|| issue 5, year XI, 2005
H. E. Fernando Arias Gonzalez
, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain:
“Ego-driven politicians should be
An interview by Tsvetanka Elenkova page 3
Without any complexes, democracies should have the relative, suitable instruments to be able to defend themselves. To preserve what is the essence of democracy, the substance of democracy - to act so that they can neutralize their enemies. The main actors are hate and technological progress - that same technological progress that allows us to fly from Bulgaria to Madrid and Paris or New York in only a couple of hours and that is welcome for the building up of peaceful and prosperous societies. But it has another face - the face that can be used against peaceful purposes too. Democratic societies should direct their efforts in such a way that they can work and promote the values of peace, honest labour, research, mutual acquaintance, development and social travel. What’s more, our societies should have a clear notion about the fact that we choose governments, which have intelligent programmes, that they should be strong and that politicians who form democratic governments should assist the development and well-being not only of their own country, but of other societies too.
Alfredo Martinez: “To advance in
the collective means to step back from
An Interview by Tsvetanka Elenkova page 6
Concerning the common traits between Bulgarians and Spaniards, I would discern four groups. In the field of geography, our two countries are situated at the two southern ends of our continent. This has decisively brought forth a parallelism in history. Our two territories have always been crossroads - a fact that determines the physiognomy of a nation. Bulgaria and Spain are the result of a great mix and are therefore lands that have traditionally received people. From a political point of view too, there is a parallelism between us, namely that there have been regimes and dictatorships in our societies and, although they have been very different in character, we have both undergone a transition period, which has led us to turn into democratic countries with solidly established, strong foundations. In the field of culture, it is very important to know that the development of all kinds of artistic, creative work is characteristic of both our nations. And the fourth trait - something common between us, which impresses me a lot - is the significance we attach to family, to the family structure and the value of human relationships as a whole. This again proceeds from our southern origin, from the fact that Bulgaria and Spain are southern countries.
Spain and Bulgaria: Good Understanding
and Privileged Relations
Alfredo Martinez page 9
Right from the very beginning of the transition period in the 1990s, Spain has declared that she strongly supports Bulgaria’s European future, that she walks side by side with her and helps her in her efforts to modernize and develop. In a period of only ten years, their Majesties the King and the Queen of Spain have undertaken two state visits to Bulgaria (in 1993 and 2003). The Agreement for Friendship and Cooperation signed in 1993 and the joint Declaration, which the Prime Ministers of the two countries signed in 2000, created a favourable climate for privileged cooperation in all spheres of life. Despite the fact that barter and trade between the two countries have yet to reach their full potential, the interest of Spanish entrepreneurs in the Bulgarian economy continues to grow. This is proved by the large number of commercial visits and initiatives, among which is the Bulgarian-Spanish Economic Forum, which accompanied the last visit of the Spanish Head of State to Bulgaria. The government and the whole state administration of Spain steadily support the process of reforms in Bulgaria. Spain participates in the realization of 15 projects under the PHARE Programme and the European Commission, which means that she is the second EU member state after Germany in the number of twinning projects carried out in Bulgaria.
Europe and Spain:
Integration and Constitution
Manuel Alonso Sanchez page 10
Spain was the first country that ratified the EU Constitution’s text with the support of 77% of those who voted, although they, unfortunately, constitute only 42% of the electorate. As is already known, the text was rejected by France and the Netherlands and for the time being the process of its enforcement is at a standstill. However, it is worth noting that the negative vote of the citizens of these countries does not mean an absolute rejection of the idea of Europe, but only of certain aspects of the document, and a negative attitude towards other factors that have nothing to do with it. The fact, which should not escape our attention, is that this is a complex and confusing document, which is hard to read; so a large number of citizens abstained from voting, as Spain’s example showed. But in no way is the EU threatened by a normative vacuum. The EU’s structure is not in danger as a result of the negative attitudes. The Treaty of Nice is operative. It offers a system for decision-making, which curiously benefits many more countries like Poland and Spain that have approved the Constitution Treaty.
Spain’s monarchy has a centuries-old tradition. With the exception of three periods in the country’s history - the First and Second Republic and Franco’s dictatorship - the Spanish political regime has always been monarchic. The monarchy by tradition depends on the country’s constitutional structure and the King is a symbol of national unity. The role of the Head of State has evolved and like all political structures is being modernized. The competencies of kings in other epochs - as, for example, in the time of Carlos III, Ferdinand VII and Alfonso XIII - have nothing in common with those of Juan Carlos I. The predominant needs and values of Spanish society today are very different compared with previous eras..
