Heroes, disloyal and traitors of the process. The memoirs of the biennium of the president who fled, dictated to a trusted journalist
XAVIER VIDAL-FOLCH – 25 AUG 2020
Carles Puigdemont, seen by Sciammarella.
This book is useful: for the notarial minutes of his dialogues with a passive Rajoy and an understanding Felipe VI. Demolisher: for his vivid description of the moral misery embedded in the secessionist parties to power. Fascinating: for the adolescent insolence and the mischievous tactical skill of the protagonist. Frightening: for his frivolous partisan stubbornness. Distressing: by dividing the Catalans into heroes, he and “the people”; and a remnant of disloyal and traitors. Discouraging: for his account of how he perpetrates the intentional destruction of Catalan institutions and reduces it to a secret “bunker” that decides everything.
Assuming the distance from all autohagiography, the reading of “I explain myself”, by Carles Puigdemont, is helpful. It is an easy and dynamic text, informal, brusque, dictated as an almost daily diary throughout his tenure as president of the Generalitat of Catalonia to the journalist Xevi Xirgo: from his investiture, on January 10, 2016, until his escape to Brussels, after the ephemeral declaration of independence of October 27, 2017. Seasoned with anecdotes, gossip and episodes in which a personal appeal, populist in nature, also emerges: his propensity to play the guitar at key moments, his holidays at a campsite, his ease Trump player manner to make slogans.
This memory of Puigdemont’s short biennium starts from his self-portrait in the manner of a Greek hero. Chained to a transcendent mandate (but not of the social majority), he exercises his activist mission (overturning autonomism into secession) above any setback, risk or weakness of others, including his own: “I have come to achieve independence”, ” I am an instrument “; “I’ve come to break my face or have it broken”; “We only have to put the direct”; “We are going to Everest, we are going to all of them, and if we cannot, we will die trying.”
At any price, even if he feels “sun”, “hurt” and “abandoned” and called “radical” for his own, because the truth is that he sacrifices the moderate nationalism of the Convergence to which he secretly belongs (he is an admirer of Jordi Pujol ) to the sacrificial altar of complicity with the CUP, key to his mandate. Although he says that he is surprised by the harshness of the State when it comes to suppressing the insurrection, he is aware, well in advance, of its social cost: “Anything can happen”, “the gravity of the situation is palpable”; “We are putting many people’s lives at risk” (as a secret friend report warns); “If [from the Government] they decide to continue, it will be a butcher shop”, of which they wash their hands (the day of the referendum). And of his personal cost: he glimpses himself “in prison, insolvent and with a reputation for being alienated.”
The greatest thing about this explanatory text is that it leaves unexplained the strategic political and moral foundation of the gambit on which it bases its mandate: the return to the screen passes the referendum, when the independent argument maintained that it had already been done successfully (9- N of 2014), and from this derived the “mandate”, the legitimacy of secession. It only welcomes the tacticism that its repetition would be able to seduce more people (although it ignores the great demonstrations of the opposition, and despises the leaders). And he uses it with the result of deception.
With the CUP, as a unilateral consultation, to guarantee his budgets. To the Comuns, with a proposal for a referendum agreed with the central government because, although “we already know that we will end up doing so”, since “it is evident that it will not be agreed with Spain”, the objective is that later, upon failure, “they can assume the constituent process “. To the Spanish Government: the 46 negotiating claims presented (1-12-2016) to Mariano Rajoy “are not for negotiation”, since the referendum “is non-negotiable.” To the Catalan civil society: because the genesis of this memorial of grievances is perverse: “It is about coming up with many concrete proposals to show that in Madrid they will not propose anything; we must silence (!) the businessmen (…) that ask us for dialogue showing that it is Madrid who does not want this dialogue.
Despite employing these tactics of questionable loyalty, Puigdemont complains of receiving multiple disloyalty in the form of journalistic leaks and obstacles to the speed that he intends to instill into the process … from those he presides over. Especially from the Left and its leader, Oriol Junqueras. There are up to 41 passages in which he reproaches him for silence, disloyalty and betrayal: he is “an unfair vice president”; “He doesn’t stop dynamiting everything”, “they want to blow everything up”; “They accompany me stabbing me.” But also to the CUP and to its own party colleagues (then) Marta Pascal and Santi Vila. So the fracture in the independent bloc is not from today, with its protégé Quim Torra, but rather old and systemic, as his former campaign manager Toni Aira radiographs in his interesting book “The Other War of Succession” (Catarata, 2020). The president also encourages denunciations of the faithful against the infidels. And it insists on destroying those who have tried to mediate with Rajoy: the Lehendakari Urkullu, Archbishop Omella and Jorge Moragas “had everything planned, they have achieved what they wanted, it was a farce (…) they only wanted to make us stop [the statement independence], but in exchange for nothing. “
The story tries to smoke screens on his retreat, on October 26, in the call for elections to prevent the application of 155, assuring that Rajoy did not give him the “written” guarantees required. But, in fact, it confirms that the appeal to guarantees was a later palliative invention, as already established by the best and earliest account of Santi Vila (De héroes y traidores, Pórtico, 2018): he is going to back down because they accused him of treason: ” They will make me pass as the great traitor. ” It acknowledges in writing that “the day before” the declaration of independence “we had agreed to it” (to call elections). To the point that that same morning his chief of staff, José Rius, instructed: “2:33. I will call elections. Tomorrow [for today] at eight, everyone there.”
This “all” was equivalent to the multiform conclaves of regional ministers, parliamentarians, nocturnal visitors, experts and activists of different kinds that replaced the institutions of self-government in an assemblage key. They deteriorated the Generalitat, annulled accountability, cut down the institutions. In some cases it was a “coordination team that would be aware of everything”; in others a secret group of “four people of the highest confidence” who produced confidential reports; sometimes “the general staff of the process” that never went well; or a “secret liaison commission” with the commons … And the final one: the “bunker” of seven individuals immune to leaks, named like this since 04-15-2017 because “it must be like a bunker”, in the that finalized “the preparation of all the actions that will be carried out” until the referendum. It was the supreme decision-making body. Secretist, unknown, anonymously composed, never chosen. That democracy.