If Francisco Franco were alive today, he would be one of the proudest former tyrants that ruled in Europe. But even without Franco, Spain still relishes in his accomplishments.
The Spanish State still governs over millions of people and subtly oppresses them with its politics and, as it is becoming more apparent up until today in Catalonia, with its Police State force.
The origin of the conflict in Catalonia has a lot to do with independence and sovereignty, but there is another aspect that is seldom ignored by the media and the widely ignorant public: Franco’s legacy is still an open wound in Spain.
Much like things work while Franco was in power, the crimes of the Spanish State are never talked about, and have never been judged after almost a century since its heinous crimes were committed, yet, the same State whose crimes have existed with impunity, now criminalises the rights of people to decide who they want to be.
At the heart of the Catalonian referendum there are some basic rights, such as the one that allows citizens to peacefully protest. There are also more complex ones, such as the right to be independent.
The prohibition to demonstrate, which has been established by a Spanish judge after Catalan people took over the streets to protest the incarceration of government officials for their support for the referendum, is not going to be an isolated event.
Banning public, peaceful protests is a dangerous decision because the prohibition will most certainly be extended to all of Spain since a precedent has been established in Catalonia.
The current situation of Catalonia is the first stage of a conflict in which the Spanish government has never intended to negotiate. Instead, it has always shown its arrogance and lack of care for the people it supposedly cares about.
The conflict between Madrid and Catalonia can be compared to others seen in Colombia, Peru and other nations in Latin America. An oppressing, intransigent government, that follows the Franco doctrine to never loosen the chains, refuses to sit at the table without preconditions.
Instead of offering negotiation, the Spanish State offers repression, because there is nothing legal they can do to stop the referendum. Different from what politicians in Spain believe, addressing the Catalan desire to be an independent Republic can only be done with dialog, via politics, and not through the use of force, as we are now seeing. In this, the Spanish State has failed its people.
Different from what politicians in Spain believe, addressing the Catalan desire to be an independent Republic can only be done with dialog, via politics, and not through the use of force, as we are now seeing. In this, the Spanish State has failed its people.
Regarding the Catalan Referendum, which many are opposed to – although they have little knowledge of the subject and only repeat as robots what they hear on TV and what they read in the newspapers – you have to understand the following:
First, self-determination is a universal right. It is a basic principle of international law enshrined in several treaties, as affirmed in the Charter of the United Nations and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Second, the following characteristics are necessary to qualify a nation-state status:
• a determinable territory, fixed or not;
• a fixed population;
• a functioning government;
• the ability to establish relationships with other states.
Third, approval by the Security Council and the UN General Assembly requires the following conditions: the applicant must be a peace-loving state, willing to accept the obligations of the Charter of the United Nations, be able to carry them out and be willing to do so.
Catalonia qualifies in all aspects. It has the legal right to declare its sovereign independence from Spain. It is only for the Catalans to decide, no one else.
Then, those who oppose the referendum should remember the following: they can give their opinion as much as they want because they have the right to do so as much as the Catalans have the right to decide who they want to be.
In a democratic republic, such as Spain claims to be, no one is imprisoned for exercising their human, constitutional, civic and universal rights.
The Catalan consultation is not only legal but also claims the right of the Catalans to be sovereign. That is not something that only pro-independence Catalans think. Many who prefer to stay in Spain, but who understand that it is a decision of the Catalans and no one else also understand it.
On the constitutionality of the referendum, judge Baltazar Garzon has considered that “it is not legal”, but also has pointed out that “no system is alterable” and that “borders only fluctuate for the free movement of people.” Recognizing the problem, analyzing it and establishing criteria of “prudence”, are the lines that the magistrate has considered as ways to “solve the situation in Catalonia”.
What many people do not understand is that the referendum of 1 October, if it comes to produce, will not immediately solve the conflict in Catalonia, because the issue that is behind the referendum itself is an identity and territorial disagreement.
Spain has been too busy taking money and prosperity from Catalonia for decades and people In the region have had enough of being cows that are milked for the benefit of a corrupt political system that includes the useless Spanish Crown.