Bulgaria Celebrates the 400th
Anniversary of the First Edition of the
Novel “Don Quixote”
Svetlana Plashokova page 17
Jose Ignacio Cayen, Administrator of
the Aula Cervantes: “Bulgarian
Cervantists are famous the world over”
Interview by Nadia Stancheva page 18
The Spanish language has spread in Bulgaria in the last 4-5 years much faster than any of the other foreign languages. Earlier, the number of those learning Spanish was growing by several percent annually, but lately it has sharply increased. This is due mostly to the interest Spain holds as a destination for learning and work. There are currently about 30,000 Bulgarians in Spain. Besides, Spanish is an official language in the EU and is extremely popular in the Americas. More than 40 million people speak Spanish in the US alone, where it is the second most important language after English. In Bulgaria, there is a hard-working group of serious specialists in Spanish. The opening of the new Cervantes Institute in Sofia will offer lots of good opportunities. The Institute, located at 1 Suborna Street, will accommodate many more people. There will be both Spanish and Bulgarians lecturers with courses in Spanish at all levels as well as specialized courses in Business Spanish, Spanish for Tourism, etc.
Spain’s Cultural Programme in Bulgaria
Embassy of the Kingdom of Spain
The Challenge of Cultures
in Spanish Society
Francisco Oda Angel page 21
There is another type of planned, legal immigration, which in a short time has turned Spain into a country of 44 million inhabitants, of which 3.7 million or 8.4% of those registered by their place of residence are citizens of other states. According to data announced on 1 January 2005, the autonomous regions with the largest number of newly registered foreigners are Catalonia (170,000), Andalusia (142,000), Valencia (129,000) and Madrid (116,000). In relative terms, 15% of the Balearic Islands’ population are foreigners permanently living there. The following are Madrid, Murcia and Valencia, where their number constitutes 12%; Catalonia, the Canary Islands and La Rioja have just over 11%. Moroccans make up the most numerous community (over 500,000 people), followed by Ecuadorians (492,000), Romanians (300,000), Colombians (260,000), British (220,000), Argentinians (150,000) and Germans (130,000). Bulgarians are considerably fewer (70,000) along with Chinese (63,000). Only in 2004, over 20,000 Bulgarian and Chinese citizens entered the country.
Paco Pena to the magazine “Europe 2001”:
“People need to communicate by warmth”
Interview by Tsvetanka Elenkova page 24
Santiago de Compostela:
Or Are There Real Pilgrims Today?
The ancient Celts’ homeland is a centre of the third
most significant cult in the Catholic world
Mihailina Dimitrova, BTA page 28
St James’ disciples chose a beautiful and mystic-filled land for the eternal home of his mortal remains. Descendants of the ancient Celts, Galicians have created not only beautiful towns, picturesque villages, many works of local art, but also wonderful legends and myths, in which Celtic sagas, local beliefs and traditional Catholicism have merged in an unparalleled symbiosis. The so-called “cruceiros” in this region are unique. These are huge stone crosses with various themes engraved on them and are placed as magic guardians in key places - at crossroads and in squares, in the yards of mansions and houses, in front of churches and chapels. The magic symbolism of “the land of fire and water”, as Galicia is called, has penetrated the hundreds of legends about the apostle Santiago and his passage through the land of the ancient Celts.
Spanish Towns: Part of the World’s
Cultural and Historical Treasure
There are eleven cultural and historical monuments of mankind in Spain. These are found in Alcala de Henares, Avila, Caceres, Cordoba, Cuenca, Ibiza, Salamanca, San Cristobal de la Laguna, Santiago de Compostela, Segovia and Toledo. They are twinned towns in line with UNESCO’s initiative, in recognition of their picturesque nature, landscape and monuments. All of them have preserved their natural beauty, the remarkable wealth of monuments, the diversity of the architecture created by the people’s spirit and their way of life, through which one can feel the pace of time. There are endless opportunities to follow the universal path of the arts (Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque) and the living traces of Spanish history.
Seville: Old and Young
Liliana Tabakova page 34
When a foreigner tries to imagine Spain, it is the romantic image of Andalusia that most often comes to mind - with its guitars, beautiful, dark girls dancing flamenco, bullfights, religious processions... This cliche has reached us owing to the English, French and American writers-travellers of the 19th century. Curious, self-confident, short-sighted or keen, often imbued with prejudices, led by their aristocratic fatigue du nord, they visited those lands, admired the past and built the image of a natural and exquisite culture that reflected the portrait of pre-industrial society. Romantic notions have often hindered an objective understanding of Spain, and of Andalusia itself, with its rich past and the complex intertwining of cultures and traditions. Seville, the capital of this hospitable land, offers us a real feast for the senses. No wonder that from time immemorial poets have given that city thousands of epithets. Respect for history and tradition makes Seville a unique town, different from others, less affected by the tastelessness and lack of identity that modern times impose on us.
