Inevitably though, the permanent collection—if there is one—is very much a work in progress and seldom fully on display. That curatorial reticence is probably because the acquisitions have been guided by considerations of bulk rather than quality, with a strong suit in the recent and overhyped.
Meanwhile, the conservatives who were in power in Spain from 1996 to 2004 decided to tackle an ancient problem and divert water from the Ebro River, which slices through the fecund fields of Aragón, La Rioja, and Navarra far to the north. Farmers feared “their” water would end up irrigating golf courses and beachfront condos of the southeast rather than the orange groves and plasticulture farms for which it was supposedly destined.
Former Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, a socialist, ordered 51 desalinization plants built at a cost of five billion euros. At present, 17 of those are up and running, supplying only 16% of the projected output. The regional government of Murcia has been sounding out Gulf Arab countries about taking a dozen or so off their hands.
A year after the workmen went home, not one of the 1,200 berths at the luxury-class yacht marina at Laredo is occupied. Nor is a single bed occupied at the hospital complex at Toledo that was going to be Europe’s largest one-stop medical facility.
Construction ended over a year ago on northeastern Catalonia’s huge Puig de les Basses penitentiary, but the facility has yet to receive any of the 750 inmates it was designed to hold. The Catalan government has budgeted no money to make it operational, hire personnel, or purchase supplies. Or even to fill up the swimming pool.
Pool or no pool, Spanish taxpayers are getting soaked under a deal in which the builders assumed all the up-front costs for labor and material—109 million euros—and are to recover their investment at the rate of a million a month over the next 30 years. But should the prison ever open, don’t expect to find the politicians who ordered it built cooling their heels poolside.
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