-What has been the worst of these two years of pandemic? The companies that have fallen by the wayside and those that, even resisting, accumulate large debts. We are talking about small businesses.
– Has there been something good? Have the conviction that the Guild has never stopped fighting for them. Also the agreement to expand the terraces, the temporary correction of the abusive increase in rates or having been the only community that has approved a rule that forced rents to be reduced in proportion to the restrictions. These agreements between the Guild and the administrations have saved businesses.
–The Guild maintains a regular relationship with politicians. Yes, it is part of our daily life.
–You have dedicated yourself to politics. I was a councilor in Barcelona many years ago. It was a brief and intense period, which I closed with a bittersweet taste.
-Bittersweet? I wasn’t prepared to be the target of smears. I’m talking about the corrupt licensing scheme in Ciutat Vella. The news broke in 2010 and the judicial investigation has now been closed, 12 years later. This case has been used against me too many times.
-What was your involvement? None. I was neither charged nor investigated, nor was I even summoned to testify as a witness. To be exact, within the framework of a summary of thousands of pages, in a conversation intervened between one of the main defendants and the then Security manager, Joan Albert Dalmau, it was mentioned that I had practiced as a lawyer, which is true. This manager also unfairly suffered disrepute and has never been redressed.
-How did you get involved in the controversy? The vanguard gave rise to leaks, clearly intentional, mixing my name with those who were really involved in the plot. The context cannot be ignored: at the end of 2010, the socialist project was very worn out after 30 years of government. Everything was worth against the PSC.
-What a mess, isn’t it? Yes, but there everyone with their professional conscience. I think that sometimes the press is not aware of the damage it can cause. This newspaper and other media echoed my total disengagement from the events the next day.
–How did you experience it? With frustration and with a tremendous feeling of injustice. I leaned on my family and friends. It is obvious that these articles, despite the fact that I had nothing to do with the plot, explain the end of my political career in 2011.
–I imagine that your government colleagues supported you, right? Yes, I received the support of both the mayor, Jordi Hereu, and the head of the socialist federation in Barcelona, Carles Martí. I remember the press conference I gave with Jordi William Carnes to silence the media noise. Being so young, his support helped me keep my nerve: a room full of journalists is impressive, and even more so in such a delicate matter. I said then, and I maintain it, that it was curious that someone not accused of anything had to go out and defend himself.
–There was a lot of talk about former councilor Itziar Gonzàlez. And it would be convenient to shed some light, because not everything that is repeated about it is necessarily true.
-What are you talking about? Gonzàlez dedicated himself to explaining that the threats he suffered (he was not the only one) came from the Ciutat Vella socialist group, led by me at that time, which, even then, had neither head nor tail. Well, one of those involved in the plot, Joaquín Quílez, has acknowledged being the author of the threats. There was never a political plot as has been wanted to believe. Gonzàlez owes an apology to the Ciutat Vella PSC for such a serious accusation.
–Does the story end here? No. He is also credited with uncovering the corrupt plot. I do not doubt his commitment to the fight against corruption, but the information published as early as 2010 attributes the discovery of the plot to a casual phone tap that occurred during the investigation of the Castelldefels brothels. This is the truth and it has been known since 2010. And we could go on.
–This episode of corruption in Ciutat Vella would be nothing more than an anecdote from the past if I hadn’t persecuted you. I would rather say that they have made me persecute myself, completely disregarding the truth. On a recurring basis since I lead the Restoration Guild, some people have used this issue to discredit my work by sowing doubts about my honorability. It is intolerable, especially knowing my total disengagement. It is a deplorable way of doing politics.
-Who do you mean? They are always the same ones who resort to these miserable practices. Someone who has done it on several occasions is the former councilor of Ciutat Vella, Gala Pin, with the aim of disavowing the demands that I have had to defend as director of the Guild. She probably meant to scare us off, but she never did.
-Give me an example. Harassment was very intense during the 2015-19 mandate and I am aware that it continues. In July 2018, we publicly asked Pin to include Ciutat Vella in the terraces agreement that we had reached with the government of which she was a part. Her response was immediate: ignore the Guild’s request and publicly defame me through the networks using the aforementioned article in The vanguard. I have it properly documented.
– Defame, something remains, right? Exact. Deep down it bothers them that people defend themselves with solvency. They do not understand that citizens are neither subjects nor vassals. They would like to silence the opinions that do not coincide with theirs and those of those who remind them of their obligations as public servants. And when they fail, they resort to defamation and lies. I can’t imagine a better definition of abuse of power.
-How did you react to? I wrote to the mayor condemning these practices and asking her for protection as a former councilor. The opposition leaders at the time (Trias, Bosch, Mejías, Collboni and Fernández Díaz) contacted me to show their support. I thanked him very much.
– Did the mayor answer you? No, and I think it would have been the right thing to do. It is also true that the relationship between the Guild and the municipal government was tense. Fortunately, the pandemic has made it possible to build important agreements that have protected the sector, which is what it is all about. I must say that, despite the many public discrepancies that we have maintained, the relationship with the mayor has always been respectful.
Why have you decided to report it now? For the necessary reparation of the injustice suffered. Because he had been silent for 12 years. Because the strategy of not feeding the monster does not mean that he behaves decently. Because not everything is worth, neither in life nor in politics. And because I recently heard Felipe González explain on Jordi Évole’s program the reasons why certain people are defamed.
What did Philip say? “When people fear that you will come back, the harassment does not end. The strategy is based on destroying your honorability; and when they come to the conclusion that there is nothing, they make it up & rdquor ;. For the first time I understood that what was happening to me was not just the product of malice as I had always thought.
Have you considered going back to politics? It doesn’t depend on just one. I’m lying if I say I haven’t thought about it or that I haven’t been asked. The issue is not to return, but for what: to be here, I rule it out completely. Right now I feel useful where I am, at the service of the restaurant sector. From the Guild I have the opportunity to defend a city model in which I believe. I am happy with what I do.