Monday, September 10, 2012

1100 kilometers on foot for Catalonia

Today we are interviewing Robert Garrigós, one of the March to Europe promoters. We are speaking with him so that he tells us more about this initiative, his motivations for it, and who's giving him support.

The European march has made it to Strasbourg.

HELP CATALONIA: What is March to Europe?

Robert Garrigós: We are walking to the political heart of europe, to Strasbourg, from Catalonia (1100Km /684 miles) to talk to european members of parliament (MP's) about Catalonia's independence, to show them our determination to  become independent, and to ask them for their support when that day arrives.

HC: How did it get started?


RG: I thought about having this walk to Strasbourg when I participated in another walk, the march of the tolls, as we called it, and saw the great synergy generated among everyone we met.

HC: What kind of document are you presenting and to whom?

RG: We are presenting some manifestos on Catalonia's independence to deliver to the European Parliament. These manifestos express the wishes of some Catalonia's most important organizations and collectives, like the Towns Association for Independence, which now represents 40% of the Catalan population.

HC: How long are the segments and who is participating?

RG: The march has been organized in stages so anyone can come and walk for as long as they want. To facilitate this, we built a website with all the information needed on http://marchtoeurope.com. We have had about 10 people walking on different days until now.

HC: Have people abroad helped you?

RG: We have not found any international support yet, unless we count North Catalonia's support, the part of Catalonia in France, which has been enormous and very encouraging.

HC: Do you think anyone will be willing to help Catalonia or will they leave us to our own devices?

RG: I believe that Catalonia will find support from other countries, just  as other countries in a similar situation did when they became independent. However, to become independent is our job. No one will help us on this matter. Even more, we will find ourselves having to fight (non in a literal manner, I hope) against other european countries who believe we have no right to become independent. But once we declare independence, as international law permits, we will find international support, for sure.

HC: What do you think will be Spain's reaction to Catalonia's secession?

RG: Spain is a country with a poor sense of democracy, as it demostrates to Catalan people every day. Indeed, Spain will do everything it can, as it has been doing for centuries, to weaken our culture, our capacity to grow, our language, our laws.

HC: What is Spain's reaction to initiatives like novullpagar or El Prat's airline hub?

RG: These are two examples of the strategy that Spain is using against Catalonia: one way to weaken Catalonia is by not investing enough on infrastuctures like roads and airports. They decided, years ago, to build highways with tolls only in Catalonia, while in other parts of Spain they built freeways. Now, 67% of highways with tolls are in Catalonia. It is the same with Barcelona's airport, which lacks on investment to improve it and internationals flights, which are forced to go by Madrid first. This decreases Barcelona's potential to become an international transportation hub.


You can follow Robert on Twitter through his account @robertgarrigos or on the web through @marxaaeuropa or on the website www.marchtoeurope.com.

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