diumenge, 27 de juliol de 2014

Gibraltar - Why we choose not to be Spanish

It’s the year 2002, and Gibraltar stands on the eve of a referendum that could shift the balance of sovereignty power. The governing Labour Party in the United Kingdom, against the wishes of their British people in an overseas territory, have held secret talks with Spanish Prime Minister Aznar to negotiate co-sovereignty of Gibraltar, and its eventual absorption into Spanish hands. Outrage and feelings of betrayal have befallen the people of Gibraltar, who are determined to not let this transition of sovereignty ensue.

Gibraltarian Chief Minister of the time, Peter Caruana, calls on a referendum for the people of Gibraltar to decide on whether to accept the proposals set out by the secret talks. On 7th November 2002, the votes came in. 87.9% of the electorate voted. The result: An outstanding 98.48% ‘No’ vote for co-sovereignty with Spain! The talks were halted by the British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. Needless to say, the talks were already falling apart as Spain demanded that full sovereignty of Gibraltar be granted with immediate effect.

The results of the referendum also gave rise to hostile reactions by several Spanish media entities and the then Spanish Minster of Foreign Affairs, Ana Palacio, who declared this referendum to be “illegal” and “against all UN resolutions”. Catalonia can relate to these same statements from the present PP government.

So the question you may ask is, why does Gibraltar not wish to be Spanish? Our answers derive deep within our history with Spain, and the lack of changes to political stances that Spanish governments have towards Gibraltar. It also derives from Spain’s own hostile history since the end of the Spanish Civil War. I could write so much more for the following answers, but will keep it brief.

1) Spain uses bullying tactics against Gibraltar

Taking the example of a school, what is the objective of a bully against one of his victims? To harass him/her enough to make the victim feel helpless or to submit to the bully’s will. And what other objective does a bully have? To make sure he does not get caught! This is exactly what Spain the bully tries to accomplish against her tiny neighbour Gibraltar. Since Dictator Francisco Franco, various Spanish governments have sought all forms of bullying against Gibraltar to inflict damage to us, but not catch the attention of higher authorities such as the EU or the UN. The best ‘legal’ framework they have had of carrying out their inhumane tactics have been the frontier queues. They have used the laws of the EU to exaggerate their cross-border customs checks of vehicles and pedestrians and have caused up to seven hours of queuing in one hot summer day! This was one day after the infamous artificial reef blocks were dumped into British Gibraltar Territorial Waters (BGTW) by the Gibraltar government in an attempt to save the highly affected marine life in the area, caused by seabed raking by Spanish fishermen.

2) Spanish media thrives in falsely discrediting Gibraltar

For half a century now, Gibraltar has been labelled with various insults and have been accused of breaking dozens of international laws up to this day. The majority of Spain’s media franchises, which may as well be under PP control, have printed topics of Gibraltar on their front pages merely to spread lies about how the ‘pirates’ inhabiting the Rock abuse Spanish/EU laws, finances and Spanish workers in Gibraltar. One ongoing activity that Spanish media persistently publish is the reclamation of a Gibraltarian bay. Insisting the reclamation project is illegal under EU environmental laws, the PP decided to block all imports of sand and rock into Gibraltar, even after the EU denied the project violates any such law! To this day, Spanish Guardia Civil patrol boats continue entering British Gibraltar Territorial Waters to confront international ships bringing the resources over for the project. One other ridiculous article published by ABC was that Catalunya’s ERC party was conspiring against Spain by siding with Chief Minister Fabian Picardo of Gibraltar. This took place after a well-known ERC and Spanish Congress member, Mr. Alfred Bosch, visited Gibraltar unofficially to gather his own views on the political tensions. There were also kind letters from Mr. Bosch expressing his regrets at Spain’s unethical treatments towards Gibraltar, as well as congratulating the Gibraltar Football Association in entering UEFA (Moltes gracies Alfred). Which brings me to the next point:

3) Spain boycotts every attempt at Gibraltar entering an international committee, especially sports

The Gibraltar Football Association (GFA), is one of the oldest football institutes in Europe. It was founded in 1895, well before the RFEF and the popular club teams that are FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF. Up to 2013, the GFA has ceaselessly fought to show UEFA that it had every right to join in the committee and partake in its tournaments. Spain was always and continues to be the most outspoken delegates to boycott our entry into these committees. Eventually, the Court of Arbitration for Sport recognised the validity of our application into UEFA, and we were voted in last year. To us Gibraltarians, justice has been served and we may now welcome international football teams to play with us in the spirit in which football is intended, with respect, friendship and without politics. There have been several occasions where Gibraltar has been discriminated against in sporting events by Spain. One such example which affected young athletes is the following video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tgJxYxOtYY

4) From 1975 to the present: Democratic Spain still treats Gibraltar the same way Franco did

Gibraltar, like most nations, denounces Fascism. We helped the Allies fight against it in World War Two, and we survived against it under difficult times up to 1975. Why, when the PP and nationalist thugs treat us no differently, should we Gibraltarians be led to believe that we should be Spanish? Whether Spain likes it or not, we have very different political ideologies and cultures that just don’t work together. We firmly believe in democracy and rights to self-determination. Conservative Spanish parties like the PP believe in imposing their nationalist will against Gibraltarians and Spaniards alike, sometimes in shockingly similar ways that Franco imposed his own. The Fascism of the past did not work against us Gibraltarians; the Fascism of today will not work now!

The arguments on this article are brief but I will add more to each for my new articles in future.

Jared Baglietto

Other articles by the same author:

Spanish School Play On Invading Gibraltar

A Gibraltarian View of Spanish Oppression


2 comentaris:

  • Anònim says:
    27 de juliol de 2014 a les 4:08

    great read jared.

  • Jared Baglietto says:
    27 de juliol de 2014 a les 10:23

    Thanks my friend. If by chance you are not Gibraltarian and wish to know more of a specific topic concerning Gibraltar, please do not hesitate to ask ;).

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