In what felt like the longest World Cup final match ever, Spain won the World Cup over Holland in overtime, 1-0.
In what felt like a a yellow card throwdown between the two teams, Spain dominated the Jabulani but still couldn’t get a goal in until the second 15 minute overtime set. I have to say , I was especially impressed with the Spanish goalkeeper Casillas, who was catching balls and flying through the air making sure that Holland didn’t get one in the net.
I know in downtown Manhattan, every Spaniard and wannabe Spaniard was in the streets celebrating so I can’t even imagine what the scene was like in Spain.
Pulpo Paul’s prediction was correct. La Madre Patria for the win.
I’m not a huge sports fan, but I can get into futbol. One thing I always get from my soccer fan friends from Latin America and Spain is what a joke the U.S. team is. But what you expect from a country who thinks soccer is for sissies and only knows David Beckham for his modeling gigs. Sheesh.
So what was my surprise when I saw that the number one trending topic on Twitter was the word “Spain” and found that the world was tweeting this astonishing outcome in the FIFA Confederations Cup semifinals today: the U.S. mopped up the floor with Spain in a 2-0 win. For those of you who don’t know, Spain is the number one team in the world, and boasts some of the sport’s most talented athletes.
Spain went into this game with the confidence of the jock who always clobbers the wimpy kid and got clobbered themselves. But this isn’t just shocking to me; this is world soccer history: the U.S. today became the first team to beat Spain since 2006 and some experts are calling the victory the best performance since they defeated England 1-0 in the 1950 World Cup in Brazil.
Might this help get some momentum moving in making soccer a more popular sport in the U.S.? I doubt it. I mean, how many of you had ever heard of the Confederations Cup before this? How many even care to know what it is? Yeah, I thought so. But it would be nice though!
In the end, Spain loses more than just a game (and their chance at the finals for this tournament): they lose face. As you might expect, Spain is devastated and fans are blaming the loss on the cockiness and overconfidence of their (nearly) invincible team.
Here at VL we’ve heard all sorts of stories about worker abuse from all over the world. Quite often, the victims in these cases are undocumented workers. This story from Spain just might be the worst I’ve seen yet. When a Bolivian immigrant worker in Valencia, Spain, lost his arm in an accident at the bread factory where he worked, his employer threw the arm in the garbage. Bolivia’s El Deber reports:
The accident occurred the 28th of May when the employee, Franns Rilles, a 33 year-old Bolivian, was working the night shift in an industrial bakery in Real de Gandia, in the Mediterranean region of Valencia.
According to the regional secretary of CCOO [Spain's most powerful workers Union], Josep Antoni Carrascosa, after the accident, the bakery’s owner drove the injured man towards a hospital in Gandia “but at about 2 km from the medical center he left him to his own devices”.
Shortly after, the owner “returned to the factory, cleaned up the blood and threw the arm into a trash bin,” according to the Union, which will sue the owner [on behalf of the victim].
Yet another story that tests our faith in humankind.
The victim had been working 12-hour shifts at the company for 2 years, where he earned the equivalent of $32 per day.
About a year ago, the Spanish government launched a campaign that was somewhat controversial among immigrant groups: el Plan Retorno (“Return Plan”), a program offering monetary assistance (basically early unemployment benefits and a paid ticket back home) to immigrants who are in Spain and want to go back to their home countries. When I first heard about this I thought to myself, “Why would anyone take a measly amount of money to go back after all they’ve gone through to get there?” What I wasn’t counting on was a real estate bubble — arguably the largest in all of Europe — bursting and leaving the construction industry in ruins. Construction was a prime industry for immigrants to Spain and suddenly tens of thousands were left jobless. The effects are being felt the hardest in Latino immigrant communities, and as a result thousands have already applied for benefits from the Plan Retorno. Argentina’s Clarín reports:
According to the latest data, 5088 foreigners living in Spain have asked to return to their countries with the help of the voluntary return program that started in 2008.
According to the Spanish Labor and Immigration Ministry, they have already processed 4,753 petitions, and 3,977 have been approved. Citizens of Latin American countries are the “primary applicants”, making up 91% of the petitions.
Applicants accepted into the program reportedly receive an average of 9000 euros (about 12,500 dollars). (more…)
Pedro Almodovar’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown is considered a comedic masterpiece and is a personal favorite of mine. One might think I’d be excited about the premise of bringing it to television, but more than enthusiastic, I am feeling a bit tortured. This will be either the best or worst show ever:
Oscar-winning Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is venturing into television with a series adaptation of his first international hit, the Oscar-nominated 1988 feature “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.”
Fox TV Studios is developing the English-language hourlong project and has tapped Mimi Schmir to pen the pilot script. Almodovar and Schmir are exec producing [...]
