What separatism hides as it speaks of 'democracy' or 'the right to decide'
I write these lines thinking of the impression that many foreigners will have when reading the complaints of the Catalan separatists. They seem to be pariahs in a country that mistreats and discriminates against them.
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That same impression is what some Spanish media ideologically related to Catalan separatism try to give. But there is a big difference between what separatism affirms and what happens in reality. Let’s look at some facts and figures.
- Separatists say that the Catalans have the right to decide their future, as if they lived under a dictatorship and someone decides for them. But it’s not like that. Like other Spaniards, the Catalans voted freely in the referendum to approve the Spanish Constitution of 1978, that Constitution that the separatists are now violating. Maybe you think that the Catalans voted against that Constitution, but it was not like that: 90.46% of the Catalans voted in favor, being the fourth Spanish region that most supported the constitutional project. In the province of Madrid, where the Spanish capital is located, it had a support of 86.14%.
- Separatists also suggest that the Catalans do not feel identified with the 1978 Constitution. Well, the 1978 constitutional referendum was the one that had the highest percentage of votes in favor of all the referendums held in Catalonia in the last 40 years. As an example, the Catalan Statute of 1979 had a 88.15% of votes in favor. The Statute of 2006 was supported by 73.24%. The separatist parties that have initiated this illegal break with the Constitution did not even get the support of half of the Catalans. These separatist parties (Junts pel Sí and CUP) gathered 47.8% of the votes.
- Separatists say they are doing an exercise in democracy. But democracy implies that we all accept the rules of coexistence freely chosen by the Spaniards in the constitutional referendum. It is not democratic that 47.8% of separatists break the rules of coexistence that 90.46% of the Catalans gave themselves. It is not democratic that a regional government should skip the current legality and judicial sentences, as the Catalan government has been doing in a constant challenge to legality.
- Separatists also claim that they only want to vote. This argument gives the impression that the Catalans have never been allowed to vote. But it is not true. In the current Spanish parliamentary monarchy, Catalans have voted in 13 general elections, 11 elections to the Parliament of Catalonia, 10 municipal elections, 7 elections to the European Parliament and 6 referendums. That is, in the current Spanish democracy Catalans have freely voted 47 times, in processes that followed the legal guidelines and that met the conditions required for a democratic vote. Conditions that do not meet the illegal referendum called by the separatist parties, approved in a parliamentary session that violated the regulations of the Parliament of Catalonia and the Spanish Constitution.
- Separatists also say that Catalonia has the right to self-govern. This gives the impression that the Catalans have been under the mandate of a governor appointed from Madrid for decades. In contrast, Catalonia was the first Spanish region to obtain a Statute of Autonomy (along with the Basque provinces: both were approved on December 18, 1979). Moreover, when other Spanish regions approved their own statutes from 1981 (in what was then known as the “coffee for all”) Catalan separatism protested, since it understood autonomy as a privilege that only corresponded to them already the Basque nationalists. This differential interest has led the Catalan separatists to always demand more powers from the Spanish Government, becoming one of the regions of Europe with the highest levels of self-government. This privileged treatment has been paid by the separatists with constant signs of disloyalty to Spain, promoting hatred towards the rest of the Spaniards and fomenting an unjust victimhood, as if they were the most abused region, despite being one of the most favored.
- Separatists say that there is a conflict that can only be remedied by political solutions. What they mean is that their challenge to legality must be closed with more transfers from the Government of Spain, and that acts of disobedience must go unpunished. The demand of the separatists would imply breaking one of the pillars of all democracy: equality before the law. All citizens are obliged to obey laws and judicial decisions. Those laws and sentences are the dykes that protect us from abuses of power by politicians. The idea that a politician has the right to circumvent the law and court sentences is a radically antidemocratic idea.
It is necessary to remember that the separatism has provoked that conflict with its challenge to the legality, and that does it accepting like unique law the law of the funnel. And this same separatism that speaks of democracy, at the same time imposes fines on the merchants who label their stores in Spanish, and forces the children to do their studies only in Catalan, radically totalitarian practices in a territory with two official languages, Spanish and Catalan. I must add that the Catalan government has imposed on schools a nationalist ideological indoctrination that is absolutely antidemocratic. Catalan children are educated in the hatred of Spain and the falsification of history to turn them into adherents to the separatist cause. That same manipulation is carried out from the regional public television, TV3, facts that have been subject of multiple critics for decades.
Finally, the so-called moderate nationalism has allied with far-left groups like the CUP (of communist ideology) to carry out this breakaway coup against constitutional legality. They are violent groups that have carried out campaigns of hatred against the tourists in Catalonia, calling “terrorists” to those who travel to that region for leisure reasons. These radical leftist groups are being used as a shock force to intimidate constitutional defenders by engaging in acts of harassment against politicians and officials (and even against their families, including their schoolchildren) and attacks against headquarters of democratic parties and businesses of those who do not think like them. The separatists owe much of their hegemony in Catalonia to fear: they have endeavored to infuse fear among all those who disagree with independence, even among children.
The international media almost never report on these facts and data that I have just pointed out. That is why, if you feel respect for truth and justice, if you consider yourself a Democrat and understand, as many Spaniards, that there can be no real democracy without respect for the law, I beg you to share this article with your friends and acquaintances. This has to be known all over the world.
(Photo: David Ramos)