The arrival of thousands of immigrants to Ceuta in the last hours due to the permissiveness of the Moroccan authorities has brought to the memory of the Green March, which happened 45 years ago.
Although both events are different, yes that share some similarities: the tension between Spain and Morocco, the strategic nature of the decision by the Moroccan monarch, the mobilization of thousands of peaceful civilians and the use of a large number of minors to avoid reprisals. To remember this episode in history you have to travel until November 1975.
Arrival of hundreds of people to the coasts of Ceuta (EFE)
Then Spain was experiencing a very turbulent situation. Franco was dying (he would end up dying on November 20) and the country was preparing to initiate a transition after almost 40 years of dictatorship.
Meanwhile in Western Sahara, the Spanish authorities had to call a self-determination referendum in the territory that put an end to the colonial period, a position that Morocco refused to claim its sovereignty over the place.
In this sense, the opinion of the International Tribunal in The Hague of October 16, 1975 concluded that Western Sahara It had no sovereign ties to Morocco or Mauritania.
Taking into account that there was no legal loophole, King Hassan II of Morocco devised a pressure strategy given the weakness of Spain. On November 6 of that same year, the Green March began.
Some 350,000 civilians crossed the border unarmed, a peaceful march in which the great objective was that the Spanish troops did not intervene and make clear the Moroccan claim on the territory. On the other hand, some 25,000 soldiers of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces also penetrated from the east.
A maneuver that bears some similarities to the current one. Thousands of peaceful civilians enter the territory, in this case Ceuta, and logically the Army, neither then nor now, will attack some completely defenseless people.
In both cases, the Moroccan monarchy has used society to achieve its goals pressure. Neither in 1975, with the risk of skirmishes, nor now, with the danger of drowning in the sea, have the authorities of the Alawite country been concerned about the possible victims among the population that could occur as a result of this act of pressure on Spain .
Thousands of Moroccans enter the Sahara on November 6, 1975. (Photo by Alain Nogues / Sygma / Sygma via Getty Images)
Like now, the Green March it was made up of ordinary people: children, entire families, and men and women that in both cases they moved before the possibility of a better future, either in the occupied territory or now in the European continent.
If in 1975 the strategic decision corresponded to Hassan II and had as its main mission the handover of the Saharawi territory, now it is his son, King Mohammed VI, who has allowed these movements with the aim of protesting the hospitalization of Brahim Ghali and fundamentally to get Spain to recognize Moroccan sovereignty over the Sahara just as Donald Trump did before leaving the presidency of the United States.
Thus, two major decisions with the Western Sahara as a backdrop and with Morocco trying to exert its control over the territory. It should be noted in any case that the Alawite kingdom has also claimed Ceuta and Melilla on occasions, so what happened cannot be taken lightly.
Up to here they come the similarities of both crises between Spain and Morocco, but we will have to see how the situation evolves in the coming months. In the case of the Green March, the Moroccans ultimately ended up getting away with it.
King Mohammed VI of Morocco. (Photo by Carlos R. Alvarez / WireImage)
The cession of Spain
On November 9, the civilians returned after getting Spain to open up to negotiate for the Sahara. On the 14th they were signed the Tripartite Agreements of Madrid for which Spain ceded the administration of the Saharawi territory to Morocco and Mauritania.
An illegal move, according to international law, but which has allowed the Moroccans to control the former Spanish colony for the last 45 years, especially after the Mauritanians ended up relinquishing sovereignty after several years of war.
At the moment Western Sahara remains a pending territory decolonization according to the United Nations and Spain continues to be the administering power, but all this time the status quo has been maintained (at least until Trump’s decision in 2020) with Morocco controlling the territory.
To see how the crisis in Ceuta ends and what consequences it has for each of the parties.
IN VIDEO I A young Moroccan records and shows his trip by boat to the Canary Islands to show the reality of the journey