Spain’s Contribution to the Arts of
the 20th Century
Prof. Chavdar Popov page 39
When we think of the arts of the 20th century, we usually associate this notion with the famous artistic metropolises Paris, Munich, Milan, Moscow, New York, where favourable conditions exist for new tendencies and trends to flourish. It is there that a suitable climate of spiritual freedom with the necessary infrastructure is being formed. If we decide to seek the dimensions of this process in the light of the contribution of national artistic schools, we will easily see that the role and significance of 20th-century Spanish artists have been considerable. Spain has given the world a host of great painters, including Juan Gris, Eduardo Chilida, Francis Picabia (half-Spanish), Oscar Dominguez, Antonio Tapies, Rafael Canogar, Julio Gonzalez, Manolo and many others. But towering above them all are three extraordinary geniuses of modern art, who have definitely shaped its image and, with it, the entire spiritual culture of the century. They are Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro and Salvador Dali.
Cinema as a Reflection
of Modern Society
Antonio Jimenez-Rico page 43
It is not the cinema, despite the extremities to which it goes, that is to blame for the violence between people and in society. Military films are not responsible for the declaration of wars, nor do poverty and misery in post-war Italy come into being because of Rosselini, de Sica or neo-realistic cinema. Cinema is a consequence of the society that produces it and not vice-versa.
Spain Looks to the Future
The diversity and contrast that shape the image of Spain can be found in a number of its towns. Celts, Iberians, Phoenicians, and later the Greco-Roman civilization, lay the foundations of the first settlements. The Arab, Jewish and Christian cultures, alone and influencing each other, lead to the birth of medieval towns, museums of a rich historical and artistic heritage. Tradition, however, is intertwined with the modern spirit some Spanish monarchs such as Carlos III infuse in the new towns to make them more beautiful. An example is Madrid with its picturesque parks and remarkable monuments, which renews its image in line with projects for its expansion and new town-planning solutions. Impressive buildings are built, which give Madrid, Valencia and Saragossa their characteristic look.
The Kingdom of Spain’s Coat of Arms
Violeta Velikova-Kosheleva page 49
The Bagpipe: Galicia’s Passion
Spain’s entire north is unthinkable
without its favourite musical instrument
Mihailina Dimitrova, BTA page 51
There is no flamenco, no castanets in Galicia. Nor is there paella, bullfighting, long, dry and scorching summer months, multi-coloured fans. But there is Celtic music, Celtic round dances and bagpipes. There are men and women bagpipers, who wear distinctive folk costumes. There are songs and dances in the typical 7/8 format. How Bulgarian, isn’t it? Even the name is the same: the Bulgarian word for bagpipe, “gaida”, corresponds to the Galician and Spanish word “gaita”.
Bulgarians in Spain from the Sailor
Alonso de Ojeda through the Civil War
to Today’s Immigrants
Momchil Indjov, the newspaper “Sega” page 52
If we go back through history, we will see that the Bulgarian presence in Spain is centuries-old. Let us not forget that, according to one version, the discoverer Alonso de Ojeda - a member of Christopher Columbus’ expeditions - was Bulgarian, his real name being Dragan Ohridski. This hypothesis, however, has yet to be proved. De Ojeda is considered to have discovered Venezuela in 1500. Around that time, thousands of Jews were forced to leave for Bulgaria. In 1492 - the year Columbus discovered America - 150,000 Sephardic Jews were expelled from Spain. A great number of them came to Bulgaria. Between 500 and 1,000 Bulgarians fought for the Spanish Republic when the Civil War broke out there. They were the first to repulse fascist attempts to cross the borders of Italy and Germany. In 1996 a royal decree acknowledged the heroic deeds of our fellow countrymen. Spain declared, albeit 57 years later, that it would grant them Spanish citizenship. A Bulgarian writer is the author of one of the most beautiful books dedicated to the Spanish Civil War: Dimiter Dimov, who specialized in veterinary medicine in Madrid, wrote the novel “Condemned Souls” in 1943.
History as Fiction
Jose Luis Garcia Martin page 54
Bulgarian online photo club:
Manuel Rivas, Luis Alberto de Cuenca,
Diego Jesus Jimenez,
Luis Garcia Martin, Albert Balasch
Desislava Deneva, Elba Philipova
| Translated by Galina B. Cholakova
Revised by Jonathan Dunne