This depressing report from the Guardian on conditions in the greenhouses of Almería appeared a couple of weeks ago. Much of the report doesn't come as a great surprise to anyone a little bit familiar with the way in which a good proportion of Europe's vegetables are produced using immigrant labour working and living in often appalling conditions. Much of this came to light several years ago following the racist pogrom in the town of El Ejido. Whether you are aware of the issue or not, the accompanying video is well worth watching.
What I didn't know about until today was the dreadful response of the local media to the Guardian's report. Via David Jackson's blog I came across the articles which the local Voz de Almería has run on the issue. Unable to acknowledge in any way that much of the wealth of the region has been built on the exploitation of immigrant labour, they attempt to characterise the report as sensationalist journalism and portray the exploiters as if they were the victims. This, together with the typical and pathetic "there are problems everywhere" attempt to minimize the importance of what happens in the region.
Apart from the portrayal of the conditions which immigrant workers have to put up with, one of the most interesting aspects of the video is the effective confirmation that there has been a deliberate policy in Spain of directing illegal immigrants to areas like Almería where the government knows they will be working. Obviously for very low wages and without any rights. When you hear politicians who complain about the regularisation process that was carried out a few years ago for paperless immigrants, you have to remember that what those politicians seek is a situation just like that which exists in the greenhouses.