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Post Gibraltar, Falklands/Malvinas
Created by John Eipper on 01/12/16 11:53 AM

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Gibraltar, Falklands/Malvinas (Randy Black, USA, 01/12/16 11:53 am)

I am always interested in WAIS topics about which I know little. It's one of the joys of opening up my email each morning and discovering new topics, new information, new controversy, new conjectures and a variety of potential solutions.

Bienvenido Macario's 10 January post about the new dust-up regarding the Falklands and Gibraltar between Spain and the UK and Argentina stirred my emotions and my curiosity. It was less than two years ago that I was beaten up by the Guardia Civil of Spain at the Gibraltar border crossing, the result of which is multiple surgeries that will likely occur once or twice a year for years to come (injections into my upper spine for the ruptured pad in my C2-3 area that the Spanish police's beating caused).

According to the British and American embassy's contacts, "You did nothing wrong, you violated no laws but nothing can be done because, after all, it's Spain" came the reply to my complaints.

That said, I researched the Treaty of Utrecht, which Spain apparently believes is no longer valid. To sum up the various sources, I copied from the source Bienvenido cited:

From Merco Press's forum: The Spaniards imposed conditions on Britain before they were allowed to take over Gibraltar. One was that the British would never allow Moors or Jews to settle in Gibraltar. Britain has undoubtedly broken those conditions, so the treaty and cession are no longer valid. Whether the Spaniards would argue this in a court of law--not even Franco did so--is another question.

Another writer wrote: Spain is obviously an interim goal for the Muslim caliphate. Perhaps some part of it can remain in the EU and be salvaged--maybe the Basque region can be annexed into France

A third writer offered: I am an avowed "hispanófilo" but all this is nonsense for several reasons. The Spanish "cause" for el Peñón and the Argentine "cause" for las Malvinas are two totally different matters--there are just no similarities.

The first is covered by the Treaty of Utrecht signed after the end of the War of Spanish Succession(1701-1714) caused by the death of the last Habsburg king, Carlos "el hechizado," who sadly was badly affected by the Habsburg habit of "inbreeding" and, besides other health problems, was impotent. Under the terms of this treaty Spain ceded Gibraltar to Britain in perpetuity, that is to say, forever. Nothing to negotiate!

The Argentine cause is just plain nonsense from start to finish--it is bolstered by a series of lies, fairy stores, myths and misinterpretations of historical events. Argentina should take its case to the International Court of Justice for resolution if they are so certain of their"cause."

Let Spain resolve its political problem as clearly their voters don't seem to know who they want to govern them

Still another offered: Gibraltar is British by treaty (as correctly stated by others here) there is also the matter arising from the treaty of Versailles a few years later, when Britain handed over their half of Florida and the whole of Minorca to Spain in respect of Gibraltar...unless Spain plans to hand them back as part of a deal?

I'm guessing the Americans are unlikely to agree to the Florida swap.


JE comments:  Would Florida's new owners (Britain or Spain) also cover the Social Security payments of the retirees who live there?

Regarding Gibraltar and the Malvinas/Falklands, Argentina may have the stronger claim.  Argentina was occupying the islands when the British took them by force in the 1830s.

The only fair solution to these squabbles is to let the people who live there decide.

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  • Ceuta, Melilla, Gibraltar (Anthony J Candil, USA 01/14/16 7:42 AM)
    I agree with my friend Randy Black (12 January).

    Gibraltar, nevertheless, has nothing to do with Ceuta and Melilla.

    Yet both Ceuta and Melilla, plus some other very little islands close to them, have been claimed repeatedly by Morocco. However, it is true that perhaps pressed by other issues, the Moroccans are not making a hard case of it--so far.

    But probably they will do so in a very short term, especially taking into account the weakness of the present Spanish situation. There are incidents every day at the borders of both enclaves and there isn't much the Spanish authorities can do.

    Spain has failed miserably year after year to create some kind of economic spaces on these enclaves along some kind of Hong Kong model, and now the situation will have only one possible outcome: to become part of Morocco for once and for all. Spaniards know that and the attitude of all governing parties so far has been one of pretending not to notice. That won't last for much longer.

    Both cities have become garrison cities of no value whatsoever, which in reality cost a lot of money to the already depleted Spanish treasury. It is pointless to continue keeping them.

    So far it is been said that there is some kind of secret pact between the King of Morocco and his counterpart King Juan Carlos of Spain, both equally corrupt, not to make an issue of the problem, probably under auspices of the Saudi King, here acting as some kind of broker. That was probably the agreement WAISers have been talking about.

