Spain Is Now 'Totalitarian,' Says Catalan Vice President

President Carles Puigdemont, center, with Vice President Oriol Junqueras, left. Via the AP.
President Carles Puigdemont, center, with Vice President Oriol Junqueras, left. Via the AP.

Spain has made its plot to take over the region of Catalonia official. Madrid Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said that he will remove Catalonia’s President Carles Puigdemont, invoking a constitutional rule that Spain can take steps to stop any region which “acts in a way that is seriously prejudicial to the general interest of Spain.” The region has been in an uproar since the violent October 1st referendum for independence in which dozens of photos and videos showed riot police beating voters and shooting rubber bullets into the crowd. They carried away this old lady. It looks a lot like they broke this woman’s fingers. 761 people were reportedly injured. According to the Guardian, 90 percent of voters who turned out that day voted for independence.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Catalan Vice President Oriol Junqueras called Rajoy’s plan “totalitarianism.” Before the October 1st vote, the UN human rights council condemned Spain’s aggression as a violation of democratic rights.

Catalonia, a key economic generator which includes Barcelona, and a region with its own Parliament and President, has debated sovereignty for decades. On Friday, Catalonians withdrew around $188 from banks in protest.

Advertisement

Spain has also promised to take over Catalonia’s public TV station, which sounds...sinister.

The Spanish Senate will vote on whether to remove Puigdemont and suspend the region’s autonomy next week. They are expected to vote in favor, the New York Times reports.

Advertisement

Staff reporter, Gizmodo. wkimball @ gizmodo

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

Jerry-Netherland
Jerry-Netherland

Sorry, Whitney, but this write-up is a terrible simplification of what’s going on. You may wish to learn more about why Spain is cracking down on the secessionists. 

I have lived in both Barcelona and Madrid. At least half the population in Catalonia isn’t Catalan. Think how many people in NY or LA are from other parts of the country, and would not be okay if they were to try to secede. The same applies to Barcelona, and Spaniards living in Catalonia (often second and third generation) don’t share the secessionist passion.

Barcelona has some serious problems that have nothing to do with the Spanish government, and despite the promises of the local government, secession would have no beneficial effect. Housing costs rival NY SF and LA, gentrification has destroyed ancient neighborhoods (Barcelonetta is like NY’s meatpacking district; it was all centuries-old blue collar housing, which since the early 2000s became a pricey yuppie district with a staggering number of housing units exclusively being used as airbnb stock. A real Catalan neighborhood destroyed).

With EU membership unlikely for years to come, how can Catalan independece be sustainable? Two models that come to mind are Monaco (much smaller, and existing primarily on dodgy banking practices) and Switzerland (more dodgy banking, with a millennium of history) but Catalonia’s own banks are getting out; La Caixa, the biggest, moved headquarters out of Catalonia last week.

These are just a few elements of the chaos going on there. Another one that Americans should certainly relate to, is Russia’s involvement in stimulating unrest in yet another powerful, affluent western country (Spain is the 5th largest economy in the EU). There’s been a Catalan independence movement for decades, but it has thus far served to procure for Catalonia ever greater autonomy while remaining a part of Spain. The difference now is that - as they did in the USA, France, The Netherlands, Germany, and France (and even the Moscow-based “Cal-exit” effort) - Russia is working hard to foment disunion in every powerful NATO state.

There’s so much more going on here than what’s being reported.