Cuadernos de Gibraltar – Gibraltar Reports
Número 1/Issue # 1, enero-diciembre/January-December 2015, pp. 223-227
THE SAN ROQUE TALK
Not Mintoff enough?
In recent weeks there was a minor trauma for many in Gibraltar. BBC cut off access
to iPlayer and it is understood that even the Foreign Office intervened to try and save
the situation. More of that later.
What might that incident tell you about a community that gathered in the early 18th
One of the early great Gibraltarians was Aaron Cardozo, who in the early 19th
century was a personal friend of Nelson, was gathering provisions from North Africa
and Spain to supply the Navy.
He was leader of the Jewish community and spent much of his fortune for the
benefit of the Gibraltar community –as well as building his famous house, now the
Many would recognise that that spirit has not changed in Gibraltar.
But Spain has changed a great deal in the past 50 years, the last 30 of which I have
been a journalist.
Even as recently as 1985, when the border opened fully, Spain was relatively isolated
from immigrants of other cultures other than relatively wealthy expats from the north.
The difference between Gibraltar and Spain until the 1970/80s was the level of
democracy, within the limitations of a colonial system, contrasting with the realities of
a dictatorship burgeoned in a bloody civil war.
But another difference was the diversity of culture on the Rock in which many
people of the Campo had been participants prior to the 1969 border closure.
Against Spain’s history of cultural isolation successive waves of immigrants Jews,
Genoese, then Maltese and finally Indians worked to gain acceptance to Gibraltar’s
multi-cultural and religiously tolerant society. Let’s not forget also the rich Masonic
history in Gibraltar much despised by the Franco regime.
What were common factors that combined these various ethnic groups? Commerce
certainly, but also a common interest in preserving community interests in a relationship
1 Director del diario Gibraltar Chronicle. Conferencia impartida en el Seminario «Gibraltar–Campo de Gibraltar ¿Cómo
normalizar las relaciones?», celebrado en el marco de los Cursos de Verano de San Roque, el 18 de julio de 2014.
CUARENOS DE GIBRALTAR – GIBRALTAR REPORTS
Num 1,Número/Issue # 1, enero-diciembre/January-December 2015