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Spanish dictator Francisco Franco died in 1975, without signing the Western Sahara´s independence. This country had been a Spanish colony for over a century.
Franco´s death left the process unfinished and Morocco´s King Hassan, taking advantage of the situation, invaded the Western Sahara with the so-called “Green Walk”, a march of poor Moroccans seeking a better life in territories taken away from poor Sahrawis. War broke out and lasted 12 years until 1991, when the United Nations intervened. The UN proposed a peace referendum which has been unavailable until nowadays mainly due to the fierce opposition of the Moroccan government and its main ally The United States.
Almost four decades later The Western Sahara is still under Moroccan domination and more than 250,000 Sahrawis continue to live in exile, mainly in refugee camps in the region of Tindouf, southern Algeria. Their survival depends entirely on international humanitarian aid.