Hundreds of migrants enter Spain from Morocco

Migrants sit on the ground after storming a fence to enter the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, Spain. (AP Photo/Jesus Moron)
Updated 17 February 2017
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Hundreds of migrants enter Spain from Morocco

MADRID: Hundreds of migrants stormed the border between Morocco and Spain at Ceuta on Friday, days after Morocco warned the EU of fresh migrant trouble following a row over a trade deal.
The Spanish civil guard — or paramilitary police — told AFP that “several hundred” migrants had stormed the border fence into the Spanish North African territory and that some had been injured.
Three officers were hurt while trying to keep the migrants back, a civil guard spoeksman said.
Footage shot by the local Faro de Ceuta television showed dozens of euphoric migrants wandering the streets of the seaside enclave, ecstatic to have finally crossed into a European Union state.
“I love you Mamma, long live Spain,” shouted one young African draped in a blue EU flag. “Libertad, libertad” (freedom), shouted another.
Ceuta and Melilla, also a Spanish territory in North Africa, have the EU’s only land borders with Africa, so are entry points for migrants who either climbing the border fence, swim along the coast or hide in vehicles.
Emergency services said on Twitter that 400 people were receiving assistance from the Spanish Red Cross.


The massive entry, one of the biggest since the border barrier was reinforced in 2005, comes amid a dispute between Morocco and the EU over the interpretation of a free trade farm and fishing deal.
In a late 2016 ruling, an EU court said the deal did not apply to the Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony controlled by Rabat where the Polisario Front is fighting for independence.
The court said this was because the status of the disputed territory remained unclear according to the international community.
The 28-nation bloc did not recognize it as part of Morocco.
The ruling opened the way for the Polisario Front and its supporters to contest trade in products from the Western Sahara between Morocco and the 28 EU states.
The decision angered Morocco, which in a warning on February 7 suggested it could lead to “a new flow of migration” toward Europe and place the continent “at risk.”
The last such massive attempt took place on New Year’s Day when more than 1,000 migrants tried to jump a high double fence between Morocco and Ceuta in a violent assault that saw one officer lose an eye.
The enclave has been ringed by a double wire fence that is eight kilometers (five miles) long. The six-meter (20-foot) high fence also has rolls of barbed wire.


Colombia’s new president Ivan Duque is an anti-FARC hard-liner

Updated 12 min 29 sec ago
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Colombia’s new president Ivan Duque is an anti-FARC hard-liner

  • Ivan Duque has vowed to make “structural changes” to the 2016 agreement, which led to the group’s disarmament and conversion into a political party
  • Duque has railed against the Colombian left, voicing fears that it would drag the country into the same economic quagmire in which neighboring Venezuela is mired

BOGOTA: Ivan Duque’s election victory in Colombia makes him the youngest president in his country’s modern history, and gives him a strong mandate to overhaul the government’s fragile peace deal with the former rebel group FARC.
He campaigned on a ticket to rewrite the peace deal signed with the FARC by outgoing center-right president Juan Manuel Santos. His vanquished leftist opponent, Gustavo Petro, supports the deal.
A lawyer with a degree in economics, Duque represents many Colombian voters who were outraged by concessions given to the former rebels, including reduced sentences for those who confessed to their crimes.
He has vowed to make “structural changes” to the 2016 agreement, which led to the group’s disarmament and conversion into a political party.
“What we Colombians want is that those who have committed crimes against humanity be punished by proportional penalties... so that there is no impunity,” Duque told AFP during the campaign.
He will succeed Santos on August 7, a few days after his 42nd birthday.
Latin America’s longest-running conflict left more than 260,000 people dead, nearly 83,000 missing and some 7.4 million forced from their homes.

Duque has railed against the Colombian left, voicing fears that it would drag the country into the same economic quagmire in which neighboring Venezuela is mired.
The left in turn accuses him of being a puppet of Alvaro Uribe, the former two-term president who took a hard line against the left when he was last in power eight years ago.
“Nobody knows if he has his own criteria or if he will obey orders,” Fabian Acuna, a political analyst at Cali’s Javeriana University, said of Duque.
Although a newcomer to politics — he has been a senator since 2014 — politics is in his blood.
Born in Bogota on August 1, 1976, his father was a liberal politician.
But it was Santos, the outgoing president, who took Duque under his wing in the 1990s as a financial adviser. Later, he worked for 13 years for the Washington-based Inter-American Development Bank.
Today, Duque finds himself in opposition to Santos over the peace deal.
“He is very dynamic when it comes to public relations, very clever,” said a former co-worker at the IDB.
While working in the United States, Duque met Uribe, who persuaded him to run for the Senate.
“Ivan is very intelligent and I’m sure he has a bright future ahead of him,” wrote Uribe in his 2012 book “No Lost Causes.”
But for Roy Barreras, a senator from Santos’s party, “a president must have experience, autonomy, political capacity — all missing with Ivan, who is, as everyone admits, a good little guy.”
A father of three, Duque used to play bass in a rock band, but his relaxed image contrasts sharply with his conservative ideals — he is a staunch opponent of gay marriage, euthanasia and the decriminalization of drugs.
He has strong support from the far-right as well as an increasingly influential evangelical Christian bloc.