Jun 26, 2006
Fifty-three people, most from southern Senegal, went by plane to the Cape Verde islands off the African coast. There they boarded a boat on Christmas Eve 2005, hoping to get to the Canary Islands off Europe and then Europe itself. They hoped for a job, an income for themselves and their families.
Four months later, this past April, their boat was found ... three thousand miles away, on the other side of the Atlantic in the Caribbean Sea. Eleven corpses were found in the boat. The others were thrown overboard when they died following terrible agony. Six men had escaped this awful fate: a little after departure the boat’s motor failed and it returned to Cape Verde for repairs. They refused to get back on.
Forty-seven men drifted over the Atlantic in a 36-foot tub, dying of hunger and thirst, simply trying to get work in order to live. The official figures say that so far this year 9,000 Africans reached the Canary Islands with this hope. Humanitarian organizations think that only half the Africans who attempt the voyage arrive safely.
According to one of the survivors of this horrible crossing, each man paid between $1,500 and $1,900 to the boat’s owner and organizer of the voyage, who took in $88,000. But such crooks who feed off misery and the hopes of would-be immigrants are small fry compared to the greediness of a system which leaves the poor of the Third World only the choice between dying of hunger in their country or taking the risk of perishing in a shipwreck.