The migratory crisis that the Canary Islands are suffering in 2020 has become a fertile ground for xenophobic hoaxes. Between January 1 and November 15 of this year, a total of 16,760 irregular immigrants arrived on the islands, according to the scale of the Ministry of the Interior, compared to 1,497 who arrived in the same period of 2019, which represents a increase of 1,019.6%. This high increase in boats and cayucos to the Atlantic archipelago – 553 compared to 93 in 2019 – has been used by disinformers to launch xenophobic lies that place immigrants as recipients of false privileges and as the cause of insecurity on the islands. These are some of the false information spread about the migratory crisis in the Canary Islands.
1. Pateras stacked in a port in the Canary Islands
“This is not Morocco, this is the Canary Islands, gentlemen.” With this message, an image has been released showing dozens of boats allegedly stacked in a town on the islands. However, a simple observation allows us to detect that the photograph has a Getty watermark, which also reads the name of the photographer, Fabrizio Villa. According to the famous photography agency, the image was taken on the Italian island of Lampedusa on August 4. Getty published it with the following description: “Aerial view of boats and inflatable boats used by the migrants landed in Lampedusa these days.”
2. Assault in a church in the Canary Islands
A video shows a priest officiating a mass in a temple. Suddenly, a black man enters, who interrupts the celebration by making fuss. “This has happened in the Canary Islands, surely you will not see it on the news. Can you imagine that it is a Christian who assaults a religious act in a mosque? ”, Reads the message that accompanies the video and with which it is intended to denounce the supposed problems generated by the irregular immigrants who arrived this year in the Canary Islands. However, the event did not occur in any church in the archipelago, but in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Georgetown (Guyana).
A reverse search of the recording disseminated mainly through WhatsApp allows to reach its original source, the Facebook page Catholic Media Guyana, which broadcasts masses live. The video, denounced as an event that occurred in the Canary Islands, is a fragment of the broadcast of a Eucharist celebrated by the Bishop of Georgetown, Francis Alleyne, on November 7. Specific, from minute 23.30, one can observe the episode falsely presented as a consequence of irregular immigration.
3. More than 10,000 immigrants in tourist complexes
An audio broadcast through WhatsApp claimed that “more than 10,000 immigrants” arrived in “patera” are staying in “hotels in Playa del Inglés and Puerto Rico” in Gran Canaria. There is no proof that the complaint, which does not refer to any source, is true. According to the latest data provided by the Ministry of Social Inclusion, until last week, a total of 5,748 reception places for immigrants were being financed in the Canary Islands, of which about 4,500 are in hotels or tourist apartments, that is, less than half of the supposed 10,000 immigrants housed in tourist complexes. The Government has just announced that it will provide 7,000 places in tents to accommodate migrants in the Canary Islands.
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