Sunday , April 18 2021

The far-right Vox's party in Spain as migrants Flood Ceuta and Melilla, a door for Europe's entry

THE STRIKE OF THE GIBRALTAR – Rock disappears in the fog while Africa slowly appears in front of us. On our side, Jebel Musa machine, one of the two contenders for the southern pillar of Hercules. Jebel Musa is in Morocco, although it is not in Morocco that we are moving. It is, instead, of the Spanish enclave Ceuta, over which, poorly seen now, the Spanish and European flags shine impersonally.

Along with Melilla, another enclave several hundred kilometers to the east, this autonomous city, Spanish since 1668, remains the only part of the European soil on the African continent. As such, it becomes a migrant magnet, mainly from West Africa, arriving at its established border with Morocco with visions of Europe dancing in their heads.

As is the case elsewhere in Europe, such immigration becomes more and more disputed. After running on an anti-immigrant platform that resembles those of Donald Trump and various nativist groups in Europe, Spain's latest right-wing party, Vox, is expected to win a significant portion of the vote in the general election this weekend. Ceuta and Melilla got big in the campaign of the party. Surveys and the sufferings of the migrants themselves were surprisingly ignored.

Although undoubtedly less dangerous than the maritime route – the deadliest route through the Sahara and the devastating war against Libya on boats intended for Italy and Malta and at the bottom of the Mediterranean-Spain border with Africa, are not without risk. The Ceuta-Melilla route passes through Algeria and Morocco, where sub-Saharan Africans are appalled, and police brutality against them is uncontrollable, and attempts to destroy wire fences are frustrated, with great chances of success.

He, he said, is one of the lucky ones. The 18-year-old is in Ceuta for five months, but on the road for the past two years. He left his family in Côte d'Ivoire when he was 16 years old and walked nearly 5,000 miles north.

"Hundreds of us tried to come," he tells me when I ask about the border crossing. "Only some of us did it."

We are sitting outside the Centro de Instance Tempal de Immigrant (CETI), a refugee center for acceptance into the forested hills west of the city. Siebid shows me the scarlet scars that adorn my hands, a nasty reminder of his entry with the waistcoat.

"It was a very frightening experience," he says. "They did not want to bring us in. The Moroccans tried to prevent us and the Spaniards tried to stop us, but the Spanish police are not as bad as the Moroccan police." If we were captured there, we would be beaten and sent to the desert. I saw many people beaten up. " (Both the Moroccan and Algerian governments are accused of leaving migrants in the Sahara.)

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