Tag: migration

Latest Gran Canaria News, Views & Sunshine

Vox Enters Canarian Politics, Stage Right: Anti-Migrant, Anti-Feminist, Anti-Green, Anti-Autonomy, Anti-LGBT, Anti-Multiculturalism, Pro-Franco politics find a foothold on The Canary Islands

The Canary Islands were unable to avoid the rise of the far right on Sunday, unlike in 2019, writes Natalia G. Vargas in Canarias Ahora. Vox, which previously had no representation on the islands, managed to make its presence felt in several municipalities and councils this May 28. They also secured seats in the Canary Islands’ regional parliament, securing four deputies. “Defending what is ours, our own, and fighting against insecurity” were the slogans that underpinned Vox’s campaign in The Canary Islands, along with “family, employment, and freedom.” This rhetoric, coupled with an electoral program that was repeated across all local elections in Spain, proved sufficient. Dozens of cities and towns on the islands welcomed their first far right candidates of the modern democratic era into Canarian politics, with urban areas serving as their main strongholds.

La Alcaldesa Bueno Secures Incredible Majority in Mogán

Mogán, May 29, 2023 – The often controversial incumbent, O Bueno, La Alcaldesa, has achieved an unprecedented and resounding victory once more in Mogán. The candidate who switched her party’s name, for these elections, to “Juntos por Mogán”, a local ally of the regionalist conservatives “Coalición Canaria” (CC), will once again assume the role of mayor. Her party has clinched a rather noteworthy 17 out of the 21 seats in the Municipal Council of this popular tourism destination located on the sunny southwest of Gran Canaria.

The Canary Guide Día de Canarias #WeekendTips 26-28 May 2023

What an interesting last weekend of May ahead. Weather predictions are showing some rain showers are likely across Gran Canaria. This extended #WeekendTips covers up to Tuesday, when all things Canarian are celebrated on the Día de Canarias. There’ll be some gorgeous Patron Saints’ festivities happening in San Fernando de Maspalomas as well as in Valleseco.

Fun Fact:
Valleseco literally means “dry valley” in Spanish, but is actually one of the wettest municipalities Gran Canaria. Nestling between the famous fresh water sources of Firgas & Teror, half way up the island’s mountainous northern slopes, this area is well known for its apple growers, cider and its weekly market

Six weeks since the unexplained disappearance of Anna-Karin on Gran Canaria

The authorities on Gran Canaria have been engaged in a rigorous search for Swedish tourist Anna-Karin Bengtsson, who went missing in the south of Gran Canaria around April 9. Her unexplained disappearance has caused her family much distress, with no clues to her whereabouts having emerged in the six weeks since they first realised her phone was no longer functioning.


Spain’s Ministry of Migration Cautiously Trumpet “Canary Islands Plan” To Accommodate Migrants In Camps For Processing

Spain’s Ministry for Inclusion, Social Security and Migrations have announced the opening of a warehouse, ceded temporarily by Bankia to the central government, in the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria industrial estate of El Sebadal, next week, offering 500 places to accommodate migrant arrivals, to be managed by the Fundación Cruz Blanca. Several camps were announced in November, within the framework of what is known as the Canary Islands Plan, which is to be able to offer 7,000 bed spaces to accommodate migrant arrivals awaiting processing, on three islands: Gran Canaria (three camps), Tenerife (with two) and Fuerteventura (one), following the arrival of more than 23,000 individuals via the Atlantic Canary Route, throughout 2020.

