On December 31, 2020, at the last chime of midnight, a kind of relief flooded the minds of many. Was coming to an end an unheard of year: that of the pandemic that radically changed a way of life.
December 27 went down in history as the day the first doses of the vaccine against COVID-19. Araceli, 96, was the first lucky person. A long-distance race began with her. In August, a first goal was reached: 70% of the target population already had the complete pattern. “Commitment fulfilled,” said the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, satisfied. Over time, the 90% threshold has been exceeded. But nevertheless, Nor has 2021 been able to get rid of being the year of a pandemic.
Last November, in fact, a new chapter began. The appearance of the omicron variant, much more contagious than the previous ones, makes us enter 2022 in the middle of the sixth wave, with record numbers and with the coronavirus being, again, the news of the year.
A year of political changes
With 2021 just released, the electoral defeat of Donald Trump in the United States led to assault on the Capitol. On January 6, supporters of the outgoing president stormed the Congress headquarters and occupied the building for several hours, an event classified as a terrorist attack that killed five people.
Two weeks later, on January 20, Joe Biden He was inaugurated 46th President of the United States. In April, he announced the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. After two decades of intervention, September 11 became effective. The taliban They came back to dominate the country, causing an uncontrolled flight over the next few days and a setback in a large number of rights, especially for women.
In international politics another great change stands out. After 16 years in the Chancellery of Germany, Angela Merkel has stepped down from power. His successor, the Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, leads a tricolor government, along with greens and liberals, unheard of in the country.
Another political turnaround took place just a week ago, when the leftist Gabriel Bóric beat the far right Jose Antonio Kast in the second round of Chilean elections.
In Spain, the electoral year began in February with the elections in Catalonia. The then Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, left the management of the pandemic in the hands of Carolina Darias to run as a candidate for the Socialist Party of Catalonia. Pere Aragonès, of Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, was finally the winner.
The electoral horizon seemed clear then, but everything was blown up in April. In Murcia, the PSOE agrees with Citizens a motion of censure to the popular Fernando Lopez Miras. At the last moment, however, three of the orange deputies repent and the motion does not go through. The consequences of this maneuver will be lived in Madrid. The president Isabel Diaz Ayuso he breaks with his government partners, dissolves the assembly and calls elections on May 4.
As had already happened in Catalonia, these regional elections also interfere with ministerial portfolios. Pablo Iglesias leaves the government and is presented as a candidate of Podemos. After losing the elections, he leaves politics permanently.
The last consequence of the progressive rupture between Ciudadanos and the Popular Party was experienced just a few days ago. The president of Castile and Leon, Alfonso Fernández Manueco, dismisses his advisers from the orange party and calls early elections.
The consequences of climate change
When 2021 had not yet completed a week, a deep storm entered Spain through the Canary Islands and left snowfalls of up to 60 centimeters in the interior of the peninsula. Between January 6 and 11, Philomena it paralyzed roads, towns and cities, with special harshness in Madrid.
In summer, climate change had a radically opposite effect. A sixth generation fire burned for 46 days and razed nearly 10,000 hectares in Sierra Bermeja, In Malaga
And in autumn, a new storm affected the north of the peninsula just a few weeks ago. bar it left snow, rain and many floods. The river Ebro overflowed and took the lives of two people in Navarra.
Of phenomena like these they spoke, precisely, in the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which took place in Glasgow (Scotland) between October 31 and November 12. 25,000 delegates from 200 countries and around 120 heads of state debated for days, but ultimately the agreement reached was not as ambitious as the summit’s intentions. This was pointed out by the activist Greta Thunberg, who called the meeting a “failure.”
Cumbre Vieja awake
A natural phenomenon, although of another nature, has drastically interfered in the lives of the inhabitants of the Canary Island of The Palm. On September 19, after several days of tremors, the Cumbre Vieja volcano erupted.
Since then, hundreds of palm trees have been evicted or have lost their homes, which have been washed away by lava. Earthquakes and the presence of toxic gases have been the daily bread.
Although it has been stopped for more than a week, the eruption has not yet ended and is already the longest in the island’s history.
The most expensive light in history
In the month of July, the light price began to emerge. The gas cost in the wholesale market and the price of CO emission rights2 in the European market, added to the limited capacity for energy self-sufficiency in Spain, they lead to breaking daily records. First, € 100 per megawatt hour was exceeded. Soon they reached 200 and they have already come close to 400.
To this must be added the raw material shortage, the traffic jam in the ports and a rebound in consumption. The covid-19 pandemic tore the supply chain. Now, producers, transporters, sellers and consumers face a shortage problem and delays expected to continue into 2022.
Budgets and labor reform ‘in extremis’
The State’s general budgets and the modification of the labour reform they have hoarded political information in recent weeks. Negotiations with Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya on Audiovisual Law they finally reached an agreement and, despite the delay in the Senate when the Popular Party supported a Commitment amendment, the Budgets will be definitively approved on the 28th. The pact on the labor reform has arrived in extremis. After numerous meetings, the government, unions and employers agreed to three on December 23.
But the political season has left other news. On March 23, Spain became the sixth country in the world in legalize and regulate euthanasia. It has also been the year in which the renewal of some institutions has been unblocked, such as the Constitutional Court, the Court of Accounts, the Ombudsman and the RTVE Board of Directors. The pending subject: the General Council of the Judiciary.
Another measure of the Council of Ministers that gave something to talk about is the pardon the condemned by the process. On June 22, Oriol Junqueras, Dolors Bassa, Raül Romeva, Jordi Turull, Carme Forcadell, Josep Rull, Joaquim Forn, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sánchez received a partial and conditional pardon for not committing any crime for several years, so all they were released from prison.
The violence that does not disappear
Whatever the year, there are realities that unfortunately have not changed yet. Thus, 2021 has left 42 women fatalities due to gender violence. To this must be added other forms of aggression, such as vicarious violence, which involves the use of sons or daughters to continue harming the mother. The clear example this year was the murder of girls Ana and Olivia in Gran Canaria, who were thrown into the sea by their father.
Another constant violence is that of the migratory processes. Hundreds of people continue to die each year at sea. In Spain, the islands Canary Islands They have not stopped being a port of arrival for boats. In May, at least 6,000 migrants, including some 1,500 minors, arrived at Ceuta by land or by swimming from Morocco.
Losses in the world of culture
2021, like all, has also been a year of losses. On May 20 he left us, shortly after receiving the Cervantes Prize, the poet Francisco Brines. In July the singer, dancer, presenter and actress passed away Raffaella Carrà. More recently, the death of two great women has hit our country: the writer Almudena Grandes and the actress Veronica Forqué.
Every December, the Royal Spanish Academy adds new terms to the dictionary and proposes several candidates for word of the year. A review of them leaves a quite illustrative vision of what the main events have been. On this occasion, concepts such as carbon neutrality, shortage, megawatt, fajana or denialist are competing for the award.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.