Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fall'08 in Catalonia

Catalonia is approaching the final period of its way to an own state. International observers and journalists might have read the elections on March 9 the same way José Zaragoza (PSC-PSOE) did: as a support to Spain. But a close analisis would deny such an interpretation. Catalan votes for PSOE were nothing but severe opposition against PP. Under the PP-PSOE war, other trends grow stronger and stronger everyday and the predicted issues from September on are turning quite clearly against Spanish interests.

The ERC had Congress last week-end. There was a risk that the result could divide the party, being they the main secessionist political group. But it seems that the new leaders (Puigcercós and Ridao) are assuming internal opposition in a way that will allow them to continue growing after the crisis.

The Congress has been considered as an example for democracy not only by national journalists, but also for politicians from the rest of the parties. Consequently, the CiU, which is the next party to celebrate Congress in July, is seeing internal pressure grow to add unpredicted issues at the agenda. A group of the party had the strategy of forcing a crisis, having elections and returning to the government they lost in 2003 be it alone or with PSC-PSOE. Others, however, are pushing hard to force a secessionist position that would approach them to the ERC.

Meanwhile, Spain keeps on deceiving masses of people. President Zapatero promised on april he would make public the difference between what Catalonia pays through taxes and what we become through state investments (unbelievable but true: top secret for Spain; an example of public administration). Tha date has expired and a new date has been proposed.

Before August 9, Spanish Government and Generalitat have the mission to sign a document stablishing legal basis for Catalan funds when Catalan public services are about to collapse just because Spain has other priorities. Such mission comes from the Estatut, after all a Spanish law.

And still a third point is pending: The Tribunal Constitucional is to dictate if Catalan Estatut is legal. Such decision from half a dozen "wise men" comes after quite a long and accidental process: September 30 2005 90% of Catalan Parliament agree on a text after Zapatero promised he would respect the text coming from the Parliament (a constitutional counsel had already made the work); Zapatero and Catalan opposition leader Artur Mas renegociate and devaluate the text before the Spanish Cortes admit it. June 2006 comes the Catalan referendum and, although participation is low, the text is approved.

Now, Omnium Cultural and Plataforma pel Dret de Decidir are preparing massive responses to prevent the Tribunal from modifying a single word of what Catalan people already voted. If they do, the only possible answer will be a legitimacy crisis in Spain and a self-determination process widely open.

Wait and see? That's an option. But when it comes to democracy and human rights, I would not hesitate to support the victims of abuse. That's why the Spanish Empire is about to lose a new colony and continue its way to the origin, back to where they came from: Castilla.

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