This Friday a second camp for migrants on Tenerife has begun to operate, at the old Las Canteras military barracks, in La Laguna, providing 1,642 places, and managed by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). The use of the space has been unblocked following months of wrangling with the City Council of La Laguna, which ordered a stoppage of the works because “they did not comply with urban law.” These obstacles have now been overcome.
The Canarias Plan camps and places (*expandable places in Las Raíces). Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration
The Migration Ministry have confirmed that the provision of these places now allows for the freeing up other accommodation facilities, such as hotels, “which temporarily served as an emergency reception resource.” And, “as the schedule is fulfilled, for referrals to all resources already operational within the Canary Islands Plan” so they will proceed “to the definitive closure of these temporary sites.”
In a statement, the Migrations ministry explained that up until February 15, 761 workers (437 direct care workers and 323 basic and auxiliary services employees) have been hired to manage the camps, a figure that will increase with the opening of the new sites. Specifically, they indicate that, on Tenerife, the public company Tragsa has hired 250 people and has required the services of a total of 65 companies to carry out the works at the Las Raices and Las Canteras sites.
On Tenerife, the Las Raíces macrocamp, 1,000m above sea level, began to receive migrants on February 5, when a hundred people were transferred, during a snow alert, when temperatures had dropped to just 8ºC. This led to initial refusals to enter. Since then, however, more than 600 people are now staying at this space with each of the tents sleeping at least a dozen people. There is a general lack of information about their future and the conditions at some of the reception centres have led migrants to organise protests outside this old army barracks.
Demonstrations have also taken place at a camp located in the old León school, in the capital of Gran Canaria, in a neighbourhood known as El Lasso, where migrants at one point held up banners to protest against the de facto blockade, and their fear of deportation. At the old Canarias 50 Regiment’s barracks, in the original neighbourhood of La Isleta, in the capital, heavy rains at one point caused sewage to flow right through accommodations and some of the people inside threatened to start a hunger strike. There have also been transfers to the El Matorral camp, on Fuerteventura, a space located on a plot of the old CIE Foreigners Internment Centre, which has capacity for a further 700 people.
The Ministry say they have ensured that all operations have been overseen by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), “which has supervised strict compliance with international reception standards.” In addition, in November they provided “a unit dedicated exclusively to migration coordination on the islands, in order to carry out continuous monitoring.”
During this last week of February, the General Director for Inclusion and Humanitarian Attention, María Teresa Pacheco, visited Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Fuerteventura, and held meetings with Spain’s Government delegate in the Canary Islands, Anselmo Pestana, with local entities, NGO managers of resources and neighbourhood associations.


The Canary News

At least 8 dead after migrant boat capsizes just off Lanzarote coast in the night

Emergency services have today recovered four more bodies from the water after a boat carrying a group of at least 35 people capsized last night just off the coast of La Condesa, on the north of Lanzarote, very close to the shore, bringing the total to 8 dead, all male.

The increased death toll was announced by the manager of the Lanzarote Emergency Consortium, Enrique Espinosa, who said that emergency services personnel were bringing the dead to shore.
At least 35 migrants were reported to be traveling on the open boat, according to Maritime Rescue sources, of whom 28 were rescued last night, with one of those sent for treatment to a local health centre.
The event occurred around 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday evening when the dinghy collided with the breakwater of the Órzola pier, explained Espinosa. It just so happened that two Asociación de Voluntarios en Emergencias y Rescate de Lanzarote Emerlan boats were transporting 30 migrants from La Graciosa, where they landed yesterday afternoon, headed to Lanzarote and were close to where the Órzola incident occurred “so they could act immediately” Espinosa added.
Emergency personnel in Órzola heard screams behind the jetty of the pier, which alerted them to the arrival of the boat, warning “They don’t know how to swim”.


Up to 800 migrants will be transferred to military camp in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

The Spanish Army have constructed a transit camp at their old Barranco Seco facility, ready to start receiving migrants currently crowded onto the harbour pier in the port of Arguineguín. The army’s Twitter account was used to announce that the Canary Islands XVI Brigade has erected 23 tents (nine more than those available in Arguineguín) at the facilities assigned to the Ministry of the Interior, to which, once completed a total of up to 800 migrants will be transferred and accommodated and so help put an end to the deplorable situation that has continued for the several months on the south of the island.

