From the outside, it is usually said that Catalonia and Spain should negotiate to find a way to continue together. But from Catalonia we have tried many times, since Spain subjugated Catalonia by force in 1714, and we have come to the conviction that there is no possible understanding and that the only solution is for everyone to go their own way.
However, now there might be a cataclysmic shift on the horizon – thanks to politician’s desperation for pro-independence votes.
Catalonia: the independence movement
After General Franco’s 40 years of dictatorship, the international situation forced a transition to a system that is democratic – as long as the unity of Spain is not questioned. However, that has been translated into the alternation of two parties in government: the Popular Party (PP) founded by seven former Franco ministers, and the PSOE, a social democratic party but as nationalist as the PP.
In 2004, Catalonia made a last attempt with a new statute to find a way to recognise Catalonia as a nation within the Spanish state. However, the PP, the PSOE, and the Constitutional Court cut back the statute until it became clear that Spain does not want to favour plurinationality or recognise Catalonia, but that its nationalism seeks the opposite path: to dilute Catalonia in order to homogenise Spain.
That is why, in 2010, a powerful movement for the independence of Catalonia arose. It has organised the largest demonstrations in Europe, year after year, until today – and in the absence of dialogue, a referendum was even self-organised in 2017.
The reaction, both from the PP government and later from the PSOE government, has been repression with a combined action by judges, the police, the secret services, and the entire political and media network. Very serious things have been done against Catalonia, and we hope that they will now come to light and will not be discredited as in the past.
Electioneering – but with potential positive results?
This could become possible – because there has been a big change due to the election result last July. The PP won, but did not have a majority to form a government with the extreme right. So, its adversary the PSOE could form a government if it received the support of the other parties.
Then, the pro-independence supporters of Junts (Carles Puigdemont’s party) demanded an amnesty for those persecuted by the justice system and negotiations in Geneva, with an international mediator, to address the right to self-determination. Pedro Sánchez’s great lust for power has led the PSOE to accept conditions that are diametrically opposed to what it had defended until now.
Puigdemont had also set another “small” condition: to create three parliamentary commissions:
- One to investigate Operation Catalonia – a clandestine operation by the secret services, police, and judges to destroy the Catalan independence movement by inventing false evidence, accusing corruption, bribery and so on.
- Another one on the jihadist attacks in Barcelona in 2017 – to investigate how the Spanish police had the head of the jihadist group on their payroll, why didn’t they prevent the attack if they were spying on the terrorists’ phones, and why they didn’t warn the Catalan police.
- A final one on illegal spying with the Israeli software Pegasus. The Canadian university centre Citizen Lab discovered that at least 67 phones of pro-independence politicians, activists, and lawyers had been spied on with this illegal software.
In order to justify these commissions of enquiry, the PSOE has had to admit that there has been “lawfare” (dirty war using the justice system to destroy political opponents) against Catalan independence – something it had denied until now.
Spain’s establishment: up in arms
This has set off alarm bells within the right-wing parties and the judiciary. Until now, the pro-independence movement denounced these lawfare practices, but in Spain it was said that they were lies. So, the pro-independence movement was criminalised by inventing stories that were disseminated with great media power.
That is why Spanish citizens are reacting with astonishment, disbelief, and anger at the fact that they are making a pact with those they had been told were coup-plotters and terrorists.
The PSOE has recognised the “lawfare”, because it wants the support of the independence movement. Obviously, it would not have done so if it were not true. Predictably, the General Council of the Judiciary, the judges of the Supreme Court, and the corporate bodies of the judges have come out in a whirlwind to criticise the fact that they want to investigate them and that they are summoned to testify in parliament.
They have even asked for the disqualification and conviction of the deputy Míriam Nogueras who, in the Spanish Congress, pointed out the magistrates, according to her, most involved in the “lawfare”: Carlos Lesmes, Manuel Marchena, Pablo Llarena, and Carmen Lamela.
Until now they had had impunity to do and undo in everything that went against Catalonia’s independence. However, now they feel that this impunity could end and they are exposed. They believed that, because they are judges, they could not be prosecuted – and they refuse to be held accountable.
Catalonia: the truth will come out
We do not know how far Sanchez will go because of his need for pro-independence votes, but at last there is a juncture that makes the truth of what has happened in Spain emerge.
Europe should be attentive and not succumb to the temptation to cover it up or justify it to help an EU member. On the contrary – it should help to clarify the truth and press for Catalonia to be able to exercise the right to self-determination that it deserves.
The truth and a straight and democratic action will also help Europe.
Featured image via redoxkun – Wikimedia