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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

A Quixotic Fight

Air Date: Week of October 3, 2003

Don Quixote’s impossible dream becomes reality in his Spanish homeland, The residents of Luzaga, in the central plains of La Mancha, are protesting the development of a windfarm there. Host Steve Curwood talks with Celso Hernando, one of the residents leading the charge.

Transcript

CURWOOD: Spanish author Miguel Cervantes made famous the plains of La Mancha, with the tales of Don Quixote, the fictional knight-errant who took up arms against windmills, mistaking the large, tilting structures for giants. Today, residents of La Mancha, in central Spain, are picking up where Don Quixote left off. Celso Hernando is a man of La Mancha and he’s leading his town Luzaga in protest against a recently proposed wind farm there. Mr. Hernando, welcome.

HERNANDO: Hello.

CURWOOD: What do you have in La Mancha today? Can you give me a description?

HERNANDO: Well, this is a very small town in the north part of Castilla a La Mancha. In the edge of the region there are mountains. And it’s a beautiful region. And they want to build a wind park on it. So, we started our fight against the windmills like Don Quixote.

CURWOOD: What is the kinship? What is the connection you feel to Don Quixote?

HERNANDO: He saw a mill and thought it was a monster. So, we see the mills in a similar way because we think that behind the mills is a great corporation, that, it seems to us, is a monster, too.

CURWOOD: So, I understand that there are already many wind farms in the region of La Mancha. What do they look like?

HERNANDO: It’s like an industrial landscape. They build a wind park in a mountain – that’s alright if, in that place, there is nothing of interest, no plants, no trees, no animal life. We support the wind power. What we don’t support is that you have to cut a lot of trees to put a mill.

CURWOOD: So far, what have you done to get your message out? How have you told people that you don’t want this windmill?

HERNANDO: It’s very hard because this is a very little town. We are talking about 200 people. We have made some demonstrations. We walked two miles to the peak, with signs, and in those signs we presented it to the administration and tried to convince them that everybody didn’t want the park.

CURWOOD: How successful was Don Quixote?

HERNANDO: They think that he died with no material winnings, but I think that the spirit was what he was struggling for, I think. So we are trying to stop this thing, and we have very few chances to win but we must fight.

CURWOOD: Celso Hernando is a resident of Luzaga, a town in the region of La Mancha. Thanks for taking this time to speak with me today.

HERNANDO: Thank you. Goodbye.

[MUSIC: Man Of La Mancha (Soundtrack) “Overture” (MCA – 1973)]

 

 

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