Thousands of people in Spain have organised to protest the introduction of “fracking” – a controversial technique that involves pumping water, chemicals and sand at high pressure into shale rock to release gas and oil.
“They mistreat you, they don’t respect you. I’ve seen beatings, suffering, and you can’t defend yourself. When you’re locked in there it’s as if you were in another world,” Salif Sy, a Senegalese man who in 2011 spent eight days in an immigrant detention centre (CIE) in Madrid, told IPS.
“I would get asbestos in my mouth, spit it out and carry on working,” said 52-year-old Francisco Padilla. Exposure to this deadly mineral fibre over most of his working life has resulted in cancer and the removal of his left lung, the lung lining and part of his diaphragm.
“I would like to have a big house, and I wish my family didn’t have to go out and ask for food or clothes,” Encarni, who just turned 12, tells IPS in the small apartment she shares with five other family members in a poor neighbourhood in the southern Spanish city of Málaga.
“It’s easy to end up on the street. It’s not because you led a bad life; you lose your job and you can’t afford to pay rent,” says David Cerezo while he waits for lunch to be served by a humanitarian organisation in this city in southern Spain.
José María Gómez squats and pulls up a bunch of carrots from the soil as well as a few leeks. This farmer from southern Spain believes organic farming is more than just not using pesticides and other chemicals – it’s a way of life, he says, which requires creativity and respect for nature.
It’s two in the afternoon, and María stirs tomato sauce into a huge pot of pasta. School is out for the summer in Spain, but the lunchroom in this public school in the southern city of Málaga is still open, serving meals to more than 100 children from poor families.
Little Samir covers his face with his hands as he plays under the orange tree in the centre of the inner courtyard of the Spanish Refugee Aid Commission (CEAR) centre in the southern city of Malaga. He is four years old and has spent nearly a year in Spain, where he arrived with his parents, fleeing the war in Syria.
Spain is experiencing a resurgence of hemp, one of the species of cannabis with the lowest THC content, which has been used for millennia to produce textile, medicinal and food products.
Until recently it was inconceivable for small groups of organised citizens in fully electrified industrialised countries like Spain to generate their own power from clean sources of energy, challenging the prevailing energy model.
“I don’t want them to grow up with the notion that they’re poor,” says Catalina González, referring to her two young sons. The family has been living in an apartment rent-free since December in exchange for fixing it up, in the southern Spanish city of Málaga.
“Who will speak for them now? Who will tell their stories to their families in Cameroon or Ivory Coast?” asked Edmund Okeke, a Nigerian, about the 15 migrants who died while trying to swim to the shore of the Spanish city of Ceuta from Morocco.
The pursuit of universal jurisdiction in Spain is drawing to a close because of a bill that will entail the dismissal of over a dozen criminal investigations in the country’s courts and will make it very difficult to open new cases of crimes against humanity.
Volunteers are hard at work in an industrial warehouse in the Spanish city of Malaga, organising thousands of kilos of rice, sugar, lentils and oil to be shipped this February to Saharawi refugee camps in Tindouf, in the west of Algeria.
Before sunrise, a Moroccan woman waits her turn at the pedestrian border control separating her country from the Spanish city of Melilla. Hours later she crosses over, takes up an 80-kilo bundle of merchandise and carries it back to her country, for a payment of less than six dollars.