diumenge, 1 de març de 2015

‘Spain’s government is close to you’ - Really?

This is how the Delegation of the Spanish Government in Catalonia introduces itself to all citizens in its website (on top of the text, by the way, there is a photo of Ms Llanos de Luna, the current delegate, but the signature of Mr Joan Rangel, the former one, is still at the bottom). This shows how important being close to citizens is for them.

Mrs Llanos de Luna
Maria de los Llanos de Luna is a lawyer from Seville who has been holding public offices in Catalonia for several years. She was vice-director of the National Institute of Social Security (1996-2003), president of the Assessment Commission for Labor Disputes in Barcelona, and advisor for the Social Security’s General Treasury in the same city. She was also vice-delegate of the Spanish Government in Barcelona (2003-2004), representative at the Catalan Parliament (where she never uttered a single word in Catalan), and attaché spokesperson for PP’s parliamentary group, as well as member of the executive board of the same party, among other posts. Since 2012, she has been the delegate of the Spanish Government in Catalonia.

Being her mission, therefore, to bring Spain’s government close to all citizens in Catalonia, Ms Llanos de Luna has surprisingly taken as her main duty putting a stopper on independence, and has also taken a close look at town councils. So far, after just two years in office, she has already filed nearly 200 lawsuits regarding mainly five aspects:

Law on flags: As many as 62 Catalan town councils have been sued for not displaying the Spanish flag on the façade of their town halls. There are no reports of similar lawsuits against other official buildings belonging to the Spanish government, such as police stations or Military Headquarters, where only the Spanish flag can be seen but not the Catalan one, which is also against the law. 

Support of a Declaration of Sovereignty: so far 43 town councils that had previously approved motions giving support to the Catalan Parliament’s Declaration of Sovereignty, after its approval on 23rd January 2013, have also been sued by the Spanish Government Delegation, even though 13 of these lawsuits have already been dismissed by the judges. 

Use of premises: some city councils, such as the one in Vic, allow their premises to be used for organizing and holding activities relating to the self-determination process; others even chartered trains, and that was the case of Girona’s city council, so as to make it easier for their citizens to take part in the big September 11, 2013 demonstration in Barcelona. 

Fiscal sovereignty: Ms Llanos de Luna has sued 75 towns for their public support of fiscal sovereignty by encouraging their citizens to pay their taxes directly to the Catalan Treasure. Already 3 of such charges have been dismissed. 
− Paying fees to AMI (Municipal Association for Independence): Up to 14 towns have already been sued, since Ms de Luna considers this to be a “misuse of public funds”. In some cases the annual reported fees amount to 75€. 

In order start this large number of lawsuits, Ms Llanos de Luna has been using two kinds of procedures. The first one implies the revision of all the agreements taken by all the councils all over the country, which must be sent to the Spanish Government Delegation by law. If any of them is found to be against the law, it is sent next to the Attorney General’s office, and if they confirm any irregularities, then the Delegation goes ahead with the lawsuit. The second one requires a permanent surveillance to find out if any municipal representative does not obey any particular regulation. In this case disqualification is required from the court. All cases, if possible, are reported and taken to court so the political nature of the conflict can in this way be disguised as having a pretended criminal base.

Regarding it all objectively, Ms Llanos de Luna could be seen as a loyal and faithful public servant who only obeys and enforces the law. However, none of the previous delegates of the Spanish Government was ever so intensively scrupulous; never before had the Spanish Government tried to impose the Spanish flag to the schools as she has tried to do in Corbera de Llobregat; never before had they acted so ferociously against town representatives in any Catalan city or town. Never before did a delegate of a democratic Spanish Government dare attend an ceremony to honor the División Azul (a division of the Spanish Army that was sent to help Hitler’s army in Russia during World War II), held in the Guardia Civil’s barracks in Sant Andreu de la Barca. For all these reasons the Catalan Parliament approved, on 14th March 2013, a political motion demanding that she be removed and replaced, due to an “obvious hostile behavior and an absolute lack of respect towards the Catalan institutions.” Ms Llanos de Luna was also declared persona non grata by several town councils such as Girona. The Barcelona City Council even demanded that she be immediately dismissed. 

In March 2014, one year later, Ms Maria de los Llanos de Luna is still heading the Spanish Government Delegation in Catalonia “to guarantee a most efficient service to all Catalan citizens, men and women alike.” What kind of an awfully bad joke is that?

Source: Catalan Wikipedia and newspaper Ara

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