Anna Balletbò, photographed at her home in Barcelona – INÉS BAUCELLS
Àlex Gubern 2/5/2020
Anna Balletbò Puig was a MP in the Congress of Deputies between 1979 and 2000. She has a degree in History and Information Sciences, she has established and collaborated in numerous media. Since 2002 she is president of the Olof Palme International Foundation, an organization of which she was the promoter in 1989.
This is not over.
No, it does not end, and it will last. It is part of our DNA, it is not a souffle. Pau Claris, Macià, Companys … and now the ‘procés’. There is always a common line: that we Catalans always end up doing a terrible business. What has happened is not reasonable. There is an emotional part, another part of supremacism and the imposed cliché of a Spain that fortunately no longer exists … And deep down, an absolute irresponsibility, a profound ignorance regarding the strength of the State.
How does this nonsense start?
Artur Mas, in the midst of a crisis, and in fear of the outbreak of the 15-M movement, takes the first step. And he crosses a line that Jordi Pujol had never dared to cross. Pujol had much more idea of politics, and if it weren’t for his personal disasters, he would be the most important character of this time. And then there is Puigdemont and the entire political generation of “the three silver coins,” which are brutally frivolous and have made life very difficult.
They failed to gauge the strength of the state, ahe says.
Absolutely. I have known the State, and if you know it, you realize that this independence is not possible. And that Pujol understood. Not now. They make a movie, and they raise the intellectual debate as a real possibility.
Did the PSC become self-conscious about him?
Pujol was an old fox, and they invented the slogan of the PSC as a branch party, botifler (traitor). He knew how to delve into the contradictions of the Catalan sector, and that destroyed us. Morale got to eat some of them.
Pujol managed to be identified with Catalonia, with the Generalitat. What part of the blame does the PSC have in that?
Samaranch, someone with a lot of flight, once told me: ‘You were wrong when you did not agree with Pujol. Build an administration from scratch, create customs and customs … you should be there. ‘ And he was right. In the National Council of the PSC in which it was decided that we did not enter the unity government offered by Pujol, only two of us opposed it. It was a mistake.
The PSC does not enter, and Pujol begins to chain absolute majorities.
Pujol was the master of grievance, and on that he builds his domain. Tarradellas, who like Pujol and Samaranch, was also an old fox, told me: ‘Pujol will always win. He asks Madrid for one thing: if they give it to him, he already has it. If not, he mounts the number here and wins votes. “
Was the great mistake of the Catalan left not to denounce, or not to see, the Hispanic-phobic background that pujolism had and has inherited the independence movement?
Well maybe yes, because that was there. And maybe we were too naive, and we didn’t see it, or we didn’t want to see it. The result is what it is.
The same thing happened with corruption, particularly that of the Pujols. Everyone knew it, it is said now.
I do not know. Those who paid the commissions did know it. We suspected it, but we didn’t have the proof.
And when the left comes to the Government, the tripartite ends as it ends.
Maragall had looked at it in a thousand ways, and with this electoral system it was impossible to win, like now. There was no alternative if we did not add ERC and ICV. But those games were not mature. Maragall leaves Carod as acting president, and the first thing he does is go to France to meet ETA. It is all said.
Seen in perspective, the reform of the Statute was a mistake?
Pasqual did the Games, and he was the best mayor Barcelona has had in many years. He transforms the city, and then he wants to do something for Catalonia, and he thinks, perhaps wrongly, that this could happen through a new Statute.
It did not work.
No. I said to Maragall: “Pasqual, you can’t have all the fronts open.” I told him that at that time the right wing was strong, not like it was with the right wing parties at the beginning of the Transition. He insisted to Maragall: “Let’s change what has to be changed in the Statute, but let’s not set the counter to zero because that is impossible.” The counter to zero did not put it nor Felipe González having an absolute majority. It was fighting against too many things, and the atmosphere here was one of a university assembly.
That Statute was actually a constitutional change.
Before the Statute was approved, one day I ran into Miquel Iceta at the Puente Aéreo: I took out the draft underlined with everything that he saw as unconstitutional … Iceta did not take two seconds to get his own text, even with more things underlined. We were aware that this was nonsense, and Iceta at the time gave it up for lost.
Go ahead, but in a bad way.
Yes, and there was everything: the double game of Mas, the PP and the tables throughout Spain collecting signatures, something that even Rajoy acknowledges was a mistake. Everything was poisoned, there and here, where they knew how to take advantage of it to warm the atmosphere … With the Statute we had to be more modest: reform, but not from scratch.
And here we come. How do we redirect this?
I don’t know if redirecting is the best word, because it implies getting somewhere, and I honestly don’t know where. The first thing we should do is calm down all of us, and fix it between us. But I am not optimistic at all. But there is an alternative, to raise the level of the political debate.
The ERC and Junts show is sensational.
Junts has Aragonès on the grill, and now they fry him here, now there. It is humiliating, immoral. I wondered before if the PSC had had Stockholm syndrome with Pujol and CiU. I don’t know, what I am clear about is that these ERC ones do have it, and huge. They have a subaltern class complex. Be careful, someone at the PSC also has it.