    Meanwhile, both cities look to me like "shanty towns" full of prostitutes and drugs, filled with drunken soldiers of the Spanish Foreign Legion. I recognize however that the last time I visited them was in 1981 and I have not been there since.

    Gibraltar has better style than Ceuta and Melilla anyway.

    As I have lived in both countries, Spain and the UK, I think I've had managed to get a complete understanding of the issue and hopefully you will find my contribution to be of some interest. Nevertheless, I would like to start by saying that Spanish policy towards the Rock has been fully chaotic most of the time. Not only the present cabinet of Mariano Rajoy is to blame, but generally speaking all the Spanish governments have been responsible for this. They have not only been unable to recapture militarily the Rock--in 300 years!--but have also failed at winning hearts and minds, to make it more palatable to the Gibraltarians the alternative of perhaps joining Spain one day. Gibraltar is certainly not Hong Kong, but Spain is not China, especially from a military point of view. So, what is the incentive for the Gibraltarians to join Spain?  Joining the enormous list of unemployed people in Andalusia?  (It is said that in Andalusia today, unemployment is over 35%.)

    Nevertheless, Spain--as many other "non-democratic" countries--uses the excuse of Gibraltar now and then to distract people's attention from the real and urgent issues the nation is facing. Franco used to do this; Rajoy has done so as well, and I still remember from my time in London when the then Spanish Foreign Minister Fernández Ordóñez ("Paco Ordóñez")--a peculiar chameleon who was minister under Franco, with Adolfo Suárez in the first government after Franco's death, and with Felipe González too--said to me, on a visit to London, in the course of a social reception, "How nice it is to visit London but not to hold conversations on the uncomfortable issue of a barren rock!" All this much to my astonishment! When I answered him, saying that the issue was precisely for him to address with his British counterpart, and that this was his job, he changed the subject, obviously not very pleased.

    Spaniards like to recall the surrender of Granada on January, 1492 quoting the words of the mother of the Arab King Boabdil, the last Arab king in Spain, who seeing his tears, said, "Don't cry like a woman when you didn't know how to fight like a man."  I think it is time for Spaniards not to complain any more and to stop accusing the British of piracy and other things like that.  They should realize, like it or not, that they lost and have proven unable to recapture the Rock for three centuries.  I wouldn't be very popular in Spain saying this perhaps, but it is the plain truth.

    On the other hand, the British have maintained always the same policy, not changing their attitude a bit in 300 years, and whenever the Spaniards have requested talks on the subject, they have acquiesced in a good mood.

    Nevertheless it is always convenient to take a look at Article X of the Treaty:

    The Catholic King (e.g Spain) does hereby, for himself, his heirs and successors, yield to the Crown of Great Britain the full and entire propriety of the town and castle of Gibraltar, together with the port, fortifications, and forts thereunto belonging; and he gives up the said propriety to be held and enjoyed absolutely with all manner of right for ever, without any exception or impediment whatsoever.


    And Her Britannic Majesty, at the request of the Catholic King, does consent and agree, that no leave shall be given under any pretence whatsoever, either to Jews or Moors, to reside or have their dwellings in the said town of Gibraltar; and that no refuge or shelter shall be allowed to any Moorish ships of war in the harbour of the said town, whereby the communication between Spain and Ceuta may be obstructed, or the coasts of Spain be infested by the excursions of the Moors.


    And in case it shall hereafter seem meet to the Crown of Great Britain to grant , sell or by any means to alienate therefrom the propriety of the said town of Gibraltar, it is hereby agreed and concluded that the preference of having the sale shall always be given to the Crown of Spain before any others.

    End of quote.  So, only when HM Government decides that Gibraltar is of non-interest whatsoever for the British Crown, then preference will be given to Spain, and that's it. End of the story.

    Gibraltar no longer has the strategic importance it had even until the end of World War II, but today it is a fact that even the United States was much more comfortable having the UK on the Rock than a rather unreliable ally, after Franco's death, who dared even to hold a referendum on NATO at a moment when the missile crisis in Europe was on the rise, setting perhaps a path for other not too reliable allies at the time. (Keep in mind that even if Spain joined NATO in 1982, Premier Felipe González blocked the integration of the country in the military structure, and Spain didn't join in full until 1996, when perhaps NATO wasn't needed anymore.)

    JE comments:  Anthony Candil often takes a harsh view of his native Spain, but to suggest that China would be the better master of the two?  How many of the world's wealthy choose to vacation on the coast of...China?

    Maybe I've misunderstood.  But I'm grateful for the quote from the original treaty that ceded Gibraltar to Britain.  I cannot resist wondering if the "no Moors" clause could serve as a model for the State Dept of President Trump.  (I presume he's OK with Jews.)

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