Monday, November 28

Why not investigate?

The president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, despises the power that an investigation commission may have when it comes to clarifying what happened —under her mandate and during the pandemic— in the nursing homes managed by her government. She prefers to talk to families (whom she hasn’t seen in two years). She does not want “spurious commissions that what they do is falsify and not help.” The leader of the PP in Madrid confirms the message from her party, the same one that her vice-president had launched the day before, stating that “relatives have already overcome” the deaths of their loved ones and that an investigation commission could send them ” a false message. For Enrique Ossorio, opening an investigation commission “is going to cause irreparable damage to families who may once again think ‘Could the death of my relative have been prevented?'”. For Ayuso, it will only serve to “twist the pain of families.”

Nevertheless, the families of the deceased in the residences of the Community of Madrid ask to investigate the management of Ayuso and his government. The Ayuso PP’s argument of wanting to protect families from electoral interests does not hold up. They, with their own voice, have been asking for an investigation of what happened in the Madrid residences for almost two years. They have done it in the courts, in the Madrid Assembly, in the streets, in the media, in various NGO reports, before the Ombudsman and, of course, by organizing themselves in the Platform Association for the Dignity of Elderly People in Residences of the Community of Madrid.

It seems obvious, but you cannot be judge and party. If what it is about is that integrity prevails in the face of an issue as sensitive as the death of more than 7,000 elderly people in Madrid residences in circumstances that lead one to think that they did not receive adequate medical attention, perhaps an investigation commission is the best to clarify what happened. Especially when it seems that the circumstances and protocols in the Community of Madrid were different from the rest of the autonomous communities. The same thing did not happen in all of them, it is what comes to show the journalistic investigation that Manuel Rico has been doing in InfoLibrea large part of which is collected in his book: ‘Shame, the residence scandal’.

It is something very elementary that when the one who says “no” and blocks an investigation is the person or the institution that is going to be investigated, something smells bad. That is what Ayuso’s PP did last July with the support of Vox, and that is what it wants to avoid now that the far-right party has withdrawn its support and is in favor of said commission. The question is: why not investigate if there is nothing to hide? Why deactivate a commission that would serve to settle the doubts that exist about the decisions that Ayuso and Escudero made regarding the most vulnerable elderly residents? Why refuse if your information and data would prove them right?

The only certain thing is that the most concise and clear information, in addition to Rico’s, has been that offered by the one who was the Minister of Social Policies at that time until he was removed and resigned. Alberto Reyero affirms that the Community of Madrid approved a protocol that prevented older people who lived in residences and had high physical dependency or suffered significant cognitive impairment from being transferred to hospitals. In his book ‘They will die unworthily’ he attests to all this in the first person, with facts and documents.

The accusation against the Ayuso government of abandoning thousands of the elderly to their fate during the pandemic by denying them medical assistance is serious enough that, if it is false, the president herself would be the first interested in creating a commission that would separate her and his Minister of Health (Enrique Ruiz Escudero) any shadow of suspicion. Instead, it seems that her only interest is to pass the time, to blame the left for politicizing the victims and to make the unexplained deaths of thousands of people fall into oblivion. Once again, the Spanish right prefers oblivion to truth, justice and reparation. And once again, sooner or later, they will not succeed in oblivion because it is the families themselves, regardless of political parties, who are going to fight to find out what happened to their loved ones. The personal memory that is organized in collective struggle never forgets.