Monday 5 December 2016

Spanish back to earth with a bump as frugal festive season beckons

Dale Fuchs in Madrid

Published 13/12/2010 | 05:00

Stranded passengers wait in Madrid's Barajas airport after flights were cancelled due to a walkout of air traffic controllers
Stranded passengers wait in Madrid's Barajas airport after flights were cancelled due to a walkout of air traffic controllers

This could have been the year when Joaquin Rodriguez (70) didn't play the Christmas lottery. It would have been the first time he skipped the world-famous "El Gordo" gamble in 50 years, but stranger things have happened in Spain recently.

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The left-leaning prime minister turned his back on the unions to appease investors, for instance. And earlier this month, the government declared a state of emergency for the first time since General Franco and placed the fate of the country's air traffic in the hands of the Spanish military.

Even stranger in this topsy-turvy world, Mr Rodriguez, a retired taxi driver, didn't win a thing last year. He bought €400 of losing tickets.

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