Business, Economics and Jobs

Spanish mayor becomes famous for "Robin Hood" style grocery store robberies


Government employees demonstrate against the Spanish government's latest austerity measures, in the center of Madrid, on July 27, 2012. Spain's unemployment rate has hit a new high of 25 percent, leaving 5.7 million Spaniards out of work.



The mayor of the tiny Spanish town of Marinaleda has become famous for his "Robin Hood" style support of supermarket robberies that redistributed food to the poor. 

Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo, who holds parliamentary immunity, allegedly stood outside a supermarket where robberies were taking place in the cities of Ecija (in the province of Seville) and Arcos de la Frontera in Cadiz, lending moral support to the labor unionists actions, says Reuters. 

Seven of the participants have been arrested, and although Gordillo holds immunity, he says he'd be happy to renounce it so he could face the court system. Gordillo called hunger in the 21st century a "disgrace."

"They say I'm dangerous. And the bankers who are let off for fraud? That's not dangerous? The banks which borrow from the ECB for 1 percent then resell that debt to Spaniards for 6 percent - they're not dangerous?" Gordillo told Reuters.

Gordillo, who has been mayor of Marinaleda for 30 years, runs his town as an experimental socialist cooperative, a scheme that attracted the attention of the New York Times in 2009. 

He will soon set off on the start of a civil disobedience campaign, says Reuters, planning to tell mayors "to skip debt payments, stop layoffs, cease home evictions and ignore central government demands for budget cuts." 

Read more from GlobalPost: Raging youth unemployment fuels fears of social collapse in Spain

Spain's recession continues to drag on, as GlobalPost reported last month, and the EU has approved a bailout loan, placing the European nation in the dubious company of Greece, Portugal, and Ireland. 

Youth unemployment is particularly grinding: more than half of Spaniards under age 25 are out of work, and even the employed often work under short-term contracts. 

Read more: Spanish supermarket thieves: Robin Hoods or robbing hoods? 

Here's video of the supermarket robberies.