HOLLYWOOD actor and producer Michael Douglas offered his condolences to the families of victims of Thursday's bomb attack in Madrid when he visited the Balearic booth at the International Tourism Fair (ITB) in Berlin. He explained that he and his wife (Catherine Zeta Jones) had been in New York on 11-S 2001 and had lost friends at the World Trade Center. “We both send our sincere condolences to Spain,” he said. Douglas was accompanied by Balearic tourism chief Joan Flaquer.
He spoke of the “pleasant memories” of one of his earlier visits to Berlin on October 3, 1990, the day of German reunification, which was “one of the happiest moments of his life.” The actor, goodwill ambassador for the Balearics, also spoke of his “love affair with the islands,” which he has visited for between two weeks and six months every year for the past three decades. He reminisced of Formentera “where paparazzi took the first photographs of me with Catherine (Zeta Jones) whom I met in Majorca,” and Minorca and its “tranquility and fiesta of Sant Joan, one of the most beautiful I have seen.” He joked “I'm too old for Ibiza, but my 25-year-old son says that it's the best place in the world.” Douglas explained that in setting up the Costa Nord cultural centre in Valldemossa, which the Balearic government bought from him for 4.4 million euros, he had wanted to “give something back to the Majorcans and also to visitors.” The programme at the centre includes school activities, designed to teach children to appreciate the diversity of the islands.” He added that in the summer programme of concerts, he had wanted to show his “deep love of flamenco” pointing out that artists who had appeared there included Tomatito and El Cigala. A German journalist was booed when he asked Flaquer, in Spanish, if the Balearic government was going to respond to the claims of the demo in Majorca on February 14, when 50'000 people took to the streets to oppose “the destruction of Majorca.” The journalist made a mistake and said 500'000, to which Flaquer replied that the information which reached Germany was distorted, adding that he was committed to provide the “best amenities with the utmost respect for the environment to create a model of progress and wellbeing.” But a Majorcan had the last word. He said: “Mr Douglas, I have seen all your films, and I must say, as a Majorcan, that your appearance today has been your best performance.”