Jordi Juan 6/2/2021
La Vanguardia – Director
The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, turned yesterday to the situation of the Catalan independence prisoners to defend himself from the imprisonment of the Russian activist Alexei Navalni. Lavrov, who does not mince words, said that the Catalan leaders “are in prison for having organized a referendum, a decision that the Spanish justice has not revoked despite the fact that German and Belgian courts ruled against it.” The forceful declaration provoked the immediate reaction of Spanish Government saying that Spain is a full democracy, and Russia is not, but it is evident that this controversy is not good for Spain’s foreign image.
Every day that passes without the situation of the Catalan pro-independence prisoners being solved is a problem for everyone. Its participation in the electoral campaign is good news and a sign of normalcy that helps calm spirits in the turbulent Catalan political climate. The best thing would be, in our opinion, that they already enjoy full freedom. The government seems to see it that way too, and it won’t take long to apply the pardons. From a perspective of political logic, the Executive of Pedro Sánchez wants to wait to see how the 14-F ends before activating the nuclear button that the pardons entail. The decision, which may be understandable to most of the Catalan public opinion, is not understood the same outside of Catalonia and that is why the Government acts with extreme caution. A triumph of the breakthrough path towards the republic can freeze both the pardons process and the reform of the Penal Code that is designed for the leaders of the procés who have exiled themselves.
What Sánchez cannot take the risk of decreeing a pardon and find himself four days later with a declaration of independence in the Catalan Parliament. The “we will do it again” speech gives votes, but it does not seem to be the most possible way to reach a global agreement. The Catalan folder is a problem, as evidenced yesterday in the crisis with Russia, and it must be resolved with common sense on both sides, not just in one. That is why the 14-F result is so important.