You may have heard that on October 1st there was a referendum on self-determination in Catalonia, where more than 2.3 million people voted (43% of the electoral roll) with 90.1% in favor of independence, and that the Spanish state sent 10,000 police to try to prevent the referendum, injuring more than a thousand people. Since then, the movement has remained just as strong and won all the elections, despite the ruthless Spanish repression.
I want to tell you why it is very stressful to be Catalan independence fighters and why there is no peace or tranquillity for us if we do not accept to give up our political objective, which is as legitimate as any other as long as it is defended without violence. But Spain does use violence and has sentenced nine Catalan leaders to 9 to 13 years in prison on charges of organising the referendum. President Puigdemont and other members of his government went into exile in Europe, and have not been handed over to the Spanish authorities because German and Belgian judges have not found them guilty.
The Catalan independence parties have helped to bring down the previous right-wing Spanish government, but the current social-liberal government is just as Spanish-nationalistic as the previous one and represses us just as much. In order to get on well with Merkel, the Spanish government accepted a negotiation table with the Catalans, which met in February and has not met any more, although it had to do so more and more. In July the Catalan side wanted to re-start, but the Spanish side are not willing to do so.
With the covid-19, the Spanish government took advantage of this to re-centralise the Spanish semi-federal system and did not let Catalonia govern itself against the virus. The state put the military and the police to speak every day at press conferences. As if it were a dictatorship. And the judiciary did not allow the Catalan political prisoners out because of the danger of covid-19, as the WHO advised. Out of revenge against the Catalan independentists. And now, somewhat recovered from the initial impact of the virus, we are once again in the midst of the hectic pace of politics in Catalonia. A pace unimaginable from other European countries. We Catalans cannot lead a quiet life or concentrate on personal projects, because the political news shakes us every day and keeps us connected to know where the blows will come from. Judge for yourselves:
In the midst of the pandemic the Swiss and English press revealed that the former king, put on the throne by the dictator Franco, is being tried in Switzerland for bank accounts with 100 million euros of alleged illegal commissions coming from the Saudi monarchy. Also, nine activists, arrested for 4 months on charges of preparing attacks, have been conditionally released, making it clear that the Spanish prosecution have no evidence against them and that the charges seem to have been fabricated by the police. A collaborator of President Puigdemont has been summoned to give evidence for having paid 14 euros in tolls on the motorway to visit political prisoners and for having travelled to New Caledonia to be an observer at their referendum on self-determination.
We have also been able to follow the televised trial of the four members of the Catalan police leadership accused of rebellion for their actions during the referendum. In the trial, we have seen that all the charges have been dropped but we will see what the verdict is. And then some documents declassified by the CIA have let us know that the former Spanish President Felipe Gonzalez was behind the terrorist group GAL that killed 27 Basques and tortured another 30.
Then the Justice has asked to be able to judge a Catalan deputy, well positioned to lead one of the big independence parties. She is accused of corruption, possibly invented by the police. And then they have surprised us with the announcement that, after six years of waiting, precisely now they will judge the former Catalan President Pujol and his family for criminal association and corruption, and in this way they will try to cover up the real corruption and harm the pro-independence parties in the next Catalan elections. The Guardian has also revealed that the cell phones of several pro-independence politicians have been illegally spied on through the programme of an Israeli company that is only sold to states to pursue terrorists and criminals.
The Catalan government has wanted to confine some municipalities because of the resurgence of the covid-19 and the Spanish justice system has tried to block it, claiming that fundamental rights would be violated, but in other cases and places it has not cared that these rights were violated. We have also learned that the former king supposedly has millions of euros in the palace where the royal family lives, which have been taken to him in secret cases, and that he administers them with a banknote counting machine.
The current king has implied that he knows nothing about this. What’s more, the former king’s ex-lover, a witness in the trial against him, has been threatened with a rifle shot through the window of her house in England. Like the mafia. The current king has come to visit Catalonia and the independence movement has made a multitudinous demonstration in protest, but the strong police deployment has not allowed them to reach the king, while they have allowed 15 people with Spanish flags to pass through. Violation of the right to demonstrate according to the ideology. The following day, a new televised trial began against four members of the Bureau of the Parliament of Catalonia, who allowed debates and laws in reference to the referendum and against the spokesperson of the anti-capitalist independence party.
The following day, the trial started against that promising deputy. And on the same day, two Catalan activists arrested for protesting against the sentencing of the pro-independence leaders were acquitted. They were held in pretrial prison for 8 months for being of Moroccan origin! Two other activists of Moroccan origin were taken advantage of to be deported on political grounds. There are still about thirty activists awaiting trial for the protests against the sentencing of the independence leaders. We have just learned that there are 190 accused of a protest of non-violent resistance on the border with France to protest against the sentence. Also pending is a trial of five jurists who acted as electoral Auditors during the referendum. And another trial of thirty people for embezzlement, disobedience… is still pending to be held some time in the near future. Even the current President of Catalonia, Quim Torra, will surely be disqualified by the Spanish prosecution from November on, for having hung up a banner denouncing the fact that there are political prisoners in Spain. And this will bring the legislature to an abrupt end a year earlier than expected and will force early elections.
I don’t know if you have already been made dizzy by this volume of news, which in other European countries happens every few months or years, but in Catalonia it happens every week and even from one day to the next. We Catalans are peaceful and only want to be able to decide our political status democratically, but what we are enduring is too intense and unfair. The EU treats it as an internal Spanish issue and does not want to get involved, but Spanish nationalism is going beyond all acceptable limits. The EU and the world must react before it is too late!