by Robert Carbery
Human beings desire to be free. They want to live with people like them and reside in a nation that protects those freedoms while maintaining a rich culture to be proud of.
Catalonia, the region around Barcelona, Spain, is struggling to declare its independence from Spain.
Catalan lawmakers voted on Friday to break away from the government in Madrid as events continue to escalate in the country. Thousands of pro-independence activists cheered in the streets as the resolution was passed. However, heavy-handed Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy stated that “the rule of law will restore legality in Catalonia.”
Rajoy’s allies in the European Union and here in the U.S. are behind him, seeing this latest development as something that will make a united Spain a harder reality. The Catalan resolution passed 70 to 10, but many analysts say that the semi-autonomous region has no legal power to execute and no real authority.
The region of Catalonia accounts for about 16 percent of Spain’s population and a fifth of its economic output. More foreign tourists flock to this part of Spain than anywhere else in the country. But now, the vote is being called a rebellion and Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont could be out of a job very soon and be seeing up to 30 years in jail.
While many pro-secessionist Catalonians waved their red and yellow flags in the streets cheering the vote totals, lunch-goers in Madrid shouted to put all of them in jail.
Wary of the nationalist sentiment sweeping Europe, EU President Donald Tusk insisted Madrid “remains our only interlocutor” in Spain after the independence vote. After Britain’s epic vote to leave the EU, many are nervous others will follow.
In response, Rajoy is firing the Catalan government under an emergency measure, dissolving its parliament and calling for a new regional election on December 21st. The firing of regional leaders will be met with much opposition and we know how quickly things could get out of hand with Spain’s recent decision to beat its citizens who were going to the polling booths to vote for independence.
Spain's prime minister says he's dissolving Catalonia's parliament t.co/0tl9NxwjSB
— TIME (@TIME) October 27, 2017
The U.S. declared its backing for Madrid using “constitutional measures to keep Spain strong and united.” Let’s hope they don’t use force and use the force of argument instead. Germany, France, and Britain, too, all rejected the notion of Catalan independence.
90 percent of Catalans voted “Yes” in the recent vote for independence. However, only 43 percent of voters turned out. This was surely due to the fact that Spanish police were beating people who dared turn out to vote. Still, Catalans are divided over independence though the trend seems to be that they desire to rid themselves of Madrid’s interference.
Some activist groups have threatened civil disobedience measures if Madrid continues to restrict its autonomy. This will be an interesting story to track to see what the outcome will be. The EU does not want this to happen but many citizens of Catalonia are exercising their desire to be free and to be in a country they want to call their own.
Who are we to deny them that right?
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