Torres says xenophobic actions like those in Tunte are simply not acceptable

2020/08/08 14:39:14 Written by Canarian Weekly Gran Canaria

Torres has been blunt about how to respond to situations such as the one that occurred in Tunte due to the arrival of immigrants, after police had to intervene when protests turned violent.

The central and Canary Islands governments will collaborate to serve, in the "most dignified way possible", those who arrive to the islands by boat without "turning their backs" on the phenomenon of immigration, and will combat any outbreak of xenophobia that they detect, because it is a behaviour that is "simply not acceptable."

With the numbers of arrivals of immigrants to the Canary Islands at levels unknown since the 'crisis of the cayucos' in 2006, although numbers are still far from those 14 years ago, 3,200 now compared to 32,000 then, immigration has focused part of the conversation that the prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, and Ángel Víctor Torres had in Lanzarote, where the former is spending a few days off.

This comes after two relevant events on the subjectin the last few days: the two shipwrecks on Thursday that cost the lives of more than 50 people on the coasts of the Sahara and Mauritania who were trying to reach the Canary Islands, and the demonstration led the day before by a group of residents from Tunte in Gran Canaria, to try to prevent quarantined immigrants from being transferred to their town.

Pedro Sánchez left their meeting place without making any statements, but both the President of the Canary Islands and the Minister of Territorial Policy, Carolina Darias, who is well aware of this problem, have done so, because she experienced firsthand the previous migration crisis of the islands as a government delegate.

"This is a sad and painful humanitarian drama. There are people who have to leave their home, their town, their city, their country, their continent, their families ... and in many cases, as has just happened, to lose their lives on the journey, when what they want is to have hope," Torres said.

The President of the Canary Islands has been blunt about how to respond to situations like the one that occurred in Tunte, where the Police eventually had to intervene so that the Government could house a group of immigrants, who arrived on Sunday, in the old school residence of the town, who had been sleeping under tents in the port for three days awaiting PCR tests.

“There are issues that we need to be aware of. There is no room for any outbreak, no gesture, no xenophobic action in a world in which people have to look each other in the eye and know that we are all absolutely the same. Therefore, from here, my absolute rejection of any xenophobic actions, because it minimizes society and belittles us as human beings," he added.

Minister Darias expressed herself in similar terms, saying that we are facing "very isolated episodes" of xenophobia, but which are "reprehensible and do not represent the citizens of this country, nor of this land, nor especially the municipality of San Bartolomé de Tirajana”, where the town of Tunte is located.

Darias argued that administrations have "a moral and ethical duty" to help improve living conditions in the immigrants' countries of origin, because "if life improves there, they would not undertake a journey in which many times, they are playing with their lives," as has happened this week three times with boats heading to the Canary Islands, in Tarfaya, Dakhla and Nouadhibou, resulting in at least 57 deaths.

"Death is a fatality and it hits us. It hits me personally, as well as a lot of good people in this country, because they are people who want to improve their lives, as anyone does. Therefore, I want to express our condolences and pain for those deaths and for so many others that have occurred," said the minister.

Torres also spoke with Sánchez about the need to "work with the countries of origin, because agreements have to be updated, and there have to be controls at the borders."