A jobless Ecuadorian couple await a foreclosure order and face a life-time loan debt in northern Spain, near the town where a 53-year old woman about to be evicted killed herself by jumping from the balcony of the flat she was no longer able to pay for. Sarah Sheffer reports.
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Fabian Herrera and Mariuxi Velazquez, a couple from Ecuador, don't know how much longer they can live in their flat here in the outskirts of Bilbao.
Last June they stopped paying the mortgage after they both became jobless.
Now, they face an imminent eviction by their lender, Banco Popular. And with that flat goes all of their lifetime savings.
SOUNDBITE)(Spanish) FABIAN HERRERA, SAYING:
"I am depressed, I feel bad, I can't sleep at night. I wake up and go back to bed only thinking that tomorrow it might be us who have to leave our home and return it to the bank and where are we going to live? And, it isn't only that we are going to be homeless. The bank's director has told us that even if we are evicted from our home, we will have a life-time debt with the bank and we have to pay it off."
But they are not alone.
Just last week, a 53-year-old woman living nearby threw herself out of her fourth-storey apartment window as court officials came up the stairs to evict her.
Her death, the second evicition-related suicide in Spain in recent weeks, prompted the government to act - with the Prime Minister pushing for a temporary suspension of evictions for the most vulnerable families.
But for some, this may be a little too late.
There have been nearly 400,000 evictions in Spain since a property bubble burst in 2008, and unemployment hit 25 percent in the third quarter.
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