Brexit & Gibraltar

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Following the takeover of  United Kingdom positions, the other 27 states and the European Council, the Euro Chamber has imposed its own conditions and requirements for the Brexit negotiations. A list of conditions including the absence of any reference to Gibraltar. Moreover, the European Union determines that the future status of Gibraltar must be agreed between the UK and Spain. And it is not a coincidence. In the draft of the European Council guidelines, the now famous clause 22 states that “no agreement between the EU and the UK could be applied in the territory of Gibraltar without an agreement between Spain and the UK.” The speech of EU leaders like Manfred Weber has reminded that Spain’s interests are those of the EU, regarding this dispute. The EU have finally admitted a certain fact: The Rock is an English possession overseas and its status is to be negotiated between the colonial power, the UK, and the colonized, Spain.

The Rock was occupied by troops of the UK on August 4th, 1704, when an Anglo-Dutch fleet commanded by Admiral George Rooke, seized Rock. Rooke, aware of the strategic importance of the Gibraltar isthmus, ordered the English flag to be raised. The conquest was ‘legalized’ by the Treaty of Utrecht. The document, signed by Anne Stuart, Queen of England, and Philip V of Spain, states: “The Catholic King, by himself and by all his successors, gives by this treaty to the Crown of Great Britain the full and entire property of the city and castle of Gibraltar, together with its port, and the defences and fortresses that belong to it.

The Treaty of Utrecht makes no reference to any border boundaries or jurisdictional waters. Only granted to England the town of Gibraltar and the Spanish forts built for its defence. The English expelled the local population who took refuge in the vicinity, creating what is now the little village of San Roque. Then, the British authorities repopulated the Rock with people brought from Malta, Cyprus and North Africa. In 1830 England unilaterally granted to Gibraltar the status of a Crown colony. Today, Gibraltar is almost the only colonial symbol of the old British Empire. According to the UN, the colonial situation of Gibraltar destroys the unity and territorial integrity of Spain, and its maintenance is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations. That is why the UN has repeatedly urged the UK to end its presence in the Rock.

I am surprised by the astonishment of the English people by the UE declarations to these facts, including the left-wing daily The Guardian, after the EU decision to recognize something as elementary as Gibraltar is a colony. That is not said by Spain but by the United Kingdom itself, as by Parliament’s Act, the sovereignty of the Rock is in Westminster and its legal status is that of ‘overseas territory’, something similar to other small territories under English sovereignty dispersed by the world, with no other difference than the clause of reversion of Gibraltar to Spain, provided by the Treaty of Utrecht. It is also say by the UN, which puts Gibraltar among the territories to decolonize, which does not happen with Ceuta or Melilla, for example.

The tabloid newspaper ‘The Sun’, showing the xenophobia daughter of the Brexit, has decided to launch its vomiting campaign in defence of Gibraltar, painting the front the Rock with the Union Jack and giving to their readers a bilingual poster where announces “Hands off Our Rock / Our Rock Is Not Touched “. The Sun´ columnist Kelvin Mackenzie, has named the Spaniards “follaburros” (fuck asses), urging to his compatriots to prepare for a good old fight and even dared to suggest the expulsion of those Spaniards currently residing in the UK, (“Say goodbye, Manuel“). “Up yours senors!”, which can be translated as “fuck up, gentlemen” aimed at the “meddlesome leaders” of Spain and EU, about Gibraltar´ legal status for the future. He seems to have forgotten that in Spain are more than 300,000 British citizens as residents. Absolutely unfortunate all, especially coming from a people who think so high and civilized about themselves!

Gibraltar was just one of the many reasons why the UK should not have leave the EU. One might expect from a mature and responsible country that, instead of nourishing the populism, both from Gibraltar and from the public opinion, it should remember these evidences. Gibraltar is a dispute as old as convoluted which has to be resolved by Spanish-British negotiations. It is clear that the Gibraltarians are very nervous, while the old Tory guard redoubled the war´ drums. Their nervousness is understood, like the warmongering of the old Tory guard, who dreams of reviving imperial glories by sending the Navy to Gibraltar, as they did in the Falklands. But Theresa May’s position is weak.

There is no need to invade Gibraltar, not even closing its border. It will suffice to apply its legal rules because, according to the advantages London has negotiated, it is not included in the Schengen Treaty as internal borders within the EU, which has allowed it to have the fourth per capita income in the world and, to be like the rest of the British colonies, real tax havens. The strict application of that treaty would suffice for such advantages to disappear. The UK must accept the evidence about this matter. It should not be difficult in a country which used to have such an immense empire. After all, if UK could return India to its people, could well return Gibraltar to the Spaniards. The people from Gibraltar want to maintain their current status as an English colony forever is understandable, they have in it a privileged standard of living. But that Europe would accept and defend the maintenance of a colonial order on the territory of a member country was unacceptable and offensive.

The Gibraltarians say they want to be British and European. Until now it was possible. Now they must choose. With regards to the English, we know that for them the only thing which counts are their interests, and that is precisely what the Gibraltarians fear the most. From now on their xenophobia, their abject insults, their ridiculous threats, or their alleged superiority to the rest of the world will not do any good. Long live the Brexit!

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