Spain solves Ceuta crisis without Vox

Analysis: Human values or empty rhetoric? Morocco charged on Monday but Spain has fought Rabat off with dignity, and without being fooled into a xenophobic or nationalistic military overreaction.
By Matthew Bennett
May 20, 2021, 2:20 pm

Faced with the chaos and uncertainty of the past two days, calm has returned to Tarajal beach in Ceuta, in Spanish North Africa. The latest official number of people sent straight back to Morocco is up to 5,600 and the number of children to somehow be managed responsibly is 1,500. Several images show Civil Guard officers, Army soldiers or Red Cross volunteers treating those who crossed in a humanitarian manner and even with care and affection. A baby being rescued, a baby being cuddled, adults being hugged and soldiers chanting with the children. El Faro de Ceuta reports many of the minors were deceived with irresponsible promises of seeing Ronaldo play in Ceuta and now their parents are desparately looking for them by calling the newspaper.

Weeks of bureaucratic negotiations lie ahead, along with all the media debates and domestic political disagreements about the distribution of responsibilities and how national diplomacy and borders could have failed in such a way that such a large human avalanche from Morocco came about the other day but it is true that the Sánchez government has more or less solved the problem in a short time and in a firm and peaceful manner. For now, Rabat has not upped the ante and even has internal political problems of its own as it now has to manage the anger of the people who were deceived with promises of a sudden move to a European paradise.

It is also true that this government of Spain has solved the problem (which it had helped to create) without having had to count on the fervent nationalist vision that Vox offers to voters. The radical "us versus them" rhetoric sold by Mr. Abascal, who arrived in Ceuta in the end when the beach was already empty, has not been necessary nor has it contributed anything to the solution of the crisis. The few hours that he was in the North African city did gave him time to record some nice footage for his party's promotional video that frames him as the protagonist who saved the Kingdom.

Morocco charged on Monday but Spain has fought Rabat off with dignity, and without being fooled into a xenophobic or nationalistic military overreaction. Those who remember the dire images that shot around the world on the morning of October 1, 2017, during the separatist crisis in Catalonia, will appreciate the positive effect that the images of this week's hugs and baby rescues in Ceuta will have. Not because anybody cynically went out to stage those images but because the real Spaniards in charge of responding to the immediate crisis on the ground genuinely acted in accordance with those human values ​​when it was suddenly time to choose a path in life.

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