The “Women” series “will be a suburban drama about a group of women who have known each other for a long time, perhaps from college, who are in the middle of their lives and looking at the second half of their lives,” Schmir said.
Like the movie, the series will feature a fair amount of humor. Schmir also is planning to pay homage to the movie by keeping some elements, like the film’s ongoing gag of unsuspecting visitors to the actress’ apartment being knocked out by sleeping pill-laden gazpacho she had intended for her philandering lover.
That sounds…boring. I am not going to judge too much before seeing it, but I think a lot about what makes Mujeres al borde special has to do with the when, where and who of the film. When? The 80s. Where? Downtown Madrid. Who? Some of the best comedic actors Spanish-speaking film as ever seen — and at their prime at that. How do you pull this off in a U.S. suburb? And furthermore, how do you make the premise worthy of an on-going series? I’m just not seeing it.
Have a look at the clip from the original classic and let us know if you think this show has any chance in hell of being good.
Burger King has pissed off Mexico’s Ambassador to Spain because of a new ad campaign running in that country for a product called the “Texican Whopper”. Ambassador Jorge Zermeno wrote to Burger King in Spain to denounce what he called “denigration” of the Mexican flag.
“This advertisement denigrates the image of our country and uses improperly Mexico’s national flag,” Jorge Zermeno wrote in a letter to Burger King in Spain, the Reforma newspaper reported on Monday.
The ambassador contacted the local offices of Burger King after he saw the posters in Spain, Reforma said. The burger is only available in Europe, according to the paper.
Mexico has strict laws prohibiting the defamation of the flag, Zermeno said. He asked Burger King to cancel the ad campaign that “offends Mexicans and Mexico.”
Reuters reports that Zermeno’s complaint was related to posters (image above) for the campaign found around Madrid, but I wonder if he’s seen the TV version (video after the jump) – which from the looks of it was created for the U.S. or Canadian market — as it’s much worse.
It happened in Spain, a country with an “immigration problem” like the U.S., but where people as a whole tend to be a lot more likely to look at immigrants as people rather than “problems”. Hassane Moctar, at 21 years old, arrived by night on a makeshift raft to Spain from Mauritania, taking his life into his own hands to try to find a better life in Europe. He ended up in Galicia, where a family from Cangas do Morrazo, a town near Pontevedra “adopted” him. Hassane has been living with the Veiga family for 6 months, and the family who were once strangers now consider him part of their family.
But things weren’t so rosy with Hassane’s legal situation. Two weeks ago, Hassane, now 24, went to court to answer to a deportation order which would send him back immediately if something wasn’t done. His attorney demonstrated that the people of Cangas supported him, that he spoke Spanish, and that he even had job offers. The Veiga family began a signature campaign and managed to collect 5,000 names from townspeople in support of Hassane staying in Spain. His Galician “sister” testified on the stand to the fact that he was now part of the Veiga family:
“Ever since he started living with us, he’s been just like any member of the family. He’s never had any problems and we all love him. My 95 year old grandmother asks where Hassane is as soon as she gets up, and he spends a lot of time with her. If he gets deported, my grandmother will die.”
But initially much of this was considered irrelevant to his case by the judge. Now he had to wait for the verdict. (more…)
For these soldiers from mostly poor countries like Ecuador and Bolivia, the advantages are clear: a steady monthly salary of $1,300, which is not that bad by Spanish standards and rises significantly with overseas assignments, and the possibility of obtaining Spanish citizenship.
“Who would have thought I would end up taking part in missions with the Spanish army? It is odd, different. But it has opened up a lot of doors for me,” said Dalton Rafael Jimenez, a 22-year-old Ecuadorean who has been in the Spanish army for nearly three years.
As I sit in front of a TV in a major European city with a ton of problems of its own, the only thing that seems to be on anyone’s mind here in Barcelona — or in Spain — is what will happen today in the United States. Every network has sent not just their Washington or New York correspondents to cover the lead-up to the elections and their subsequent unfolding, but also their most prized journalists, who are Washington, Chicago and other locales. The familiar faces of the star anchors on the evening news are missing from the newsdesk, and they speak to us from a backdrop of American flags or images of the Capitol. Clearly this isn’t just any election.
9 hours ahead of those in my home state of California, my stomach is already churning with nervousness as my friends sleep. Today is the day. On the street, newspaper headlines — and talks in smoky cafés — predict a victory for Obama. In this fiercely liberal and progressive city, where I’ve encountered my fair share of skepticism (ahem, that’s a euphemism) towards Americans, I am finding that most people are convinced that we won’t make the same mistake again. It almost feels like if the U.S. elects Obama, Europeans will almost be capable of forgiving us for the last two failures of the American electorate. On the flip side, should McCain emerge as the new leader of the world’s most powerful country, there will be more than a lack of forgiveness — a resounding “you got what you deserved.”