La Brigada ‘Canarias’ XVI del @MCANA_ET monta un campamento de 200 plazas con 23 tiendas en el antiguo polvorín de ‘Barranco Seco’, en Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.Instalaciones transferidas al Ministerio del Interior @interiorgob . pic.twitter.com/ZgLwAw0mxm
— @EjercitoTierra ?? (@EjercitoTierra) November 11, 2020

When, exactly, migrants will be transferred is still not yet known, with the first tents, containing 200 berths, having been completed today.Earlier this summer, the Spanish Red Cross had tried to set up an emergency camp, in collaboration with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), with tents and prefabricated modules to accommodate up to a thousand people, on land granted by the Spanish State Port Authority, in Arinaga, on the south east coast of Gran Canaria.  The idea, then, was to anticipate a long expected rebound in migrant arrivals, which they had repeatedly warned could start to reach record numbers by the end of summer 202 and the first weeks of autumn, when Atlantic weather conditions in this area generally favour navigation in small boats.
However, weeks later they had to dismantle the reception camp due to the refusal of the Agüimes Town Hall, who would not give the necessary permits, which caused the UNHCR to remove the facilities and left the Red Cross to erect a makeshift camp at the Arguineguín dockside, which is the main Maritime Rescue landings base for the south of the island, and where several search and rescue vessels are maintained.
That camp opened on August 20, theoretically for a maximum capacity of about 400 people at a time, but has been repeatedly overwhelmed by the much higher than expected flow of migrants, reaching up to 1,400 people a day at times, to which Gran Canaria’s humanitarian reception network could not respond quickly enough, even after they expanded their available resources by placing migrants into tourist resort accommodation, that had been left empty due to the current health crisis.
At times more than 2,000 people have been crowded onto the Arguineguín port, without sufficient tents available for everyone, in all cases forced to sleep on the ground, their only protection from the elements a blanket, and in some cases having had to remain there up to two weeks at a time, when legally conditions such as these should not exceed 72 hours.  The effort has been further complicated by needing to test every arrival for coronavirus, and wait at least 2 days for the results, while maintaining each group of arrivals separately from each other.
Spain’s Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, announced during his visit to the island, last Friday, that “in a few weeks” the Arguineguín camp would be closed and facilities provided by the Ministry of Defense would take over the reception protocols for new arrivals.

Editor’s Comment:
About bloody time.
That it has taken this long to confirm that migrants will be transferred from the Arguineguín port is pretty inexcusable. Particularly as it has allowed far-right anti-immigration rhetoric to publicly rear its ugly head on the south of the island, using a humanitarian crisis to prey on the fears and frustrations of a population already suffering from profound poverty, questionable leadership and the economic effects of the crisis generated in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic response. Fascist ideologies thrive when falsely pitting one set of poor people against another, as has been seen time and time again.
By claiming concern over the treatment of migrant arrivals, local politicians too have insidiously sought to distract public attention from serious allegations levied against them, following multiple arrests in an ongoing electoral fraud investigation, and shielded them from scrutiny after the local town hall’s highly controversial decision to close the only food bank distribution point in the area.
With luck, the flow of migrants will be reduced over coming weeks as the weather becomes less favourable and the proper processing of those arriving on the islands can continue in an orderly manner, without racists pretending to be realists to further their own interests, and allow EU and Spanish governments to try to work more closely with migration experts and African countries from which many of these people try to escape in an effort to reduce the causes of these migratory flows which have lead more than 15,000 people to risk their lives in open boats to come here. We can hope too that proactive policies may start to reduce, too, the estimated thousand or more people who have died horribly in the attempt already so far this year.
More than 7,000 migrants have reportedly been transferred to mainland spain, into facilities set up by the Ministry of Migration, with those currently being temporarily accommodated in tourist resorts expected to be moved on too in coming weeks.
Arguineguín, in Gran Canaria’s southern tourist municipality of Mogán, can once again begin to return to the multitude of social issues that have been affecting the area, both before and since the pandemic wrought havoc on the local economy and poorest members of society.


The Canary News