Catalonia Sends Mixed Message to Spain On Independence Declaration
Carles Puigdemont, Catalonia, Catalan Independence, EU, Spain, Declaration of Independence, Independence Referendum
The President of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, has appeared to have looked into the eyes of an aggressive Spanish state and blinked. As Puigdemont followed through with his commitment to sign the document on Monday that ratified the vote for independence Catalonians had cast, the Spanish government began telegraphing a willingness to have Puigdemont arrested for the move.
Rumors of elite forces entering into Catalonia in preparation of an attempt to arrest the regional President began to circulate. After the rhetoric appeared to continue to ratchet up on both sides, Puigdemont came out yesterday, Tuesday, October 10th, and announced that the Catalan Declaration of Independence had been suspended.
Puigdemont said to te region’s parliament meeting in Barcelona, “Thanks to the results of the referendum of 1 October, Catalonia has earned the right to be an independent state. If everybody acts responsibly, this conflict can be resolved calmly. It won’t be us that prevents that from happening.”
While he was making the speech, Spanish forces were locking down airports in Catalonia. IN the wake of this pressure, it appears Puigdemont is willing to enter into negotiations with Spain.
After the speech, Puigdemont added, “We are reaching out in the hope of dialogue.” He sent a message to the Catalans when he implored them with a message of calm. He said, “I ask the citizens of Catalonia to continue to express themselves in a civilized, peaceful way, the parties to contribute with their words to lessen the tension and the Spanish government to renounce its repressive tactics.”
But his attempt to calm down the pro-independence faction may have fallen on deaf ears. The members of the regional parliament that supported independence met his speech with a cool response, with members of the CUP remaining seated and refusing to applaud at the end of the speech.
The youth branch of that party referred to Puigdemont’s speech as being an “unacceptable act of traitorship.”
Meanwhile the Calatan Social Party came out fully against the speech, as well as the decision by Puigdemont to suspend the declaration of independence. The Party Leader, Miquel Iceta, said of the speech and the decision, “You can’t suspend a declaration of independence you haven’t made.”
But, while Puigdemont may have suspended the declaration, top political leaders of Catalonia actually signed the declaration. Puigdemont himself also signed the declaration.
The move by Puigdemont has many confused as he appears to be offering an olive branch to the Spanish government, which has made it clear they have no interest in having any dialogue with Catalonia about independence. Rather, they have continued to threaten more coercive action, the type of action the executed during the election in which they randomly beat on voters to attempt to stop them from voting.
The Spanish government appears to have made it clear that they will meet any attempt by Catalonia to declare independence with force. Given this fact, previous supporters of Puigdemont are now wondering if he is the right person, after all, the head the drive for Catalan independence.
With Puigdemont and some others appealing to the EU, an entity that has made it clear they view the whole vote for independence as being illegitimate, with the VP of the EU Parliament going so far as to call it an act of treason against both Spain and the EU, supporters of the move for independence are left wondering if they have spent all the time and effort, suffered the blows at the hands of the Spanish Police, only to see their leaders immediately wilt before Spanish intimidation.
As for what’s next for Catalonia, your guess is as good as anyone else’s, and that fact has left a lot of pro-independence Catalans angry, frustrated, and confused.