The ironic news of the day here is that a boatload of illegal migrants returned to Morocco from Spain yesterday. The dream of most young Moroccan is to get out of this country where even a good education offers no assurance of obtaining a job. Without connections or baksheesh (graft) even a top diploma is often of little value in gaining employment. So with Morocco’s double coastline, both Mediterranean and Atlantic, the game is to get to Europe.
But Spain is now in lockdown trying to suppress one of the world’s worst outbreaks of the coronavirus. There are few jobs for Moroccans there and Spain is cracking down on the drugs trade, a key earner for Moroccans at home and in Spain.
So a boatload of Moroccans paid approximately 6,000 euros each to return home the same way they had left: via an overloaded inflatable boat. According to the the newspaper Al Ahdath Al Maghribian, the boat became stranded in high waves off the north Atlantic coast of Morocco. They were eventually rescued by a local man who usually organizes illegal boats to take them the other way. Now police are trying to find the unhappy returnees to ensure that they don’t spread coronavirus from Spain in Morocco. They found one man hiding in a clay bread oven and are still searching in nearby villages.