Gibraltar Liberal Party Leader Dr Joseph Garcia told international delegates at a conference in Cadiz this weekend that “the liberal and democratic solution for a decolonised status for Gibraltar was through the exercise of the principle of self-determination”, reports the Gibraltar Chronicle.
Dr Garcia was invited to be a speaker and panellist at the event which took place under the theme “A Liberal Agenda for Europe-Latin America Relations”. The Liberal leader was part of the panel addressing the question of the “Continuing Evolution of Liberalism in Iberia and Europe”.
Dr Garcia, who is a Vice President of Liberal International, centred his contribution on the Iberian Peninsula speaking specifically about Gibraltar, Portugal, Spain and Andorra. He explained that since the collapse of the Centro Democratico y Social, there has been no strong Liberal party in Spain on a national basis, although there are strong regional parties with a Liberal tradition that have been in Government in places like Cataluña.
Dr Garcia explained that in Andorra the Partit Liberal were the Government from 1994 until 2009. He identified a vacuum in Portugal since in 1996 the PDS defected from the Liberal tradition and became Christian Democrats, although there were now new initiatives taking root in that country.
Dr Garcia then outlined the origins and development of the Liberal Party of Gibraltar over the last 19 years. He explained that there was a synergy with Liberal philosophy in the aspirations for free and democratic decolonisation through self-determination where the rights and wishes of people are what matter most.
The Liberal leader said the speakers from Latin America “proved to be an eye-opener.”
He continued: “There is normally very little reporting in Europe of the details of what happens in Latin America. Some speakers declared that in many of their countries what existed was a ‘false democracy’ in that people went to vote every four years but had a very poor quality of democracy in between elections.
“In some areas Governments were elected that did not apply the rule of law and in others people who wanted law and order or greater personal security were willing to sacrifice other freedoms in order to obtain this.
“Many useful contacts were made in the fringes of the conference and it was important that a Gibraltar point of view had also been put across in the lively discussions and questions which followed. It always provides a sense of perspective to listen to what is happening in other parts of the world and to share experiences with politicians from other countries.”