CATALONIA an INDEPENDENT state?
What’s going on?
What better to start writing about than what I know the most. I’m from Barcelona. I was born here 27 years ago and grew up being a Catalan/Spanish bilingual. I’ve been abroad for 7 years already, I travelled through 35 countries and lived in 4. While travelling, I’ve been asked a lot about the situation going on in Catalonia; I was surprised many travellers and foreign people knew something was happening in my country but most of them had vague information and they were quite confused, that’s why I thought would be a good topic to begin with.
Historically, Catalonia has a past which most of the catalan people feel like ours. We love our roots, our language our traditions and our sense of humour (even if half of Spain think we don’t have it). Catalonia was ruled by its own constitution and law system until 1714 when Spain finally took Catalonia by force repressing its freedom.
As a curious fact, we commemorate that fight. We are the only people who celebrates on its National day, a massive defeat – War of the Spanish Succession – and the loss of all our constitutions (so give me some black humour credit at least).
Spain is formed by 17 autonomous regions, all very different and diverse. Few of these regions, besides the Spanish language, have another co-official languages – Basque in the Basque country and northern Navarra; Galician in Galicia; Aranese in the Pyrenean area of the Aran Valley; and Catalan in Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, and as a variant (Valencian) in Valencia – but, in spite of boasting a people rich in culture and tradition and potentiate the diversity the country has, the Spanish government has always feared the differences.
There have always been people willing the independence in Catalonia but the percentage wasn’t never that high. It increased a lot the past few years with the help of the Spanish government and its leader, Mariano Rajoy who, instead of reaching agreements and use dialogue as a tool to try to maintain Spain “happy” (that would also mean Catalonia), got completely blinded by his fears and forgot what “politics” and “democracy” really mean leaving us sometimes thinking we travelled in time back to 1939 – Franco’s dictatorship – and feeding indirectly the separatist movement with his disrespectful statements.
Few reasons why Catalonia wants the independence?
- Catalonia became a nation in 988.
- Has its own culture and language.
- Barcelona is the city in the world that has been bombed more times by Spain. (A bit curious most punished territory is theoretically “Spanish owned”).
- Lluis Companys (catalan president) was the only president elected democratically in Europe who got shot and even now Spain is refusing to override symbolically the case.
- There are more universities teaching catalan in Germany or Italy than in Spain. Catalan is actually forbidden in the Spanish Parliament.
- Every year, Catalonia gives to Spain 16.000.000.000 euros more than the money that gets back from the government. (That’s why we are in debt)
- Catalonia is the 16% of Spain’s population and contributes with the 20% of the GDP. But only gets back the 9.5% of the State budget.
- Spain refuses to invest in infrastructures or social action plans in Catalonia. (ex. Mediterranean Corridor)
- Catalonia’s parliament approved the Autonomy Statute which we presented to the Spanish parliament by 2006, 4 years later, after a long wait (too many pages to read I guess) they basically said “NO”.
- Catalonia’s president asked for a fiscal agreement similar than the one other Spanish regions already have but also got a “NO”.
- Catalonia tried to ask permission to elaborate a referendum on self-determination but obviously, got a “NO”.
- Catalonia realised there was a law approved already by the parliament which specified Catalonia could consult its people about any topic, so Catalonia did it with two questions on November 9th of 2014:
– Would you like Catalonia to become an State?
– Would you like the State to become independent?
- The Spanish president, Mariano Rajoy started alleging it was unconstitutional, the results wouldn’t be relevant and everyone behind it should be judged.
- The former president of Catalonia was accused of attempting against the Spanish Constitution and had to attend to court.
The votes were declared unofficial and out law and even there was an independent majority, the Spanish government kept acting like nothing was happening.
The constant attacks by the Spanish media and the habitual unfounded allegations by the Spanish political parties are exhausting, catalans are tired to hear we are nazis and fascists and all kind of insults when the only thing we want is to vote in a responsible and civic-minded way.
It’s complicated to make a list of different reasons or why’s and actually doesn’t really matter. Whether or not we get independence, we should have the right to decide by ourself.
After the events of the previous years, the independent parties from Catalonia joined forces and created “Junts pel Sí” (together for the Yes) and decided to create an unitary list with independence as primary goal and went to elections.
They won the elections but, to rule with an absolute majority they needed to reach an agreement with the “CUP” which would be the most extreme left party in Catalonia. They wanted independence but always have been on the opposition fighting for setting up more social action programs. It took time but finally decided to vest Carles Puigdemont (Junts pel Sí candidate) and now Catalonia has 18 months to create the basis of a new constituent process towards independence.
Not all the Spanish people hate Catalans and neither do Catalans to Spanish, most of the Spanish population is pretty unhappy by what’s going on in their country with the economical crisis and the diminished budget allocation for social welfare and healthcare. The situation now is tense but that doesn’t mean we hate each other in general terms.
I’m sure most of them would agree Spain needs a change and you can see how this change is happening in little steps by breaking down the two-party system that has been the only system Spain had since the dictatorship.
You could agree with the independence or not, you could think our arguments aren’t right, think we are wrong in every thing we do or say but it’s not really up to you or me, it’s not about any individual it’s about what the majority of a territory really want and that’s all we have been asking. The right to vote in a very pacific ways. If we get to vote and the result happen to be “no to the independence” then would be accepted but, until then, catalans will keep taking the streets every 11th of September to do the same people have been doing for years already; celebrate our culture, our traditions and our language while pushing the Spanish government to let us vote democratically.
11th of September – catalans holding hands from north to south of Catalonia (400km)