Bronchales in western Spain – population just 463 – has found itself in the limelight twice in the last week.
Last Friday, it was all bad news after an unemployed man from the village failed in an attempt to blow up the Madrid offices of the ruling Partido Popular (PP) party. Yesterday, the mood lifted when it emerged the village had won a slice of the €2.2bn (£1.7bn) El Gordo lottery.
The village in the Teruel mountains was plunged into shock when Daniel Pérez Berlanga, 37, drove his car into the PP headquarters. Despite loading the vehicle with two gas canisters and two sacks of industrial fertiliser, it failed to explode. He told police that he didn’t detonate the explosives after getting stuck.
Bronchales was back in the news yesterday after several villagers struck lucky in Monday’s annual draw – known as El Gordo, or the fat one, one of the richest lotteries in the world. The participants won €660,000, for a collective outlay of €2,200.
It is not clear whether Mr Berlanga is part of the winning syndicate, but even if he is, it may be some time before he is able to enjoy his winnings. A judge in Madrid has already sent him to prison, on preliminary charges of damage against property, possession of explosives and attempted homicide.
“This is a very small place where very strange things happen, but we also win the lottery,” said Ricardo Saéz, a butcher and co-owner of Bronchales’s one supermarket, where for years he has sold lottery tickets to his customers.
“We should be known here for the good things that happen, too,” Mr Saéz added, in an oblique reference to Bronchales’s other, grimmer, recent claim to fame.
Last year 75 per cent of the cash-strapped population somehow scraped together an average of €60 for tickets to fast-track them out of economic difficulty.Reuse content