Spain and Morocco, a crossroads with a long history of colonialism and migration

Spain and Morocco, a crossroads with a long history of colonialism and migration

Spain and Morocco met only once in a World Cup. It was in Russia 2018 and they tied 2-2.

The round of 16 match that The teams from Spain and Morocco will play this Tuesday It has extra-soccer seasoning the tense diplomatic relationship between the two nationswith a legendary migratory crisis and the Hispanic role in the dispute of the African country with its neighbor Algeria over the Western Sahara region.

The first confrontation between both teams was in 1961, in Casablancain a qualifying match for the World Cup in Chile, in which Spain won 1-0.

But the extra-soccer history between the two nations, more traumatic, dates back to the mid-19th century, with successive wars of independence against colonialism shared by Spain and France, and reaches a slightly less tense present.

The last episode of the diplomatic and migratory crisis between Morocco and Spain occurred in 2021as a result of the stay in a hospital in Logroño of Brahim Gali, general secretary of the Polisario Front and president of the Sahauri Arab Democratic Republic, which is not recognized by the nations of North Africa.

Western Sahara, about 266,000 square kilometers Located in North Africa, at the western end of the Sahara desert and on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, it is a territory considered non-autonomous by the UN and is not recognized by some 80 countries, for which the dispute continues.

Migrants who want to reach Europe through Ceuta and Melilla ports of Spain in African territory
Migrants who want to reach Europe through Ceuta and Melilla, ports of Spain in African territory.

Currently a large part of that territory is under the control of Morocco. Spain was its administering (or colonial) power until November 1975, immediately after the death of the dictator Francisco Franco, date on which it ceded the territory to Morocco and Mauritania, in a strange agreement.

Subsequently Mauritania withdrew, Morocco expanding the area under its control, for which its Government considers that all of Western Sahara is under its sovereignty.

But, in reality, the eastern strip of that territory is in the hands of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguía el-Hamra and Río de Oro (Polisario Front), Saharawi independence movement which, since its creation in 1973, has been fighting for the independence and, in any case, for the self-determination process of Western Sahara.

The agreement signed almost 50 years ago by the Government of Spain for the cession of Western Sahara has not been accepted by the international community, for not being legal from that perspective. The administration of Western Sahara cannot be passed from one country to another. It is not a private farm.

In any case, and despite the fact that the tripartite agreement on Western Sahara is not legal from an international perspective, On February 26, 1976, the Government of Spain informed the UN that it was ending its presence there.I and that he considered himself without any responsibility for what happened there. And so he has habitually behaved.

Parallel to this situation, the Spanish enclaves in Ceuta and Melilla, both within the perimeter of Morocco, are some of the tragic postcards of African immigration to Europe, although not the only ones.

Thousands of newspaper articles, books and films, documentaries and fiction, record the harsh reality that surrounds those border posts, in which hundreds of thousands of desperate they seek to reach Europe, a kind of promised land, which discriminates against and marginalizes thembut that keeps them away from famine, pestilence and misery.

Since the 1970s, the Government of Morocco has claimed sovereignty over both Spanish cities, but the Government of Spain never established negotiations of any kind, since considers Ceuta, Melilla and the plazas part of the Spanish national territory.

This Tuesday only one football game is played, one more episode of a show so profitable that it overcomes political, religious and moral barriers, among others, but behind it there is a long history.

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