- Crisis.Conte resigns and leads Italy to an uncertain future
- Spain.Òscar Camps, founder of the NGO Open Arms: "Spain has left us out of play"
- Immigration.The Italian Minister of Transport offers to escort the 'Open Arms' to a Spanish port
Matteo Salvini, the Italian Interior Minister, took office on June 1 last year. Three days later he traveled to Pozzalo, in Sicily, zone zero of the immigrant landings in Italy, to turn the fight against immigration into the battering of his Government . He called members of the rescue NGOs "traffickers" and said "the invasion" had to be stopped. He did not have to wait too long to put his words into practice: five days later, the Aquarius, a ship of the NGO Doctors Without Borders, was waiting for a port in Italy with 630 immigrants on board, but had to sail to Valencia.
It was the first vessel blocked by Salvini, which re-closed its ports up to 22 times more to 14 vessels to prevent some 3,000 people from arriving in Europe, regardless of being rescued by NGOs, military, freighters, fishermen and whether or not they carried Italian flag The minister of the League has provoked with his decision more than 175 days of absurd limbo at sea to prop up a xenophobic speech and an electoral campaign. This is the summary of Matteo Salvini's last 14 months of political blockade.
Since Aquarius, the Interior Minister has launched a campaign against NGOs, criminalizing them and launching justice against them , as happened when seizing the Open Arms in Sicily in 2018 or arresting Sea Watch 3 captain, Carola Rackete, who It was released shortly after. Salvini has not yet presented any evidence of that alleged alliance between traffickers and rescuers , but has not let the campaign act pass through without mentioning that narrative. The Interior Minister has blocked the Aquarius (Doctors Without Borders), Lifeline, Open Arms, Mare Jonio (Mediterranea Saving Humans), Sea Watch 3, Alan Kurdi (Sea eye) and Ocean Viking (MSF and SOS Mediterranée).
The Minister of the League has also had no point with the military ships that have been forced to rescue people at sea. It started with nothing less than a US Navy ship based in Naples, the USS Trenton , which on June 12, 2018 encountered a vessel with problems in international waters and rescued, as the laws of the sea, 41 immigrants alive, but observed in the water another 12 lifeless bodies. They asked to enter an Italian port, but received no response. Since they had no means to serve these people on board, they were transferred to the Sea Watch 3 ship , from the NGO of the same name, which Salvini held six days until they could disembark. Weeks later, two Frontex patrol cars, the European border surveillance agency, rescued 450 immigrants and did not have it easy either.
Although the most significant case of blockade is that of Diciotti, an Italian navy ship denied by its own Interior Minister for six days for rescuing 177 people . Only the intervention of the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, Danilo Toninelli, of the 5 Star Movement, managed to get the ship to dock in Sicily, facing the Minister of the Interior. "The brave men of the Coast Guard have done their duty saving human lives," he said.
The small fishing boat of Santa Pola Our lady of Loreto found, when she was fishing off the Libyan coast, with a fortune vessel with 12 immigrants on board trying to flee from a Libyan patrol car. There began a long odyssey of many nautical, temporary miles, orders to return them to Libya, breaches by the captain , Pascual Durá, an emergency evacuation, Italian and Maltese blockade, attempt to reach Spain without permission from the Government of Pedro Sánchez and Finally, after 10 days dying in the middle of the sea, the immigrants - nine adult men and two minors - were taken in a boat of the Maltese Coast Guard and then disembarked at the port of Haywharf, in Valletta, to be transferred by plane to Spain.
Sarost 5 was another victim of the Minister of the League . This Tunisian flag tugboat working for the Shell oil company picked up 40 immigrants from the sea off the coast of Libya, including two pregnant women, two and five months old. They tried to land them in Lampedusa and Malta, but those ports were blocked. Finally, and after 17 days of crossing to nowhere, they were landed in the owner's country, Tunisia , who was also reluctant to give his permission.
Many freighters and oil tankers that cross the international waters near Libya turn off their transponder (device that indicates their position on the radar) so as not to have to go to emergency calls. It is a crime, but avoids great losses to the shipowners of these vessels. The Maridive 601 oil tanker did not do so this summer, with 75 immigrants rescued on board, 32 of them minors, who suffered the political blockade of Salvini and the diplomatic tug of war. The captain refused to transfer them to any port that was not European , but, finally, before the exhaustion of the crew and the pressures of the company, they reached an agreement with the Tunisian government to disembark them in Zarzis, where the consul of Bangladesh, Country of origin of the vast majority of them, took care of immigrants.
Alexander Maersk, a 155-meter-long monster capable of transporting 17,000 tons in containers , rescued 113 immigrants on their journey through international waters near Sicily. The Salvini government refused to take care of them, which caused the wrath of Inger Støjberg, Immigration Minister of Denmark, the owner's country, Maersk: "Salvini's position is unsustainable," he said. Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen threatened to open a major diplomatic crisis and urged Italy to comply with international asylum and rescue treaties . Finally, the Italian Executive allowed these immigrants to disembark in Pozzalo, precisely where Salvini launched his promise to close the ports only three days after taking office as Interior Minister.
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- Matteo Salvini
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SpainÒscar Camps, founder of the NGO Open Arms: "Spain has left us out of play"
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