and now you worry about it? ”, She protests.

Andrés Ramírez, 64, had one of the 24 flats in that block, in which his daughter lived with her two grandchildren, two and five years old, and a commercial premises, in which he had the hairdresser where he had been working. 35 years. So he has not only lost a home, but also his source of income. “I am living thanks to my family,” he says. The Community of Madrid offered him a loss of earnings, but after the declaration of the patrimonial responsibility of the administration, he will have to wait, like everyone else, for the compensation to be resolved.

In psychiatric treatment

“I am in psychological and psychiatric treatment and that is what saves me, because if not… Working since I was 12 years old, paying for everything, to end up like this… They have destroyed my life, I do not wish it on anyone”, he explains angrily. He looks for her wife, Carmen, and asks for her phone number. In whatsapp he looks for an audio note and hits it to play. “They are throwing our house down”, he hears a childish voice. “She is my two-year-old granddaughter,” she clarifies, holding back tears.

The neighbors are aware of each other, they approach Andrés. They try to cheer him up. Isabel García, who lives right in front of the building being demolished, interrupts to demand that this go “criminally.” “Mrs. Aguirre and the engineers who allowed this metro to be built, let them pay for it. That they seize Aguirre so that they give a home to the people whose lives have been destroyed, ”she demands. “I am anxious to see all this,” she says.

The affected neighbors have a series of recurring claims. Some, almost all, have already met with the ‘no’ from the administration. First, they demanded that the Community build new houses, because the free park in San Fernando is not enough to house them all. Then, that they expropriate what remains after the demolition so as not to have to take care of the maintenance and security of the proportional part of the plot that corresponds to them and that, since it is not buildable, is useless, or that they do not pay taxes on future compensation. From the council they have been referred to the City Council and the Ministry of Finance, despite the fact that everyone is clear that it is their responsibility.

What the Community did accept was to provide them with psychological support. At the moment, they have only been able to attend one consultation, individually. This Wednesday, they were all summoned for a group at the Hospital del Henares. Precisely, that was the initial date for the demolition, which has been brought forward by surprise. “They wanted me to coincide to avoid this,” suspects Mari Carmen, surrounded by dozens of neighbors.

“Ayuso called me on the phone five months ago to tell me that he wanted to put a face on us. I’m still waiting for it to come,” explains Juan, who is a spokesperson for the Association of People Affected by Metro Presa-Rafael Alberti, who calls for more “empathy” and “solidarity.” “No public official from the PP in Madrid has come here,” he denounces. In the street from which everyone was witnessing the demolition, the sad faces were evident, but also the determination. Eva Medina is clear: “Now comes the worst, fighting to get a house.”