Monday, August 13, 2012

On Second Thought, Independence!

A few years ago, I was one of those Catalans who believed in autonomy as the means to achieve a gradual, beneficial understanding between Catalonia and Spain. The reform and rewriting of the Catalan autonomy charter confirmed that it was possible to slowly adapt our laws to the Catalan national aspirations.

The July 2010 ruling by the Spanish Constitutional Court which, for all practical matters, undid this reform, and even backtracked on some older achievements, left no doubt about Spain's intentions. It forced me to wake up, as it has with many Catalans. The new text of the Catalan autonomy charter, produced after strenuous efforts by all political forces to come to an agreement, approved by the Catalan Parliament and by the Spanish Congress, and voted by all Catalans, was decapitated legally, but not legitimately by a group of people who had not been elected to their jobs.

Spanish democracy is a mirage, as is Catalonia's chance of achieving greater freedom within Spain. The federal model, proposed by some, is not possible either. For a federal state to exist, you need at least two independent states to begin with, and here we have only one: Spain. The only possibility left for Catalans is to become an independent country.

On July 10, 2010, more than one million people demonstrated in the streets of Barcelona in order to ask for Catalonia's independence. However, the Constitutional Court did not change its decision one single bit. People expected that Catalan politicians, encouraged by widespread demonstrations, would make a determined step toward independence. It was not meant to happen—all we got were some vague promises. This was cause of great frustration. Those who in theory were there to represent us and defend us were not doing their job either. Catalans were betrayed twice. Once by Spain, and again by Catalan politicians.

Things have not improved since. On the contrary, the economic crisis has worsened, and this makes the 22 billion euro a year fiscal imbalance between Catalonia and Spain even more unbearable. Catalonia is sinking further down, and Spain is killing the goose with the golden eggs—which is what Catalonia has always been for them.

Oriol López Llauradó
Blogmaster for Des de la Mediterrània

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