There has been no commercial traffic on the river for over half a century since the mine, a little further upstream , closed, and the ore boats obviously needed no such beacons. The only users of the river now are small pleasure craft and the odd small excursion boat from Ayamonte or Vila Real and neither need such beacons. The posts are conventially entitled "aids to navigation" but are , in fact, obstacles to navigation: in fog it is diffucult to avoid them (and a number of the posts have been smashed into) and, at night , their absurdly bright flashing lights blind one's night vision.

None of the users were consulted and the prices we have heard rumoured (Eur 50 - 80 000 per post) are outrageous - except to the politicians involved who, in the manner exemplified by José Sócrates , former PM of Portugal and probably the biggest and most successful criminal of the country, can be assumed to have well filled their pockets. It is one of the worst examples of waste of public funds (i.e. OUR money!), Portuguese, Spanish and EU, I have ever seen.

The proposed bridge over the Guadiana, Alcoutim - San Lucar is set to continue the established tradition of enrichment of politicians and impoverishment of irrelevant citizens, in what is laughingly called our "democracies". There is not the slightest justification for such a bridge. The south coast already has a motorway Huelva - Lagos, for which there has never been a commercial justification. The bridge will connect the two great commercial centres of Huelva and Ourique (???!) and shorten the distance between, say, Huelva and Lisbon by 50 kms, i.e. by half an hour. It will bring no commercial advantage WHATSOEVER to Alcoutim-San Lucar. Indeed, much to the contrary, it will destroy the great commercial advantage they possess: silence. However, silence is the one element of our anti-civilisation that is detested and MUST be eradicated. And so all efforts will be made to do so.

In May, a new office was established : " a Procuradoria Europeia, organismo independente da União (UE) para investigação de fraudes para obter subsidios", and the person to contact is Vera Jouravá (Commission Europénne, rue de La Loi, B - 1049 Bruxelles, Bélgica). The fraudulent nature of the bridge could not be more obvious. If the good lady , who happens to be Portuguese, is deluged with enough mail, there m i g h t be a reaction.

Malcolm Mcfarlane