Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Sunday, 14 october 2012 | Washington Post


Recommended article: "In Spain, separatist fever rises in time of crisis" in The Washington Post

We recommend the article "In Spain, separatist fever rises in time of crisis" by Edward Cody published in The Washington Post.

Some excerpts:

It was a soccer game of Super Bowl proportions: Madrid vs. Barcelona, Spain’s two main cities clashing in a legendary rivalry. But when the crowd of nearly 100,000 Barcelona fans erupted in cheers, what they were shouting was, “Independence! Independence!”

(...) Artur Mas, president of the Catalan government, has called early regional elections for Nov. 25 that are certain to revolve around the question of Catalonia’s place in Spain. Moreover, Mas has said that in the likely case of reelection of his independence-minded Convergencia i Unio party, he will convoke a plebiscite so the 7.5 million residents of Catalonia can decide on the status for themselves.

That, officials in Madrid quickly pointed out, would be leading Catalans into separatist illegality. According to the Spanish constitution, they noted, only the central government can organize a plebiscite.

(...) Catalan nationalists have long complained that their rich regional economy gets cheated by Spain’s central government. Between 8 and 9 percent of the region’s economic output gets sent to Madrid in taxes and other levies and never returns, in effect subsidizing poorer regions that get back more than they pay in, they calculate.

Against that background, Catalans have been increasingly outraged during the past several years as the central government has imposed higher taxes and spending cutbacks to deal with the debt crisis. What was an irritation during the good times has morphed into what for many is regarded as unbearable economic exploitation for which secession is the answer.

(...) For more than a decade, Pujol said, Catalans have felt frustrated by a desire in Madrid to halt and even reverse the broad autonomy granted to Spanish regions when Franco’s centralized rule was replaced after the dictator’s death in 1975.

For them, regional autonomy was supposed to be a process, leading over the years to increased self-rule, including in the fiscal arena. But that has proved to be a dream, with national governments of the left and the right determined to restrict regional rights in the name of patriotism and economic efficiency.

“We have been working for the last 35 years with the Spanish government to make this a comfortable process,” Pujol said. “Since it has not worked out, we are going to change our objective.”

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Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Col·lectiu Emma is a network of Catalans and non-Catalans living in different countries who have made it their job to track and review news reports about Catalonia in the international media. Our goal is to ensure that the world's public opinion gets a fair picture of the country's reality today and in history.

We aim to be recognized as a trustworthy source of information and ideas about Catalonia from a Catalan point of view.
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Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia