MADRID, Spain (ChurchMilitant.com) - Ana Iris Simón, a young Spanish journalist and author, told Spain's leader the country will see its own demise through depopulation and immigration.
Addressing socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez at his residence, Simón warned, "It is very good to help green companies and put Wi-Fi in the countryside. But there will be no 2030 Agenda or 2050 plan if in 2021 there is no roof for the solar panels because we don't have houses or children who connect to Wi-Fi."
Eight months into her pregnancy, she explained to Sánchez:
What I envy the most about my parents ... is that having children [for them] did not mean the leap into the void that I feel now. At 28, I have lived through three layoffs, and my temporary contract ends two days after my delivery date. I don't have a car, and I don't have a mortgage — and don't have them because I can't [afford them].
She urged that if Sánchez really wants to "face the demographic challenge" and "help families," he must "give them tax benefits contrary to what was proposed a few days ago, improve the birth rate and [provide] free schools for 0–3 years for everyone."
Simón referred to the United Nations' Agenda 2030 and 2050 plan for sustainable development that calls for the world to not only end poverty and provide for environmentally friendly policies, but also the propagation of contraception, abortion and the LGBTQ agenda.
any demographic plan should, in the first place, promote access to work and housing so that young people from the village are not forced to crowd into large cities and empty out the provincial capitals, and [the plan] should reverse what has brought us here, reindustrialize the country, provide housing regulations without half measures and benefit our products over imports.
Born in impoverished La Mancha in central Spain and the granddaughter of communists, Simón also spoke against immigration policies that are supposedly intended to maintain Spain's old-age pensions. She called for recovering Spain's
sovereignty lost in the face of global and European capitalism, a capitalism that also prefers to import the birth rate from outside rather than promote it within. I don't know about you ... but my hair stands on end every time there is talk of needing immigrants to pay our pensions as if people were foreign currency.
Once a writer for left-wing VICE, Simón left Madrid to return to her native Aranjuez where her parents and remaining grandfather live. Simón is the author of a memoir titled Fiesta, in which she recounts her love of her native soil or patria chica and lessons learned from hardworking parents and grandparents.
"Migration in the '70s was traumatic for my grandfather and for my friends during the 2008 crisis. And while we ask immigrants to fund our pensions," Simón said, "that sounds to me like stealing the labor from those from whom we stole their gold centuries ago."
Currently, Spain sees about 250,000 legal and illegal immigrants annually, many of whom come from the Maghreb and Sub-Saharan regions of Africa.
She lamented, "The global village ruined the real village; in the '70s, my grandfather could support eight children with a vineyard of 29 acres (12 hectares). Today, my cousin Rubén, the only one who still works in the fields, wants it so he can raise his three daughters. And yet he is fortunate to have a family ... because most of my age don't [have one]."
Referring to her own pregnancy, Simón mused:
Many are surprised that I am going to have a child at 29. Our average age for a first child is 32. In Spain, there are more mothers aged 40 than 25. And this is normal. We have a 40% youth unemployment rate and young peoples' wages [are] 50% lower now than in the '80s. And so how can we not envy the lives of our parents?
For daring to lecture Spain's leader, Simón became the target of leftists' scorn. For example, the leftist El Pais published an article by opinion writer Luz Sánchez-Mellado, who sneered:
In certain towns of La Mancha, it is customary to give compound names to children, both longer and lyrical, the shorter and more prosaic the family budget. She stood proudly at just 29 years old with her belly of eight months to beg the government for work, a house and her home region. For such audacity, some leftists call her a rightist, but for right she is a muse.
In an interview with El Pais, when asked how it feels to be celebrated by the right, Simón said:
That surprised me. Most don't understand me politically. Even so, it is not so much that the right listens to me, but that a certain Left is confused about me. It does not suit them that, because my grandfather and my father are communists, I speak like that. I believe that there is a liberal economic and conservative cultural right and a liberal cultural and conservative economic Left which never meet, but I serve as a weapon for one side to throw at the other.
Defining herself as "anti-liberal," Simón said that she is tired of the polarization represented by the ruling Socialist Party and the minority center-right Popular Party.
"And during a pandemic, all we talk about is either socialist-communist dictatorship or the rise of fascism. Don't distract us with that when there are so many out of work, without unemployment benefits and cannot have children," she noted.
At the center-right Vozpopuli online platform, Rubén Arranz wrote: "Ana Iris Simón writes pessimistically of her family, but didn't go far enough because the same message applies to the rest of her generation. The great generation of losers of the new century."
Arranz added that Simón:
lamented that "capitalism" sees a need for importing foreign laborers to underwrite the welfare state, but set aside the reason why young people in Spain cannot start families. Someone put these words to an ideological test and defined her speech as "fascist," but the message conceals a pathetic reality: The situation must change greatly so that future generations may live better than their predecessors.
Arranz blamed the European Union, the 2008 economic crisis, and Spain's response to COVID-19 for the impoverishment of Simón's (her own) generation.
He explained the EU has "moved gradually from the center of global power to the periphery," due to China's economic growth, adding, "Spain's weight within the EU is less than France and Germany, thus putting it on the fringes of the periphery."
He added that the disparities between prosperous Madrid and the interior have widened similarly.
Part of Spain's birth dearth is due to abortion, according to the pro-life Institute for Family Policies (IPF). More than 2 million abortions were committed in Spain between 1985 and 2015, placing Spain in third place for abortions in Europe after France and the United Kingdom. It has laws that provide abortion to teens even without parental permission and at any stage of pregnancy.
According to Spain's official Institute of National Statistics (INE), there were 13,141 fewer births registered from December 2020–January 2021 than from December 2019–January 2020. COVID-19 has been blamed. In 2019, a record low of 360,617 births was registered, representing the lowest annual number since 1941. The first six months of 2020 set a new pace: 168,047 births represented a decline of 4.2% over the first half of 2019. Full figures for 2020 are not available.
The overall fertility rate in Spain has dropped for decades and is now an average of 1.23 children per woman, compared to 2.8 in 1975. Women give birth to fewer children and deliver them later in life. Experts fear a further drop.
The future for Spain's post-COVID economy is uncertain. The government is hoping for tourists to again come and fill the coffers of the hospitality industry. About 12% of the economy is directly affected by tourism, which dropped by 89% in January over the same month last year.
The government recently cut its prediction for economic growth this year to 6.5% in view of a poor showing during the first quarter and a delay in EU subsidies. Unemployment dropped slightly and registered 15.98% during the first quarter. In real terms, this meant that Spain had 4 million unemployed — the highest figure since 2016. Unemployment among Spaniards 16–24 years old is 34% and is 11% among those aged 25–64, thus bolstering author Simón's observations.