Gibraltar has taken notice of the reports in the UK's press which confirm that, for several years, Spain has been actively engaged in anti-Gibraltar lobbying in Washington DC.
These reports make it clear that Spanish officials have written to and met with those Members of Congress who signed up to a resolution supporting Gibraltar, they complained to any Congressmember who visited Gibraltar and they protested to those Members of Congress who met the Gibraltar delegation during the latter’s visits to Washington.
Indeed, on some occasions they were even known to protest to Congressional offices even before such meetings had even been publicised!
All this activity has been well-known to the Gibraltar Government and, indeed, the Deputy Chief Minister has briefed it to the Gibraltar Parliament in several of his Budget speeches.
In these speeches, the Government of Gibraltar has made it clear that these various Spanish tactics have been counter-productive. Various Congressmen have made it utterly clear that they will refuse to be dictated to by Spanish officials and that they will continue to visit Gibraltar whenever they wish.
So as to counter these underhand tactics, the Government of Gibraltar has provided well over one hundred briefings to Congressional offices and to those of the Trump administration. Furthermore, several groups of Congressmembers, the Appropriations Committee and the American Chamber of Commerce have accepted invitations to visit The Rock so that they could see the reality of the situation for themselves.
In addition, Gibraltar’s Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo QC and Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Joseph Garcia, have paid their own visits to Washington DC in order to show their support for those Members of Congress who have resisted Spanish pressure.
During these visits, they have met with Congressmen George Holding who has tabled a Resolution which salutes the long and historic relationship between Gibraltar and the United States and which supports Gibraltar’s right to self-determination. That Resolution now has 43 co-sponsors.
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said, ‘As a result of Gibraltar’s outreach program on which the Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Joseph Garcia has led since we were first elected, and as a consequence of our engagement with Washington, there is now a better appreciation of our position which counters the Spanish propaganda. Any disruption of the status quo in the part of the Mediterranean is in nobody’s interests and so we will continue to present our arguments to the policy-makers in Washington and, in that way, we hope to put the record straight.’