I have already talked a lot about the Canary Islands, but why not learn a little more about the migration that reaches it and that directly affects the entire European continent.
The geographical position of the islands has made it a bridge between Africa, America and Europe.
Every year the Canary Islands receive boats known as "pateras or cayucos" from the African continent. Most of the boats come from the Sahara, the journey takes approximately less than 24 hours, however, for people from other African countries, the journey begins much earlier and is longer. Before getting on the boat they have been walking through the desert for about three months, most of them show signs of malnutrition, exhaustion and if the boat is shipwrecked in the sea, people sink like stones because they no longer have the strength to swim (Aldalur, 2010 ).
Movements towards Europe are not comparable to intra-African migration. The main destination of Africans is not Europe, the United States or the Middle East, their destination is Africa itself. Although it is difficult to know the volume of these migrations, it is estimated that in Africa there are more than 40 million people on the move, while those who move outside the continent are around 18 million (Arconara, 2016).
In Europe the economic crisis was linked to oil, where the economies slowed down. But in Africa it was also linked to environmental issues, the drought made the regions impoverished. Currently there is a whole trade around migration, visa traffic in the region. The price to obtain them is very high, you have to pay many intermediaries and this favors the opening of “clandestine” routes.
According to Professor Papa Demba Fall (2010), he expresses that he does not understand how one can talk about the liberalization of capital and merchandise, but that human beings are not taken into consideration in what is known as globalization and that migration is the poor relative of globalization.
In Senegal, as in many African countries, the vast majority of people are young. At least 60% of the population does not reach the age of 25 (Casa África, 2018).
The idea that goes around is that there is nothing else to do in Africa, that there is no political hope or job prospects. People emigrate with the idea of returning. When they return home, either because it has not gone well or because the police have arrested them, they begin to have what they call “la honte”, which means shame.
Immigration is a mediatized issue in European countries. Not a day goes by without us seeing in the media images of the arrival of boats and canoes, immigrants disappeared at sea, clandestine camps, without hearing speeches from specialists analyzing the problem and explaining what should be done. But the real actors of migration, that is, immigrants, are almost never heard.
Fundamentally, the causes continue and will continue to be the same, basically these people need to emigrate to improve their lives, eat and live with dignity, provide a future for their loved ones, that is why they are willing to do anything to reach Europe, to achieve this new life; willing to pay the passers money they don't have.
They will try and try again by any means possible. His determination is authentic. “I couldn't wait in Senegal, my life is worth nothing there”, “when you are in the boat there is nothing”, says Bakari, a 20-year-old Senegalese boy I met at the Shelter in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
The North has to stop thinking about its interests and stop using Official Development Assistance as a bargaining chip to achieve its economic interests.
May all travelers find their place in the world, may they have a safe path and may they find peace, even if it is an imperfect peace.
ALDALUR, M (2010). Clandestinos ¿Qué hay detrás de la migración ilegal? Editorial B,S.A.
ARCONADA, P (2016). Inmigración y Urbanización: las megaciudades africanas: El orden urbano en el siglo XXI. Intentando comprender como funcionan las ciudades.
CASA ÁFRICA (2018) Informe Couyuntura abril 2018 Senegal. Recuperado www.casafrica.es
COMISIÓN ESPAÑOLA DE AYUDA AL REFUGIADO - CEAR (2017). En tierra de Nadie ¿Qué está pasando en las fronteras? Recuperado http://entierradenadie.org/ (a)