The four-year shadow of Vox in Andalusia: no progress in Equality and paralysis in Democratic Memory

“Rest assured that we will put an end to your beach bars.” “If in this legislature what they have done is approve by law that the ores [menores inmigrantes no acompañados] they will have preferential access to all kinds of aid, we want to ensure that it is not our children and grandchildren who are subjected to a sentence of exile”. They are two of the phrases that the Vox candidate for the Andalusian Government, Macarena Olona, ​​has pronounced during the electoral campaign and in which she lays the foundations for two of her ideological axes: against equality and migration. They are ordeals similar to those launched three and a half years ago by the then leader of Vox in the community, Francisco Serrano, who asked to change the name of the Andalusian Institute for Women to Domestic Violence. The organizations and experts consulted warn of the risks of not having forcefully rejected discourses that have permeated part of society; that no progress has been made either, conditioned by the presence and counterparts of Vox for its parliamentary support; and of the real risk if they enter the Government in the future.

Suspension of aid against sexist violence, but funds for pro-life associations

March in Seville of the Train of Dignity against the elimination of aid against sexist violence to women's NGOs.
March in Seville of the Train of Dignity against the elimination of aid against sexist violence to women’s NGOs.

In 2019, the Learn to Live Chiclana Association had rented an apartment to provide ongoing care to seven drug-addicted women and victims of sexist violence. It was the beginning of a pioneering program in Andalusia to provide comprehensive help to this group of women who had psychological support, accompaniment in court and daily attention from professionals and for which they had the 11,000 euros granted in that year’s call of the aid of the Board to promote equality and combat sexist violence. In December, the Ministry of Equality suspended most of these items alleging a change in the criteria of the General Intervention for the distribution of four million euros.

Like Learn to Live, another 240 women’s organizations were left overnight without a subsidy (76% of all those that had been granted initially). In 2020, none of these aids were put out to tender either because most of those budgeted items were used to fight the pandemic. “We couldn’t attend then, but we wouldn’t do it now because we didn’t trust each other,” explains Moreno. This suppression of aid against sexist violence to women’s associations, in the midst of Vox’s offensive against what that party considers “gender bars”, is, together with the creation of a domestic violence hotline, one of the main reproaches that they are made to the Junta de Andalucía in terms of Equality policies, on the understanding that they represent clear concessions to the pressure exerted by the extreme right-wing party in exchange for parliamentary support for the coalition government.

“This has marked the legislature, without a doubt,” acknowledges Andrea Barbotta, vice president of the Andalusian Council for Women’s Participation, who also recalls that the body she directs and represents the interests of women’s organizations on the Board did not begin to meet with the council until 2020.

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But while no aid was called for the prevention of gender-based violence, in 2020 the Ministry of Health and Families did put out to tender two lines of subsidies for 1.5 million euros for NGOs dedicated to advice and support projects for pregnant women and mothers without resources with children from zero to three years old, complying with one of the measures included in the budget agreement signed by PP, Cs and Vox. Aid that has continued to be called year after year for the same amount, very similar to the total of the 2022 call for the promotion of gender equality and the prevention of violence against women, which amounts to 1.8 million euros , and which is largely subsidized by funds from the State Pact against Gender Violence.

The danger of criminalizing those who end up working where no one else wants to

Annas, from Morocco, a young ex-guardian foreigner.
Annas, from Morocco, a young ex-guardian foreigner.PACO PUENTES (THE COUNTRY)

The Moroccan Annas was 17 years old when he crossed the Strait in a small boat seven months ago. Until he came of age he was in a center for unaccompanied foreign minors in Écija (Seville). When he turned 18, the Board decided not to incorporate him into the +18 program that it develops through the collaboration of NGOs and private entities and that offers advice, socio-educational monitoring, accommodation and financial aid to young people who have been in care through foster homes or resources. at daytime. Annas stayed on the street and thanks to one of his educators he found a place in a shelter in the capital. The monitor’s insistence led the NGO Familias Solidarias to assign her one of the places in its own program in one of the flats she manages in Triana where she lives with four other foster children, they do, through the +18 initiative .

Annas meets the profile of an unaccompanied foreign minor who has arrived in Andalusia since 2019, when PP and Cs began to govern. Of the 5,036 unaccompanied children who arrived in the community, 79.4% were over 17 years old and 67% came from Morocco, according to data from the Ministry of Equality. Although during this time the places for unaccompanied minors have increased, the budget has been falling year after year, in response to the demands of Vox to approve the accounts. “There have not been situations of overcrowding of the centers as in 2018, because the migratory pressure has not been comparable, but what has been done has been an image policy, which can pay off electorally, but when there has been a harsh message of criminalization by the extreme right, they have withdrawn, ”says Diego Boza, general coordinator of the Andalusian Association for Human Rights.

“Most of these kids are only given a Spanish class, basic to be able to finish their studies and be able to find a job that nobody wants,” warns Juan Molina, head of the NGO Familias Solidarias de Cádiz.

Do nothing to avoid reopening wounds

The president of the Junta de Andalucía, Juan Manuel Moreno, at the opening of a conference dedicated to the poet Rafael Alberti and the Francoist writer Jose María Pemán in the San Felipe Neri oratory, in Cádiz.
The president of the Junta de Andalucía, Juan Manuel Moreno, at the opening of a conference dedicated to the poet Rafael Alberti and the Francoist writer Jose María Pemán in the San Felipe Neri oratory, in Cádiz.Juan Carlos Bull

One of the first demands of Vox to invest Moreno as president of Andalusia was the replacement of the Andalusian memory law with another of harmony, a commitment that he has complied with since the start of his legislature, but whose fulfillment has been postponed. It did replace the figure of the commissioner of Democratic Memory for that of Concord, Francisco Javier Arroyo, who according to the associations that are part of the Memory Council has barely met the body with the stipulated frequency —every four months—. The budget has been shrinking every year and in 2021 barely 14% of the planned 1.38 million was executed —in 2020 it was 17%. Only for exhumations, the central government has transferred to Andalusia between 2020 and 2021 more money (2,199,213 euros) than what was budgeted by the Board in the entire legislature (1,533,000 euros), according to the Andalusian Coordinator for Historical and Democratic Memory .

“There has been a setback at all levels of democratic memory and not only has the term been replaced by concord, but by a type of denialism and revisionism of what happened in Andalusia since the Franco regime,” says Luis Naranjo, the first commissioner for the Democratic Memory of the Board and member of the Andalusian Memorialist Assembly. “Politics in democratic matters has been a wasteland,” subscribes Pepe Barragán, one of the spokesmen for the Andalusian Coordinator for Historical and Democratic Memory.

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