Spain's delegate in Ceuta harshly criticised over 'racist', 'misogynist' comments about Moroccan 'maids'
"We are looking forward to Moroccan "maids" arrival to help us clean," said Spain's delegate in Ceuta, in a "classist", "misogynistic" and "racist" comment that spurred harsh criticism from Spanish and Moroccan quarters.
After the recent Moroccan-Spanish reconciliation, Ceuta borders are set to open soon. The Spain-controlled city, which sealed off its frontiers last year after the infamous April immigration crisis, provided jobs for more than 20, 000 Moroccan workers, most of whom are housekeepers.
"In Ceuta, especially housewives, we are looking forward to the [Moroccan] muchacha (means girl or maid in Spanish) arrival, I tell you, starting with me, that working here in the morning and cleaning in the afternoon is hard," said Salvadora Mateos, Spain's envoy to Cueta, reported EFE Tuesday.
La delegada del Gobierno en Ceuta lamenta el cierre de la frontera porque "las amas de casa estamos deseando que venga la muchacha" https://t.co/qyDHKCxJVY pic.twitter.com/i3WZRSsvVi— EL MUNDO (@elmundoes) April 5, 2022
"Unacceptable", "embarrassing" and "classist" are how several Spanish politicians have reacted to the official's statement.
"These are embarrassing and classist statements that also put Mateos in a very low place in the human category," said Aina Vidal from En Comú Podem, a leftist coalition.
"Unacceptable and inappropriate statements by a member of the Government," especially from "a government that calls itself feminist," added Cuca Gamarra, the parliamentary spokesperson of the conservative People's Party (PP).
Guillermo Díaz, the deputy of the liberal Ciudadanos party, has reminded Mateos that "the lack of housekeepers is not the most serious thing that happened during the migratory crisis," since "there are people who drown" and there are "security forces who were attacked".
Widely shared on Twitter, the comments by the self-claimed feminist politician spurred harsh criticism among Spanish and Moroccan users, who lambasted the politician for her "misogyny" and "racism", while others called for her suspension so "she can have more time to clean her house."
Salvadora Mateos @DGobiernoCeuta toda máscara tiene un agujero y es por ahi donde escapa la verdad. Hipocresía y clasismo puro.— Sabah صباح 🌍🕊️ (@Sabah_Yacoubi) April 5, 2022
عندما تسقط الأقنعة وتتعرى الوجوه... https://t.co/odcF1UD1fY
The statements have also ignited a debate about the low wages paid to Moroccan housekeepers in the Spain-controlled territory.
"Why didn't you hire a Spanish housekeeper? Because you can not afford it?" tweeted a user in Spanish.
A report by the Association for Human Rights in Andalusia, titled "Housekeepers in Ceuta," noted in 2018, that "Moroccan domestic workers suffer from various types of violations, as they do not receive the legal minimum for wages, they work without work contracts, and they are subjected to violence in some cases."
"I was paid 200 euros per month, for working endless hours cleaning and cooking. I was young and that was the only job I could find to provide for my family," said Hasna, a 40-year-old woman living in Tetouan.
During a recent press conference, Héctor Gómez, the spokesman for Mateos's party, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE), dodged questions related to his colleague's statement, focusing his statement on the importance of strengthening ties with Rabat across different sectors, including labour and transit.