Drama and confusion
A Spanish soldier in front of a group of Moroccans trying to enter Ceuta through the sea.JON NAZCA / Reuters

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I was surprised by the dramatic tone that President Sánchez has used when responding to Pablo Casado, in parliament, about the new episode of the eternal conflict with Morocco. It is not worth answering emphatically that Spain will defend by all means the sovereignty of Ceuta and Melilla. The 8,000 immigrants who have entered the beach of El Tarajal are not mercenaries of the King of Morocco to occupy the Spanish squares. They are people who are fleeing their country in search of a better life and who have taken advantage of the decision of the Moroccan authorities to open the border fences.

I understand that Sánchez, caught in the polarization loop that has left the PSOE in Madrid touched, is now looking for a reason to appeal to national unity. And I also understand that you are trying to justify a measure that is difficult to explain: sending the army to the beaches of Ceuta. But what is not acceptable is playing confuse between two different facts, even if they are related: the neighborhood conflict and the immigration issue.

The relationship between Spain and Morocco is burdened by a colonial past of which there are still important traces: Ceuta and Melilla, the only two European territories left in Africa, and the status of Western Sahara. If we add to this the inevitable friction between neighbors, it is not surprising that moments of tension appear cyclically, with which Morocco intends to put pressure not only on Spain but also on Europe based on its interests. As has happened in previous moments of tension, this episode will pass and the tense calm will return until the next time the Alawite monarchy sees an opportunity to make its power and strength known.

Of course, migratory movements towards Europe have become a strategic instrument to profit from the European panic. And the Union’s policy, by subrogating the control of immigrant arrivals to neighboring countries, favors the use of people as a factor of pressure, while criminalizing the immigrant.

Therefore, let us distinguish: today, in Ceuta there is a political conflict and a problem of massive arrival of immigrants. And you can’t play games to justify potential excesses. The political problem demands permanent (and discreet) action without waiting for each outburst. And it is there where the power and competence of a State is demonstrated. The migratory problem requires attention to the people that Europe has been giving up for a long time. The appeal to the patriotic union in front of Morocco is part of the manual of distraction of the personnel that the governors use. But here there is no war. There is a political conflict between states that can only be resolved with diplomatic efficiency. The real drama is a humanitarian crisis that we see every day in other parts of Spain and Europe and we have dangerously normalized.

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