This image is one of the most powerful pictures from the last World Press Photo 2006 awards. Illegal immigrants, hiding in the shadows, with fear in their eyes, after risking their life for a better future wait for an uncertain future. The picture was taken by spanish photographer, Arturo Rodriguez from the Associated Press, who won two World Press Photo 2006 awards with images covering the topic of illegal immigration in Spain. This image won second price in the spot news section.
The second image is from a series covering same topic, and shows tourists in Tenerife helping migrants that had just reached the beach in a patera. Hungry, weak thirsty, but fighting for hope. Powerful images that show the contrast between people enjoying leisure time and try to forget their “normal” life and people risking their life to get a “normal” life. These images were awarded with the second price in People in the News series category.
Spain is the entry door for millions of immigrants from impoverished parts in Africa into Europe. Traveling in the night, hiding across the African continent, these people will risk their life crossing the last part of the trip in fragiler pateras. Thousands have lost their lives.
In the Spanish language, a patera is a type of boat. In current usage it refers to any of the floating devices used by African people smugglers to transport illegal immigrants from Africa to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands (more recently also to Gran Canaria and Tenerife) or across the Strait of Gibraltar to Andalusia. The poor state of the boats, overcrowding, and lack of sea experience often result in massive drownings. Patera operators have been known to intentionally throw their passengers overboard if they need to flee the coast guard.
Some forecasts predict that by 2015, one in every three Spaniards will be a foreigner. This startling prediction gives an idea of the number of people moving to Spain. It also helps to explain, perhaps, why this is such a political hot potato. There are currently 3.69 million foreigners living in the country – or about 8.4 percent of the estimated 44 million population. The National Statistics Institute said last month 650,000 had registered with the authorities since January 2004. By contrast, in 1999, only 750,000 foreigners were registered with the authorities resided in Spain.