Posted on 10/16/2019 at 4:42 PM
By Juan Claudio de Ramón, Spanish essayist, graduated in Law and Philosophy.
Protesters have invaded the roads of Catalonia after the verdict of Spanish justice against separatist leaders. – EPA.
Juan Claudio de Ramón. – D.R.
One of the most bitter experiences for a Spanish citizen in recent years
has been to see how Spain’s democratic reputation was questioned in the wake of
the crisis caused by Catalan nationalism in October 2017. A crisis that is, on
the other hand , the most useless in the West, and whose sole responsibility is
some frivolous and vain independence pro-elites who have pretended to believe,
as unfortunately it is common in these times of populist dialectic, that their will
was the Law. They have believed that they could act not only on the sidelines
of all Spanish citizens, but also ignoring half of Catalan citizens who do not
share their plans to separate from Spain.
Recall, for the benefit of the Belgian reader, certain facts that are necessary to form an opinion without preconceived ideas. The 1978 Constitution made Spain a social and democratic state of law. This Constitution was approved in a referendum by 90.5% of the Catalan of voting age who manifested themselves with their votes at the polls (with a participation of 68%, slightly above the Spanish average). Two of the seven jurists who drafted this Constitution were Catalan. Catalonia has voted in 50 different elections since 1975. It has sent more deputies to the Spanish Parliament than the Madrid region. There have been more than 70 Catalan ministers since 1918. At this time, the two presidents of the two parliamentary chambers in Spain, the Congress of Deputies and the Senate, are Catalan.
Feeling of double identity.
The Constitution has drawn a decentralized state, with broad autonomy for these “historical regions and nationalities.” Thanks to this, Catalonia enjoys a high degree of political autonomy in areas such as health and education. With the Basque Country, it is the only Autonomous Community that has its own police force. All Spanish governments, both right and left, have expanded, through dialogue with the Catalan parties, the degree of self-government within the constitutional framework. Thanks to all this, Catalonia is today one of the most prosperous regions in Europe. Two examples: the Spanish state has supported and financed the successful candidacy of Barcelona to celebrate the Olympic Games; and Catalonia is now the only autonomous community that has its four provincial capitals as part of the high-speed rail network.
Throughout its history, a sense of double identity has prevailed in Catalonia: a Catalan and Spanish identity at the same time. Catalan nationalism has always tried to reduce ties of belonging to Spain through suffocating manipulation campaigns, also using intimidation. In recent times, the two most cited false complaints are the alleged abuse of the language and the Catalan economy. Neither accusation is confirmed by the facts. Spain is one of the signatory countries of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages; The Constitution defends and protects the Catalan language. There have never been as many Catalan speakers as today. At the moment, in the public school of Catalonia, Catalan is the only language of schooling. With regard to the economy, it is not true that Catalonia is making an abnormal contribution to the Spanish tax system or suffering from an infrastructure deficit. Despite this, Catalan independence movement has not hesitated to use demagogic slogans in its campaign, such as “Spain steals us” or “Subsidized Spain lives thanks to productive Catalonia”. They came to show posters with ragged children, supposedly from southern Spain, saying that they live on the taxes of the middle classes in Catalonia.
The history of Catalonia in Spain is the story of a success that begins to degenerate when, under the leadership of Carles Puigdemont, an illegal race towards independence is unleashed against more than half of society. This break was consumed on September 6 and 7, 2017 when, in a session that can only be described as a parliamentary coup, independence, without having the necessary two-thirds majority, repealed its own Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia, when approving , despite the Constitution, the laws of the new Republic.
What followed is known to all. The Spanish Constitutional Court has suspended these laws. The reason for the principle is simple: sovereignty belongs to the entire Spanish people. Nobody owns only a part of the country, and nobody can fragment the common good to take a part of that whole. In spite of this, the Catalan government continued its career, organizing, against the judicial mandate, the referendum simulation of October 1. Before the inaction of the Generalitat to avoid its celebration, the Spanish police were forced to act under the mandate of a judge, – not the government -, in very difficult circumstances, to ensure respect for the law. It was a very difficult day. But it ended with only three people in the hospital. The number of almost 900 injured that has been mentioned is a pure and simple product of the propaganda of the Generalitat. Many of the images that circulate on this day are false.
There are no political prisoners.
The court decision that was recently announced is the result of these events. In their attempt to gain sympathy for their cause, Catalan nationalism grants convicts the status of political prisoners. It’s false. No politician, male or female, has been judged on their ideas. Every day, independence leaders freely express themselves in the media. Even President Torra, the successor of Puigdemont, is the author of dozens of xenophobic articles against the Spanish. On the contrary, the judicial conviction is due to the perpetration of crimes that are codified in Spanish legislation and that exist, under the same name or others, in the legislation of the major democracies. No human rights organization (such as Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch) considers these people as political prisoners or prisoners of conscience.
A democracy that fears applying its Criminal Code could not survive. Spain is a democracy equipped with the appropriate instruments, legal and rights guarantee, to guarantee respect for the law, to favor dialogue within the law, to overcome this crisis and to continue being, for Europe and for the world, An example of an open and inclusive society, a society united in its diversity.