Immigrants arriving in Tenerife being housed by Las Americas police station
Little by little, the images are being repeated and stories are being told, of when the Canary Islands had what was known as the ‘crisis of the cayucos’ when over 32,000 irregular migrants landed in the islands, and hundreds lost their lives, a little more than a decade ago.
It was precisely one of those vessels, which are designed for fishing but are turned into transport for human trafficking, which was detected about two nautical miles (3.7 kilometres) from Punta Rasca in Tenerife, just after midday yesterday. In the fragile boat, a total of 83 people were travelling crowded on board, of which 65 are men, and 18 of them are supposedly minors.
When they arrived at the port, they claimed to the emergency services that they had been crossing for eight days after leaving northern Senegal. According to sources from Marítime Rescue, the alarm came both from those who sighted the cayuco from the coast of Las Galletas, and from the Candelaria fishing boat in the area.
The most disturbing thing is, that despite being so close to the southernmost point of the island of Tenerife, the cayuco was moving in a western direction, which would have entered an inhospitable ocean, especially if water and other provisions began to get scarce.
When the Salvamar Alpheratz rescue boat approached the cayuco and checked the crowds that filled it, it was decided not to transfer the migrants to this Maritime Rescue ship, so they were accompanied to the port of Los Cristianos.
Once in the Arona port, the occupants were treated by members of the Red Cross, who verified that their health was good, as reported by the Coordinating Center for Emergencies and Security (Cecoes).
After that initial attention, another image took place that, inevitably, reminds us of what happened between 2006 and 2008, as these 83 people were temporarily housed in the old Temporary Internment Centre for Foreigners (CITE).
This is a resource located at the rear of the National Police Station in Playa de Las Américas, which was used the same way at the end of last year, and was created during the previous crisis, with Interior Minister Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba and Delegate of the Government in the Islands, the current director of Casa Africa, José Segura.
It is yet another chronicle of a drama that, for less announced, does not stop taking its toll of death and suffering. Like then, like now.