Of so grotesque and implausible they may seem an exaggeration, a deformation of reality, a grotesque from Valle-Inclán. If, in addition, the most striking cases of corruption detected during the mandate of the PP in the main institutions of the Valencian Community between 1995 and 2015, are related with scathing spirit, one after the other or mixing them through your communicating vessels, you run the risk of falling into parody. But they are all very real. For this reason, the journalist Rodrigo Terrasa inserts the personal testimonies of protected witnesses of the Valencian Anti-Fraud Agency who have denounced corrupt practices in his recent book The city of euphoria. A hypothesis of the mafia (KO Books), a dizzying journey through the scandals of a political period that is still being tried in court.
The virulent harassment to which these witnesses have been subjected for not participating in the business constitutes a brutal counterpoint to the laughter of the public at the rallies for the self-confidence of the former president of the Valencia Provincial Council (“I had a Ferrari and they didn’t want me to have it. (…) But I tell you: if you vote for me, you will all have one”), the defendant Alfonso Rus, whom they allegedly recorded counting bills in the car; or the ability of the convicted Carlos Fabra, former president of the Castellón Provincial Council, to amuse his guests with his dirty jokes (such as the Aznar marriage), or the justification of the payment of prostitutes by hiring “Romanian translators” through the treatment plant in Valencia, in which more than 20 million were looted of euros.
“I wanted the book to have a lot of color, not to be a judicial portrait,” explains the Valencian author, from 43 years, “count those meetings of the businessman Enrique Ortiz with Sonia Castedo on the yacht, portraying situations and secondary characters ”. “I was very clear about the scathing intent and I wanted the book to be fun, but I was afraid it would be frivolous. It is true that there has been corruption in many other places, and perhaps with more serious cases, but in Valencia it has very special ingredients with characters such as El Bigotes sent by Gürtel or Marcos Benavent [procesado en la trama Taula], who repents and declares himself a yonki of money. That is why I introduced the anonymous testimonies with their consent and without identifying, of course ”, he points out.
The idea of writing about the subject came from interviewing the writer Valencian Ferran Torrent, who has been inspired by some corruption cases. “When I asked him why he used fiction, he replied that if we told the truth, no one would believe it. So I started to collaborate in a serial project like The Wire a la Valenciana and to collect documentation, but it got frustrated and it ended up being a book ”, says the journalist of the newspaper El Mundo, who carried out his work in Valencia until 2015 and covered several cases. “When I came to work in Madrid, I would tell about the scandals in Valencia, about Francisco Camps [expresidente de la Generalitat] and his friend of the soul, El Bigotes, and people were hallucinating because the reality was incredible, although we Valencians already had it internalized ”, He comments. The book, which he has written during the pandemic, joins other titles and also films and series that have portrayed or were completely or partially inspired by Valencian corruption.
Summaries, news from various media and police wiretaps are the main sources of this exercise in synthesis of the scandals by which politicians parade such as former president Eduardo Zaplana (investigated), former mayor Rita Barberá (died in 2016), former Vice President Juan Cotino (died in 2020) or former councilor Milagrosa Martínez, sentenced to prison, as well as former councilor Rafael Blasco, married to Consuelo Ciscar, convicted of using the resources of the museum she directed, the IVAM, to benefit the career of his artist son. Cases are also gutted such as the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Valencia in 2006, which the Gürtel plot took advantage of to take a slice, the extra costs of the works of Santiago Calatrava or the plug-ins and generalized manipulation on the old Valencian television Channel 9, including complaints of sexual abuse against one of its bosses, the former leader of the PP Vicente Sanz.
“I also wanted the book to be a tribute to the local press, from the provinces, as they say disparagingly in Madrid, because an amazing work has been done to denounce it. Although I am also very self-critical: I think we were accomplices for a while and participated in the party. At least that’s what I’ve seen ”, he asserts.