Lola García, 23 August 2021
Catalunya | Last minute of the pardons and the departure of Junqueras, Turull, Romeva, Forn, Bassa and Rull Quique García / EFE
The course of history will dictate how the aspiration of a part of Catalan society to secession evolves. Also how will the political leaders who advocate for independence act, if actions like those of 2017 will be repeated or not. When Pedro Sánchez was about to approve the pardons for the procés prisoners, some voices warned that the convicts insisted that they will “do it again” and that, therefore, the grace measure was not applicable. The truth is that no one can guarantee that others will follow the same path that led them to prison. And it is also true that the independence movement continues to play rhetorical ambiguity in that sense. The president, however, considered it necessary to undertake the pardons for reasons not only substantive, to put Catalan politics on a path of normalization, but also more temporary, to favor governability during his mandate. Not a few in his own cabinet advised him not to do so, some more in his party and, of course, a large part of the opposition led by the Popular Party.
No one will stop being an independentist in Catalonia because its political leaders are pardoned, whom they consider unjustly condemned. In any case, a sector favorable to secession can put its activism on the fallow if it considers that the moment is not propitious or that there is not yet enough support to make that objective a reality. But what is clear is that Spanish society has assimilated the pardons with greater ease than some leaders predicted. If the PP managed to collect four million signatures against the Statute, now it has not reached half a million. Perhaps the most morbid opposition was led by Felipe González, a former defender of pardons for those convicted by the GAL. The veteran former president was opposed to forgiveness in the case of the procés. During the tribute to Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, the day before the Council of Ministers approved the pardons, González, in an obvious way but without citing that measure, declared: “There are some decisions that lead us to difficult and narrow alleys with complicated exits” . It does not seem that Spanish society has interpreted it the same way.