Stories written by Inés Benítez
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Spain to Reform, But Not Shut Down, Immigrant Detention Centres

The Spanish government has decided to reform the country’s Immigrant Detention Centres (CIEs) in response to a wave of criticism of the way they are run, following the death of two migrants. But the announcement has not toned down the campaign for closure of what many regard as prisons.

Latin American Migrants Flee Crisis in Spain

"What on earth is happening to Spain?" asks Hernán Bocchio, a 43-year-old Argentine architect with three children who has been unemployed for four years and is considering a job offer from Brazil.

SPAIN: Conservative Government’s Reforms Draw Fire

In its less than two months in office, Spain’s new conservative government has begun to introduce sweeping educational and reproductive health reforms, prompting protests from the opposition and from civil society groups, which see them as a throwback to an earlier era.

SPAIN: Self-Financed Communities “A Tool for Building Trust”

On the first Sunday of every month, Abdoulaye Fall, from Senegal, meets a group of people in Barcelona, to contribute money to a common fund or to take out a loan. This is one of 60 self-financed communities in Spain, an alternative to traditional banking systems that is having a powerful social effect.

The traditional insurance industry is not very innovative, says Isabel Cruz. Credit: Inés Benítez/IPS

The Poor Need Insurance Too

Poor families are well aware of the devastating effects of unforeseen expenses on their lives. Microinsurance, a recent microfinance tool, has the potential to limit their vulnerability and combat poverty, experts say.

One of many women in Kenya who are self-employed thanks to microloans from the Women

DEVELOPMENT: Showcasing Solidarity

How does a freezer purchased with a microloan change the life of a poor woman in Senegal? What are the Study Solidarity Olympics? How many lives can an ambulance equipped to attend births save in Ethiopia?

The wall of a former barracks serving as an Immigrant Detention Centre in Málaga. Credit: Inés Benítez/IPS

SPAIN: Detained Immigrants “Are Treated Like Criminals”

"It was very tough, like being in prison," says 29-year-old Algerian immigrant Sid Hamed Bouziane, in slow Spanish, about his 28-day stay at the Immigrant Detention Centre, or CIE, in the southern Spanish city of Málaga.

"Indignados" protest home repossessions in Málaga.  Credit: Inés Acosta/IPS

SPAIN: ‘Indignant’ Protests Heat Up Election Campaign

"Ex dockyard worker, now a beggar" reads the sign displayed by a man in a spotless shirt who is panhandling near a square in this southern Spanish city where dozens of demonstrators are chanting: "The bank always wins and I'm against this!" and "What's going on? We have no homes!"

"Indignados" in Málaga protest cuts in health and education.  Credit: Inés Benítez/IPS

SPAIN: Protest Movement Chalks Up Victories

"I want to thank the 15-M. I will not forget them," Algerian immigrant Sid Hamed Bouziane, whose deportation order was revoked after a group of activists from this burgeoning Spanish protest movement held an 11-day demonstration on his behalf, told IPS.

Claudia Consamollo, 16, washes the clothes of the youngest members of the community with recycled soap.  Credit: Milagros Salazar/IPS

Spanish NGO Recycles Used Oil into Solidarity with Peru

Tons of artisanal soaps made from recycled olive oil are regularly shipped from Spain to Peru, where their sale and use helps finance local development and education for children in poor communities.

SPAIN: Protest Movement Spreads to Neighbourhoods, Small Towns

The May 15 Movement (15-M) which sprang up as huge rallies in public squares in Spain's largest cities to protest against the political, economic and social system, is multiplying as assemblies in local neighbourhoods in provincial capitals and other municipalities.

Developing countries must focus on clean energy, says Christiana Figueres. Credit: Inés Benítez/IPS

CLIMATE CHANGE: The Developing South Holds the Key

Developing countries, which have huge potential for growth and are home to the majority of the world's people still living without electricity, will play a fundamental role in combating climate change, according to some experts.

Tiny, immature fish.  Credit: Courtesy of Málaga Classroom of the Sea

Culinary Traditions Exhausting Spain’s Fisheries

"We have little boquerón (a type of anchovy), little jurel (scad), little salmon," recites a server at a restaurant on the coast in Málaga, the southern Spanish city known for its "small fried fish."

Guatemalan coffee growers in full harvest. - Courtesy of Anacafé

The Awakening of a Better Coffee

A project in two languages, Café and Caffé, has built a bridge between the most demanding Italian consumers and the poorest of Guatemala's coffee growers.

Women harvesting basil leaves. - Emilio Manjón

Fair Trade Begins to Bear Fruit

Fair trade is fast becoming an option for thousands of poor farmers in Guatemala, with thousands leaving behind the distortions of the international market.

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