ANTONIO FERNÁNDEZ. BARCELONA 11/02/2020
From this month of February, Quim Torra will have a new asset for the internationalization of the Catalan conflict. The person responsible for this task will be Eduard Peris Deprez, who assumes the tasks of coordinator of the international policies of the Presidency of the Generalitat. His salary is around 80,000 euros per year, since the salary as a class A official and level 30 (maximum level) must be added a bonus of 41,403.96 euros. Its main task will be to coordinate the Presidency policies and collaborate with it in the “design and strategic planning of the development of international policies”, in addition to carrying out “studies, reports and proposals” on the actions of the ‘president’.
The person responsible for these policies until January 10 was Aleix Sarri, who silently left through a side door of the Generalitat. Sarri, according to well-informed sources to El Confidencial, will be Carles Puigdemont’s main assistant in the European Parliament. Previously, he had already worked in Brussels, as he had officiated as chief of staff of former MP Ramon Tremosa.
Eduard Peris, his substitute, has a trajectory forged exclusively in international forums. 20 years ago, he began working at Deutsche Bank to become the coordinator of International Relief and Development (IRD) in Afghanistan for 2 years. In 2011 he made a ‘stage’ of technical assistant at King’s College in London on ‘Causes of war’ and in 2012 he returned to IRD as director for Niger. From 2015 to 2017 he was regional director of programs for the Sahel and the Maghreb of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and in 2018 he founded his own organization, The Geoanalytics Center, based in that African country. In social networks, he calls himself “Mr. Peris” and in many of his articles he identifies himself as a “specialist in war studies”.
According to the bases of its organization, Geoanalytics Center aims to “create community resilience, counteract violent extremism and strengthen governance through locally adapted technological solutions”. Likewise, this entity emphasizes that its hitherto director “also supports military training and preparedness missions organized by the Joint Multinational Preparation Center of the United States Army in Hohenfelds (Germany), supporting NATO missions as an expert in The matter”.
Despite his international career, Peris has also paid attention to the ‘cause’ in Catalonia. In 2017, he was part of the sovereignist candidacy to ‘assault’ the Ateneu, the historic Barcelona institution: it was part of the candidacy that was presented under the motto ‘Ordre i Aventura’, headed by the philosopher Bernat Dedéu, who failed to win the elections.
Admirer of Gene Sharp
The new strong man of Torra’s international politics is an enthusiast of the ideologist Gene Sharp, one of the parents of ‘nonviolence’. “Success or defeat is never determined, as Sharp shows, by the strength of the adversary, but by the will of the oppressed to organize, especially not to deceive the enemy’s strength, not underestimate him, assess him in his right measure, know when and how to act; persevere despite the obstacles and offensives of the enemy and discouragement. And, above all, persevere, ”wrote Peris on February 11, 2018, a few days after Sharp had passed away.
His admiration for Otpor! Serbia (the movement that knocked down Milosevic) is also known. In this regard, he emphasized in one of his articles that this movement arose from the application of Gene Sharp’s theories in the former Yugoslav Republic.
‘Deconstructing the Otpor!’, Explains Peris that the first step of his promoters “was to provide the group with a strong personality by selecting a catchy name and a striking logo (…) One of the first decisions was to agree that the responsibility of the leadership did not fall on a single person, but the role of spokespersons – the one with maximum visibility – was rotating and the key responsibilities were divided into several commissions ”. That way, if some activists were arrested, the organization “could continue to operate. For this reason, they also insisted on maintaining the anonymity of the group leaders, who were unknown to most of their members. ”
His secret, Peris warned, was to “position the movement as a brand of exclusive prestige” and adopt “an easily identifiable campaign motto.” The similarities of this strategy with the Catalan Democratic Tsunami and its motto ‘Spain, Sit and Talk’ are evident. And with the assumption of these theories, Peris fits into the profile of the militant activist of the last batch of the procés ’.
Pressure on Spain and Europe
The enthusiasm for the Catalan process of Peris was such that in October 2017, one week after the illegal referendum, he wrote in the sovereign newspaper ‘Vilaweb’ (identifying himself as a ‘conflictologist’) that “if the Catalan strategy remains firm and persevering, the Spanish State could suddenly be dismantled and be forced to negotiate the independence of the Principality of Catalonia. ” And he compared the case of Catalonia with Algeria: “The brutal French military repression in the Algerian war, remembered for the use of torture, made France win the battle of Algiers, but lost the war in Paris. French society broke down. Some called for more violence (the armed forces) and the others, led by Jean Paul Sartre, demanded to leave Algeria immediately. In the end, pressed by all sides, the Fourth Republic disintegrated and Algeria became a State. ”
Thus, he predicted a “political paralysis in Madrid.” And he also predicted that “if the Spanish State does serve the indiscriminate force against the Catalan people, Europe would be obliged to invoke Article 7 of the EU Treaty, which would suspend the rights of the Spanish State.” He concluded that “the strategy of nonviolent resistance works, at present, as a real tool of‘ real politik ’”.
With this recruitment, then, Torra reinforces his strategy, based on the ‘nonviolent’ struggle that comes from Sharp’s theories and, more recently, from the brothers Mark and Paul Engler, authors of the ‘Manual of civil disobedience’ that promotes the own Generalitat. The latter was a guest of honor from Torra and the president of the ANC, Elisenda Paluzie last November, when he visited Barcelona to present her handbook translated into Catalan.
In reality, international politics and foreign relations depend on Alfred Bosch, an regional representative of ERC. But the internal pulse between the two government partners has caused the Presidency to have a specific area on international issues, with its own projection and regardless of what the director of the branch does. The incorporation of Peris reinforces that double-headed conception of the international relations of the Government.