54 Rutgers L. Rev. 893 (2001-2002)
Tying Racism in El Ejido to Spanish and European Politics

handle is hein.journals/rutlr54 and id is 903 raw text is: TYING RACISM IN EL EJIDO TO SPANISH AND EUROPEAN
POLITICS
Manuel J. Caro*
I.  INTRODUCTION
El Ejido is a town on the Mediterranean coast of the
southeastern corner of Spain. Its population, whose livelihood
depends mainly on agriculture, has doubled and its income per capita
has climbed to be among the highest in Spain in the last fifteen
years. El Ejido's landscape and its adjacent towns look like a gray sea
of plastic that, from a distance, shines as much as the nearby
Mediterranean. This miracle is due to the implementation of
greenhouse-related     techniques    and    genetic   advancements     in
agriculture. But this miracle is also due to the availability of cheap
labor that is willing to work long hours under extreme conditions of
heat and humidity-the temperature inside the greenhouses can
surpass 113F on a sunny summer afternoon.1 Without such human
labor, technological advances would have amounted to nothing.
Although natives suffer from high rates of unemployment in
Southern Spain, they prefer not to work in the greenhouses for as
little as $3.50 an hour-the lowest agricultural salary in Spain.' As a
result, cheap foreign labor is brought from the nearby Maghreb area
of Africa. The Maghreb, literally translated, means the westernmost
* Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminology, Barry University; Ph. D. and
M.A. Sociology, University of Miami; B.A. Sociology and Political Science, University of
Granada Spain). I would like to thank Alvaro Bldzquez and Angeles Garz6n for
keeping me posted about their experiences as lawyers in the aftermath of El Ejido's
riots.
1. Juan Goytisolo, Espaia y sus Ejidos: Sin la Llegada Providencial de los
Inmigrantes el Milagro Almeriense no Habria Sido Posible, EL PAiS DIGITAL-ESPARA,
Mar. 20, 2000, at http://www.elpais./p/d/20000320/espana/ejido.htm.
2. Angeles Castafio Madrofial, Una Sociedad Ahogada en un Mar de Pldsticos:
Factores Precipitantes de una Persecucidn Ektnica, Paper Presented at the II Congreso
Sobre  La  Inmigraci6n  en  Espafia, Madrid, at 12   (Oct. 5-7, 2000), at
http://www.imsersomigracion.upcp.es/otros%20documentos/congreso/datos/CDRom/El
%20Ejido/Ponencias/AngelesCastanio.PDF. For purposes of this article, I have
converted Madrofial's figure of 4,944 pesetas to dollars, using an exchange rate of
about 167 pesetas to the dollar.

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