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The man who went missing in Madrid has reappeared in Ukraine


“Put my full name in, if you want, but I warn you the police may have an alert.” Miguel Angel Delgado Montero was last seen in 2015 in Madrid. He now works in a supermarket in Kherson, on the southern front of the war in Ukraine.

2019-2022: Peace and War (and the Russian Occupation)

The translator knows a Spaniard who lives in Kherson. They say he’s a fisherman from Viejo. However, Miguel is from Ceuta and not a fisherman. From Ceuta you get to Vigo because the Ukrainians will sound more like Celta de Vigo than enclave, and the phonetic similarity does the rest. Perhaps the reason for the fisherman is that the supermarket he works at until recently was a fishmonger, and then people fill in the gaps in the story as they see fit.

He arrived in Ukraine on April 19, 19, and before Kherson he passed through Lviv and Donbass. When the full-scale invasion began, he chose to stay: “I was a soldier too… I have colleagues here and the situation is tight for everyone, and since we were here, we stayed.” Between 2002 and 2005, Miguel was in the army, in Ceuta’s regulars, but he did not take up arms in Ukraine: «If the situation arises, that’s why I’m here… I’m here. If my colleagues see themselves in this step, I must participate ».

The Russians reached Kherson from the Crimea in a few days, and in a few days they occupied it: “There was fighting at first and they locked us all up. He would go out from time to time to hunt, and after two days he could go out to buy tobacco and food. , only what they sent via Viber [aplicación similar a Whatsapp], little that some can record. It lasted three or four days. Then the Russian forces occupied the city more than eight months ago, and there were reports of torture and a thousand executions during that period. Unlike other occupied places, the repression in Kherson was brutal but not indiscriminate: the victims were activists, politicians, and militants, although it later affected those who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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Miguel is a cook and shop assistant at LikeFish. It was open all the time, also during the occupation: “People had to go on living. They might be afraid of the Russian army, but they lived a normal life. Russian soldiers also came to his shop: “They came to buy, and it is clear that they could not be stopped. We had some problems at first, they broke the door. They took some products, but they didn’t destroy everything.

Miguel Angel Delgado Montero

Alphonse Cabrera

On November 9, forty days after Moscow formalized the annexation of the Kherson region, the Ukrainian army retook the city unopposed: “I was surprised. Some left, others arrived and that’s it.” Russian forces retreated and concentrated on the opposite bank of the Dnieper , which borders the city to the east. The river is a natural boundary and the bridges are destroyed (not only figuratively), so the advance here is more difficult and the front line has not moved since. However, snipers lurk and, above all, artillery: “It has improved A lot, but we still have bombs falling, every day we hear one, two, three …”.

Miguel gets back to work. Drogok, a half-adopted stray dog, sleeps at the entrance to a supermarket.

1982-2019: The Life, Fortunes, and Tribulations of Michelangelo

The first entry from Google when you type in your full name is your Facebook page. In his profile picture he has Beerus, a character from Dragon Ball Super, a sequel to an anime little known in Europe. The site shown is Madrid, and the account has been inactive since August 2015. This coincides with the information on the poster of the Sosdesaparecidos association warning against their search: He disappeared in 2015 in Madrid.. About 20,000 disappearances are reported in Spain each year, but 95% of them are resolved within the same year. According to the latest report by the National Missing Persons Center, at the end of 2021, there were 3,483 active complaints that had lasted at least a year. Eight years after her disappearance, Miguel lives in Kherson with Bastet, the name given to his cat and also an Egyptian goddess. It is a small apartment in a large gray block surrounded by green: the walls are covered in beige.

Poster warning of his disappearance in March 2015 in Madrid

Born in Ceuta, he spent part of his childhood between Tarifa, Hospitalet and Raval, and at the age of twelve he returned to Ceuta: his father was a civil guard. At twenty he joined the army and left after three years to go to Granada to study art history. In the second year, he did not get a scholarship, so he began to combine studies with work and ended up dropping out. He was a bartender, real estate agent, and businessman; Then he returned to Ceuta, and from there to Mansa in Albacete. The first poster denouncing his disappearance was placed in the Mansi area in 2014.

He cut off everything and went to Madrid: «I cut off all ties. I don’t know… family, work, political situation… everything. It’s not that we were a typical family, it just came before.” He stayed in Madrid for a year: «I was begging, I live on the streetAnd, but a little bit because I’ve been to a day center for the homeless, and I’ve also been to shelters run by Caritas. I worked for them as a courier. I had a motorcycle accident, I broke my shoulder, my contract was not renewed and I decided to leave Spain. A four-year journey north begins.

Miguel Angel Delgado Montero

Alphonse Cabrera

In Narbonne, in the south of France, he lived and worked in a homeless community. From there he went to Paris and lived in the suburbs, on the street: “Before leaving Spain, I bought a tent because I knew I was going to stay on the damn street.” The journey continues to the northeast: working at a kebab shop in Reims and in Etienne, he returns to living on the street; And he arrives in Luxembourg. In Luxembourg, it is a fairground, a food stop and then a return to traditional restaurants. In 2019, he met a Ukrainian woman online; The thing did not go more emotional.

2023: Meta interview

Although the encounter with Miguel is attributed to chance, or to providence, his choice is to tell his story and publish his name: «If you write to me [autoridades o asociaciones de España]Well, I work and I don’t want to go back. When he arrived in Ukraine in 2019, they were warned at the border that he was listed missing but they don’t have to do anything about it either. However, they did not tell him anything when in 2016 he renewed his passport at the Consulate General of Spain in Paris.

And the family? “I will not say that I now resume my relationship with my mother, with my father, with my sisters… I do not expect anything to change in this respect.” He does not think of returning to Spain, but he does not rule out that he will get a good job. “I have two sisters. I know that I have two sons, a sister from the eldest; I don’t know about the little one. The eldest in 2014 had two children, and she probably gave birth to a third … » Bastet meows, and Miguel answers her.

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