Morocco. According to official sources in September, about 138,000 people had moved from slums to newly built apartments in the framework of the government’s initiative “Cities without slums”. The investment was aimed at creating 298,000 new homes at a cost of US $ 3 billion. The target group was people without property and permanent work. The government gave housing subsidies to those who moved and collateral to banks that lent money to them. However, the country’s poorest could not afford it.
According to countryaah, several human rights organizations noted in October a case where a woman was sentenced to three years in prison and the equivalent of $ 13,000 in fines for abusing her eleven-year domestic help. The girl was burned with hot oil and iron, forced to shave and hit. The human rights organizations said the verdict was too lenient and appealed it to alert the situation to the country’s roughly 80,000 child laborers.
On March 29, Morocco expelled five Christian missionaries – four Spaniards and one German – who are accused of trying to convert Muslims to Christianity.
On March 6, Morocco broke off its diplomatic relations with Iran in protest at an Iranian government official’s suggestion that Bahrain actually belonged to Iran.
Mohammed V’s intention was to “go slow” with the modernization of the country’s economic and political institutions. While his son – Hassan II – who succeeded his father at his death had more conservative ideas. His theocratic regime – his family descended from Prophet Muhammad – and a system of power based on services and duties in the best paternalistic style, hindered the development of an authentic national citizenship. At the same time, the king encouraged foreign investment – especially French – to exploit the country’s wealth.
Hassan did not hesitate in 1965 to order Ben Barka killed. He was the leader of the strong opposition party, the National Union of Popular Powers (UNFP), which called for an economic and social program to be implemented for the benefit of the majority of workers and peasants.
The disappearance of Ben Barka in Paris was followed by brutal repression against the popular forces. The UNFP was shattered and the tendency that upheld Ben Barka’s ideals was forced to operate underground while the group led by Abderrahim Buabid changed its name to the Socialist Union, but at the same time betrayed its principles to take a minority party seat in parliament. The Istiqlal party converted its original anti-colonialism into right-wing nationalism and expansionism. It supported King Hassan’s project for the formation of a major Morocco through the annexation of Western Sahara and, if possible, Mauritania.
The contradictions in Moroccan society increased when King Hassan occupied Western Sahara in 1975 and launched a war that has led to major political changes in North Africa.
The cost of the war, the decline in phosphate prices on the world market and the loss of support from Saudi Arabia when King Hassan supported Camp David’s Egypt – Israel peace deal were all factors that helped to intensify the economic crisis. The political consequences of the crisis did not wait. 1979 was characterized by large student and worker demonstrations. At the same time, it was a severe blow to the government that Mauritania withdrew from the war on the Sahara in August 1979. Morocco now had to bear sole responsibility for the continuation of the war.
The drought in 1980 and 81 led to a shortage of food and forced the government to import these, increasing the country’s foreign debt to an intolerable level. The IMF came to the rescue of the government with emergency loans, but at the same time demanded that the government remove subsidies for food and housing. It made life even more difficult for the working class. The ambitious plans for economic development came into crisis, and “exports of unemployment” were limited by the restrictions France imposed on immigration of emigrants.
The crisis was further deepened as a number of moderate opposition parties broke the political truce. The Socialist Union of the Popular Forces (USFP) launched demonstrations against the government. This violently suppressed the protests in Casablanca in June 1981. According to official information, they cost 60 people killed – according to the opposition 637. 2,000 people were jailed. The so-called massacre in Casablanca marked the final rupture between the king and the remaining parties on the left, who did not want to continue paying the high price of the war in the Sahara: over a $ 1 million daily.