Corruption affects us all

Here on a small donkey field in a forgotten corner of Spain, of no significance to anyone, I have finally found out what corruption is about.  Its insidious nature inserts itself into even the most mundane and uninteresting areas of Spanish life.  In fact, when you try and draw the attention of journalists to it, they don’t even want to know, because they see so much worse elsewhere.  Every day!  So we have to fight our own battles alone in whatever way we can.

The politicians won’t help us.  The journalists are bored with it, and our lives are not of great interest. In any case they are looking for bigger fish to fry.  Local matters do not make journalists’ reputations.

But thanks be to God, occasionally, the police will get so frustrated with what they constantly see that they will speak out and help us.

Matilde eye

I have to be careful what I say because I do not want to reveal my source.  The source is entirely genuine, and he doesn’t even share my political opinions, which was interesting because I told him I disagreed with him and he still wanted to share this with me.

Fifteen months ago I had a meeting with the Mayor of Finestrat and the Chief of the Policia Local regarding our wishes here in Partida Benienso to set up a Neighbourhood Watch scheme.

The Mayor and the Chief of Police welcomed the fact that I was volunteering to be the coordinator of such a scheme because, under national policing standards, the Policia Local are obliged to get pilot projects of Vecinos Cooperando under way.

A meeting was due to be held in the Finestrat Ayuntamiento a year ago in November 2014.  It never happened.  Every time I asked about it, I was told there were “problems”, but nothing specific.  The local elections happened and I raised the matter again with the new PP candidate for Mayor of Finestrat at a public election meeting.  He absurdly suggested that “Valencia” were blocking the scheme because they didn’t like the idea of “vigilantism”.  I said that was a complete misunderstanding of what Neighbourhood Watch actually means!

This week, more than one and a half thousand people in Finestrat have seen the YouTube video in which the hunters of Finestrat abuse me in my own field on a Sunday morning, and many people have been coming up to me in the village to congratulate me.  All the Policia Local have given me their support too, shouting across the street, “He visto el video!” and giving a thumbs up!

Then, in an amazing conversation with an official who came up to me in a bar, I learned the truth of the suppression of the Neighbourhood Watch scheme. This man is right at the very centre of things and heard the key conversations with the Chief of Police.  The hunters did not want the Neighbourhood Watch scheme because they do not want their illegal shooting distances – firing less than 50 metres from houses here – scrutinised and reported.  Plus they can bring out the vote or withdraw the vote from a political candidate.  And they can do more…  as I heard.

The hunting lobby comes before the safety of citizens.  Their votes are what really counts.  I cannot reveal any more because I do not want to expose my source, but he told me many people are with me and against the corruption.  These are the brave people who uphold the law here, whose own commitment is being undermined by the politicians and their own bosses.

Rubí donk I came here to live a simple life with donkeys in the countryside.  In the end, the corruption even reaches here.  It makes you feel quite dirty when you realize you have brushed against these people and their twisting ways.

What shall we do?  Give up or fight back against the bullies and the corrupt?  A quiet life or a battle against uneven odds?

I really do not know, but the disappointment is immense.


6 thoughts on “Corruption affects us all

  1. Gareth,

    What prevents you and your neighbours from simply setting up your own informal neighbourhood watch scheme? If the local police approve of it, then it would work even without an official seal of approval.


  2. Thanks for your comment. Having formerly been a Neighbourhood Watch coordinator in the UK, the answer is that the whole point of the scheme is to create a communications network that is fully integrated with the local police. It is not an alternative to the police.


  3. Thanks – then I understand. I haven’t been associated with Neighbourhood Watch groups – I didn’t know how they worked.

    It begins to sound a bit like the Wild West, where the sheriff handed out deputy badges when he needed extra help. The Finestrat hunters aren’t related to the Clantons, by any chance?

    You’ll be able to sell the movie rights after it has been resolved.


  4. Pray for the strength to stand against these bullies. I will pray for you. What you are doing is right and others know it too. I sense your disappointment and can appreciate your frustrations at the corruption and injustice. I loathe the greed, corruption and blatant injustices which dominate our society today. You cannot do this alone – you need the Heavenly Host at your side and your neighbours galvanised to be proactive in working towards a positive end. Keep going Gareth, you are strong, brave and doing the right thing for everyone. Many blessings to you and the lovely donks.


  5. Thanks, Jim. I have been personally assured by the Mayor that these people have been spoken to and I should not expect any more trouble from them. I should think most of the 2000 hits on the YouTube video have been local people because everyone comes up to me and says that they disown these people, who they assure me are untypical of Finestrat. This is true, in my experience, but there is a small minority who dislike residents of other nationalities and this incident is prompted by such people. They have a “denuncia” against them and I think it will be going to court eventually, as the threats of violence need to be dealt with properly.

    It’s really great to have news of the donkey breeding world in the USA from time to time. Whenever I see photographs of the mammoths, I simply cannot get my head round the idea of donkeys being THAT big! Yo’d be very welcome should you be in Europe some time, Jim. I have a friend who has donkeys in France and she is coming to stay at Easter to look after my four, while I go to England for a short break. That will be the first time in England in more than five years. I would like to visit the Donkey Sanctuary there if I get time.


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