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Spain: Young Emigrants Have “Spirit of Adventure”

This article is part of our special news coverage Europe in Crisis.

[All links lead to Spanish language pages, except when otherwise noted.]

A few days ago, “Marina del Corral” was one of the most popular topics on Twitter. Del Corral, who has entered the spotlight after statements which set the social networks alight with indignant messages, is a high-ranking official in the Ministry of Employment and Social Security [en], specifically, the Secretary General of Immigration and Emigration.

The Secretary General opined that emigration rates among Spanish youth were not due solely to the crisis currently confronting the country, but also “why not say it; to young people's drive for adventure”.

Spanish Youth; emigrants or adventurers?

Spanish Youth; emigrants or adventurers? Image from the Lo que no pasa blog.

These statements proved extremely controversial, particularly coming from a high-ranking official in a government which has almost made gaffes its signature. The “fuck them” [en] directed at the unemployed by Andrea Farber, Pilar Sol's accusations that some out-of-work people were wasting public assistance money on “plasma screens,” and the nearly innumerable nonsensical statements by government representative Cristina Cifuentes and Education Minister José Ignacio Wert [en] all bear remembering.

As would be expected, the Twittersphere wasted little time in responding, with hashtags like #espírituaventurero (“spirit of adventure”) and #NoNosVamosNosEchan (“We're not leaving; they're throwing us out”) receiving hundreds of comments, mere hours after the statements came to light. Comments such as these, by @Haannnssss, 08181@ and Alvaro Velasco (@alvaro_velasco):

@Haannnssss: Me comentan que Marina del Corral está escribiendo el guión de la próxima “Indiana Jones: En Busca del Trabajo Perdido” #NoNosVamosNosEchan

I heard that Marina del Corral is writing the script to the next Indiana Jones: “In Search of the Lost Job”

Marina del Corral, secretaria general de emigración. Foto de la página web cartadeespañ

Marina del Corral, Secretary General of Emigration. Image from

08181@: Que alguien le aclare a Marina del Corral que lo aventurero es quedarse en España.

Can someone make it clear to Marina del Corral that adventurousness is staying in Spain.

@alvaro_velasco: Marina del Corral… Espíritu aventurero es irte a hacer deporte extremo al Pirineo. No a currar en un Burger de Berlín.

Marina del Corral… The Spirit of Adventure is going to the Pyrenees to do extreme sports. Not grafting in some fast food restaurant in Berlin.

Nolesvotes recalls that the recent evictions [en] have already led to several suicides:

@Nolesvotes: Marina del Corral dice que los españoles emigran por espíritu aventurero y los desahuciados se tiran por el balcón para practicar balconing

Marina del Corral says that the Spanish people are emigrating because of their spirit of adventure and that people who got evicted and jumped off the balcony were doing balconing [en].

César states that, with each passing day, the government seems more and more distant from the realities facing the people:

@CatoMad: Los parados compran teles de plasma y los jóvenes se van de España por espíritu aventurero. Gobierno de España, con los pies en el suelo.

The unemployed are buying plasma screens and the young people are leaving Spain because of their spirit of adventure. The Spanish Government, with its feet firmly on the ground.

Tweeters (@whoanrubi), Яubén Sánchez (@rubensancheztw), Ciudadano Libre (@SuperTTuitero) y SorriSorrilla (@SorriSorrilla) take a humorous approach:

Pancarta: «si acabas una carrera en España tienes 3 salidas: por tierra, mar o aire». Foto de la web

Sign: “If you finish your degree in Spain you have 3 ways out: by land, by sea or by air”. Image from

@whoanrubi: Secretaria g. d inmi: “lo españoles emigramos x el espíritu aventurero”. si claro, y nos operamos de apendicitis para conocernos por dentro.

Secretary of Immigration: “We Spanish are emigrating because of our spirit of adventure.” Of course, and people have surgery in order to get to know themselves better on the inside.

@rubensancheztw:De los creadores de “no son recortes, sino reformas” llega “la crisis no provoca emigración, sino espíritu aventurero”

From the creators of “Not cuts, but reforms” comes “the crisis isn't the cause of emigration, it's the spirit of adventure”

‏@SuperTTuitero: La única neurona de Marina del Corral también tiene #espírituaventurero.

Marina del Corral's only brain cell has the spirit of adventure, too.

‏@SorriSorrilla: “L@s subsaharian@s cruzan el estrecho en patera porque les gusta el rafting de alto riesgo” Marina del Corral

Subsaharian Africans cross the strait in open boats because they like extreme rafting” – Marina del Corral.

Mapa de la emigración española del siglo XXI. Imagen del blog «Periodismo con Gafas»

Map of Spanish emigration in the 21st century. Image from the blog “Periodismo con Gafas”

A group of Spanish emigrants in Switzerland published an open letter to Marina del Corral in which they explain the arduous conditions that many emigrants end up in once they leave Spain:

[…] A las historias positivas de aquellos que encuentran trabajo, se suman las historias de madres y padres que dejan a sus hijos en casa, de españoles que acaban durmiendo en sus coches o en lugares de acogida al no encontrar trabajo y acabar con los ahorros que trajeron, que no dominan el idioma pero pese a todo no les queda otra opción que salir, historias de fracasos y de vueltas a casa con una situación mucho peor a la que se tenia antes de partir. […]

[…] El Gobierno al que usted pertenece ha reducido en 60 por ciento las ayudas económicas destinadas a asociaciones y fundaciones que prestan asistencia social y médica a emigrantes españoles con escasos recursos en el extranjero, ha reducido en un 14,5% el presupuesto de la Dirección General de Emigración o ha sufrido la vergüenza de ver como el Presidente del Consejo General de la Ciudadanía Española en el Exterior afirma “Las leyes son como las mujeres. Están para violarlas“.

[…] lo que le exigimos es un poco de respeto hacia los muchos miles ya, de españolas y españoles honrados que no hemos salido de nuestro país para ver como sopla el viento en otros sitios o vivir una experiencia enriquecedora y volver cuando nos cansemos. Salimos de nuestro país forzados y con pena porque no tenemos en que ganarnos la vida ya tengamos formación básica o superior.

[…] To the positive stories of those who do find work must be added the stories of mothers and fathers who leave their children behind, of Spanish citizens who end up sleeping in their cars or in shelters after failing to find work and having no more savings left, who can't speak the language but, despite it all, they have no other option than to leave, stories of failure and returning home to a situation even worse than it was before they left. […]

[…] The Government to which you belong has cut by 60% the funding to associations and foundations which provide social and medical assistance to Spanish emigrants of limited means, it has cut the budget for the General Directorate of Emigration by 14.5% and faced the embarrassment of seeing the President of the General Council of Spanish Citizens Living Abroad state that “Laws are like women. They are there to be violated.”

[…] what we demand is a little respect towards the several thousands of honest Spanish men and women who have not left our country to see how the wind blows elsewhere, or to have an enriching experience and simply return when we tire of it. We left our country by force and with a heavy heart, because we have no way of making a living at home, whether we have a basic or an advanced education.

[All links lead to Spanish language pages, except when otherwise noted.]

This article is part of our special news coverage Europe in Crisis.


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