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Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain

Random thoughts from a Brit in the North West. Sometimes serious, sometimes not. Quite often curmudgeonly.

Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 6 October 2020
06 October 2020 @ 13:34

Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.  

- Christopher Howse: 'A Pilgrim in Spain'*  


Oh, dear. Bad news for those of us in wetter climes: According to the WHO, rain can limit the effectiveness of protective masks and these must be replaced if they become damp. In France, where it's compulsory to wear masks outdoors in many cities, local guidelines encourage users to carry a second mask because of the risk.

The UK: The extraordinary failure to report — and then trace the contacts of — almost 16,000 cases is only the latest “glitch” from a government that seems increasingly shambolic.

Brazil: The bad news is that, along with several other Latin and South American countries, Brazil has rocketed up the deaths per million table to pass even the US total. The good news, as suggested here, is that one of its cities might have achieved herd immunity. 

Living La Vida Loca in Spain/Galicia

More on the attempts to compensate for the Franco years. 

A nice note on proposed motoring madness from Lenox Napier of Business Over Tapas. It has to be said that aged Spanish drivers have a penchant for going the wrong way down a motorway. Once in  wheel chair on the way to a brothel. I kid you not.  

I'm not sure what the law is here re e-scooters on pavements. Judging from the fact that riders weave in and out of pedestrians in 'humanised' areas of Pontevedra city, I guess they're either legal or, as with ordinary bikes, transgressors are ignored by the police. In the UK, though, they have a speed limit of 25kph and they're confined to private land, low-speed roads and bike lanes. And now a US company is promising technology which will switch off the motors within a second of bikes leaving these. I wonder if it'll ever reach Spain.

Cocaine News: The Wiki article below is about one of our 'star' narcos. In fact, I think he might have been the mayor of O Grove during one of his prison spells. But maybe this was someone else. We have a lot of narcos around here, what with an alleged 33 drug clans  in the region. I think the series Fariña/Cocaine Coast was based on his activities. And you thought we were famous for our Albariño wine . . .

Canine News: Jerez de la Frontera has bestowed an honour on a breed of terrier partly of British origin which keeps sherry cellars free of rats. The breed - el ratonero bodeguero andaluz - has been declared a part of Spain’s cultural heritage. It's described as a short-haired medium-sized terrier, bright and excitable and great companions for children.  And looks like this:-

María's Fallback chronicle: Days 20 and 21. 


Three more less-common refranes:- 

- If you go away, you can't expect anyone to keep your place for you: El que se fue a Sevlla perdió su silla.

- If you live like that, you're bound to come to a bad end: Quien mal anda, mal acaba.

- If you talk too much, you're likely to give yourself away: La perdiz por el pico se pierde.

Finally . . . 

As it happens, I went to Manaus once. Or to the airport at least, for an unscheduled wait for another plane. During which all our bags were broken into. So . . . Not my favourite place on the planet.    


José Ramón Prado Bugallo - better known as Sito Miñanco - a Spanish smuggler and drug trafficker.

He was born in a family of sailors of humble origin, who was known in Cambados as “Os Miñanco". In the early 1980s he began smuggling tobacco through one of the three strongest organizations of the time, the ROS. In 1983 he was arrested for a blond tobacco operation, spent six months in La Parda prison and then was transferred to the Carabanchel prison (Madrid), where he was detained for two more months. He established contacts with members of the Medellín Cartel, such as Jorge Luis Ochoa.

Upon leaving prison, Sito Miñanco was introduced to the world of drug trafficking, and although he continued to use tobacco as a social cover, he began trafficking other drugs such as cocaine, through a network that operated from Panama, where he also met to his wife, Odalys Rivera. 

In 1986 he bought the football team of his city, Mocedá Cambados.

He was arrested in Pozuelo de Alarcón in 1994, for introducing 2.5 tons of cocaine into Spain in 1990, and the National High Court sentenced him to 20 years in prison for drug trafficking, tax evasion and forgery of documents. At that time, Miñanco began a lawsuit against the wiretaps authorized by instructor Baltasar Garzón, considering that they violated his intimacy. The trial ended in 2003, when the Strasbourg Court of Human Rights forced the Spanish State to compensate the drug trafficker with 7,000 euros, although it did not have criminal effects.

Miñanco was released on parole after serving 7 of his 20 years in prison, but was arrested again in his villa in Villaviciosa de Odón (Madrid), when he supervised the operation of trespassing 5 tons of cocaine in international waters, near French Guiana. In June 2004, the National High Court sentenced him to 16 years and 10 months in prison and a fine of 390 million euros, as the alleged leader of an international drug trafficking organization.

In 2010, he was sent to Huelva prison. At that time, the Tax Agency dismantled a corporate plot that managed businesses and shops in Vilagarcía de Arousa, through which Miñanco would launder money from drug trafficking.

In May 2011 he was transferred to the Algeciras prison. On June 10, 2011, he was granted a three-day prison leave, which in principle was sheltered on the basis of the high risk of escape, and in view of the fact that from prison he continued his actividaes delictives, finally granting this permission by the National Court in consideration of the favorable report issued by the prison d'Huelva, in which he had previously been imprisoned. He also did not intervene in his telephone conversations, except for his condition as a FIES prisoner (Ficheru d'Internos d'Especial Siguimientu). The director of the Onubense prison, Francisco Sanz, was dismissed from his post on the 21st of the same year for "loss of focus". According to Penitentiary Institutions, Sanz would receive gifts, as in the case of two Mercedes-Benz vehicles, from drug traffickers, for better prison conditions.

In February 2018, he was arrested in Algeciras, a city where he lived in the third degree of penitentiary, and sent to prison on charges of being the main perpetrator of a plot that distributed cocaine to Italy, Albania and the Netherlands. At his feet, another 20 people who were allegedly part of the organization were sent to prison. While the National Police agents found a plasticized dossier with the script of the television series Fariña, d'Antena 3, during the recording, before the broadcast. Later, Miñanco was discovered trying to enter 6,000 euros in prison to "make clear his status" among the rest of the prisoners. 

* A terrible book, by the way. Don't be tempted to buy it, unless you're a very religious Protestant.

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