Local and Inland News

Brenan's house recovers his spirit

Gerald Brenan was able to bring together in his home in Churriana the writer Ernest Hemingway, bullfighter Luis Miguel Dominguín and a local flamenco singer, and its restorers now want to recover that free and open spirit of Don Geraldo, as the neighbours called him.

After its restoration, it is now a cultural centre that will open on October 29th that will highlight the legacy of "a marvellous Hispanist, an important intellectual who knew how to unite high and low culture", the centre's coordinator, Silvia Grijalba, said in a recent interview.

Local and foreign creators will use it as a meeting place for activities that will include poetry readings, music and theatre and Enrique Bunbury, Perla Batalla, Loquillo, Javier Ojeda, Fernando Sánchez Dragó, Luis Alberto de Cuenca and Ian Gibson have already received  their "Pasaporte del Club de Amigos" (Club of Friends' Passport) and will participate in the centre's programmes.

The library has works by Hemingway and Bertrand Russell, along with many other writers who Brenan invited to his home, and one room contains many of his personal possessions, such as his typewriter, his record player and the postcards he sent  to his neighbours when he went travelling.

One of the main collaborators in the project, Carlos Pranger, said: "We want to rejuvenate Brenan, because most people see him as an old man sitting in a chair but that's not Brenan. We want to show him as he really was - in the vanguard of the literature of his times."

The spirit of Brenan's wife. the American poet and writer Gamel Woolsey, will also be very present. She wrote "Malaga in flames" after watching the bombings with Brenan from the house during the Civil War.

Churriana was the place where he lived the longest, although many people still associate him with Yegen, in the Alpujarra, or Alhaurin el Grande where he lived out his last years.

Pranger said: "The house in Churriana was his refuge, where he wrote his most important books and where he was happiest, because it was here where he lived during the Civil War, which was when he began to write about Spain. Before that he was a writer without a theme, and while his prose was very polished and interesting, it was here where he found his true subject."


Gib concerned about Spanish incursions

The government is seriously concerned about the latest Spanish incursions, especially the one involving the Spanish warship "Infanta Cristina" which has sailed again into British waters claiming they are Spanish. There were several attempts over last weekend by Guardia Civil to exercise jurisdiction over Gibraltarian pleasure craft inside British Gibraltar Territorial Waters (BGTW). The government said these actions by official Spanish vessels are illegal and contrary to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), adding that it understood that the Guardia Civil suspected that the occupants of the pleasure craft had been fishing for tuna in Spanish waters.
The Royal Gibraltar Police (RGP) continues to investigate the events surrounding these illegal interferences with Gibraltarians' right to peacefully and legally enjoy the waters around Gibraltar. An RGP spokesman said allegations of fishing in Spanish waters in no way condone the behaviour of the Spanish agents who should have contacted the RGP for assistance, through the established Mutual Legal Assistance cooperation frameworks, instead of trying to take the law into their own hands in an area of sea where Spain has absolutely no jurisdiction, no right to seek to exercise control and zero sovereignty.

Hip Cádiz beach bar a front for drug-trafficking ring

A trendy beach bar in the Cádiz resort of Zahara de los Atunes was the centre of an alleged drug ring whose associates included three members of the military, a Civil Guard officer and a former Socialist councillor. In all, police arrested 56 people connected with the ring, which specialized in introducing hashish into Cádiz and cocaine through Algeciras. Police seized 716 kilos of cocaine and nearly four tons of hashish in the operation.

“We keep seeing more organizations working at both entry points, but this is the first time we have seen such a big one,” said police sources.

The ringleader was El Longui, the nickname of J. R. M., whose drinks bar in Zahara de los Atunes was the watering hole for celebrities during the summer because of the popular concerts he organized there. El Longui had contacts on both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar and controlled drug shipments in the Zahara area.

The hashish was brought in from Morocco in recreational vessels, under the protection of a local Guardia Civil officer and a municipal policeman who were both allegedly paid by the ring. Guardia sources said: “When they saw there was a lot of surveillance, they would divert the shipment to Punta Camarinal, a military barracks where the three army servicemen helped unload the merchandise."

The investigation began 11 months ago, following a drug seizure that led to the arrest of several suspects, who included law enforcement officers. In May, another delivery was attempted at Caños de Meca, where investigators photographed the suspects and began tying up the loose ends.


As the investigation progressed, 29 homes were searched in Cádiz, Seville and Valencia, during which €32,000 in cash, over 100 mobile phones, and documents were seized. A former Socialist councillor from Paradas (Seville) was arrested, and the Zahara bar shut down.

Spanish tall ship used to transport cocaine


It is one of the most impressive tall ships in the world but the Juan Sebastián Elcano has also become an unwitting tool for drug trafficking. The Guardia Civil found 127kg of cocaine on board the training ship last week – stashed in a storeroom where reserve sails are kept - when it docked at a port in Cadiz at the end of a six-month journey. The find came three weeks after three crew members were arrested at a port in Galicia, for allegedly selling up to 20kg of cocaine while the ship called on a port in New York. Authorities suspect the drugs were brought on board after a stop in Colombia. The authorities said the investigation remains open, as it has yet to be determined whether this was the first time the boat was used to traffic drugs and whether other crew members or trainees were involved. The three arrested crew members remain in custody in a military prison, each facing up to six years in jail. The police operation began in May, after US authorities warned Spain that the military status of the ship may have been used as a cover for drug trafficking.

More than 700 migrants cross the Strait


At press time on Tuesday, 700 immigrants had been rescued by the Spanish coastguard while trying to cross the Strait of Gibraltar on 37 inflatable dinghies since Saturday. On Monday alone, 299 immigrants were rescued - the highest number in one day since 2010. There were 47 women and 11 children - one just a few months old - among those rescued. All the immigrants were found to be in apparent good health and taken to Tarifa, in Cádiz province, to be treated. Some of them showed light symptoms of hypothermia, but these were relieved after they received hot food, a Red Cross spokesman said. The good weather in the Strait of Gibraltar in recent days has led to a rise in the number of immigrants trying to enter Spain illegally by sea in small inflatable dinghies.

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Issue 276 August 6th 2014


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Living and working in Spain