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40 years of Franco’s death

Spanish head of state General Francisco Franco (L) and prince Juan Carlos salute the crowd in Madrid in October 1975.
Spanish head of state General Francisco Franco (L) and prince Juan Carlos salute the crowd in Madrid in October 1975.

Today is the anniversary of Franco’s death. People in the Spanish state celebrate this date in many ways: some still mourn the dictator, others celebrate they took power, like the Spanish king… And many are just happy to have gotten free from such a dictatorship. In a day where we still mourning for the victims of terrorism in Paris, Catalan people will celebrate the fall of a dictator and will remember all the victims of a dictatorship that lasted also 40 years.

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Since 2000 the association for the recuperation of the historical memory, has promoted the opening of trenches used to deposit those who were executed during Franco’s dictatorship. No public institution has ever carried out any investigation about these victims. During the 90s, only a few families dared to claim for the localization and exhumation of the corpses of relatives and friends.

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In the last 15 years, the above mentioned association promoted the opening of common graves recovering over 2 million corpses. Right now, the Spanish government has frozen all activities.

quimtorra_0Mr. Quim Torrà, president of Omnium Cultural (a cultural organization that aims to preserve Catalan language and culture in the world) emailed me in a newsletter a few days ago saying:

On 20th November is the 40th anniversary of Franco’s death. In a democratic Europe, the Spanish state is the only one that has never condemned the dictatorship. Franco and the members of his government were never judged in an international court. Furthermore, the few trials against Franco’s dictatorship are still unfinished.”

Due to these shameful facts, several Catalan social organizations, like Omnium Cultural, are celebrating today a special joint event, with testimonies and witnesses of the horror of the Spanish dictatorship, calling for justice for the victims of fascism. There will be protest songs, artistic performances and live music to honor those who suffered and died at the hands of Franco’s government.

For many years, the 20th November was a date when the heirs of Spanish fascism would celebrate an event full of melancholy for the loss of the dictator. Today, and for the first time, we want to truly celebrate democracy.” adds, Mr Torrà in his invitation.

grisesNeedles to say, I am also celebrating that we are free from a dictatorship, I was actually lucky I was born 2 years after Franco died. So I lived all this time in this pseudo-democracy that Franco’s descendants have allowed to happen for the last 40 years. I grew up listening to the stories on how many times my grandpa was put in jail for “speaking against the general” or how my father was beaten at school by the teacher because he could not speak Spanish.

How much has fascism conditioned the different mentalities of several generations here in Catalonia! Some joined the enemy, others are afraid of thinking on their own and only a couple of million people have the nuts to go out to the streets every year and claim for the freedom that was ripped away from us. Help us to restore freedom and dignify all of those who gave their lives and blood to defend it! Condemn the crimes of Spanish fascism!

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This will end well (or not)

An adaptation of the article written in Catalan by Toni Aira for the newspaper “elMón”.

These days there is some kind of collective uncertainty which is natural to the political challenge that we Catalan people have in front of us. With the current scenario, the poor suffering voters believing in independence ask among themselves how all this will end. The question is uttered full of anxiety: This will end well, won’t it? The most generous reply you can hear lately is “we have made it up to now, right?” or “ Mr. Mas has always a plan”. However, nothing of that give us any guarantee.

BARCELONA 10/11/2015 ANTONIO BAÑOS Y ARTUR MAS EN EL PARLAMENT DISCURS DE INVESTIDURA FOTO de JULIO CARBO
BARCELONA 10/11/2015 ANTONIO BAÑOS and ARTUR MAS in the Catalan parliamant for the investure discourse for President de la Generalitat. FOTO from JULIO CARBO

We are absorbed all by the dynamics of the last few years of “process towards independence, so far we have made it” idea; so we will now. This soothes only those who are in desperate need of believing it so. But we all know that it may not be this way, not necessarily, unfortunately. There is no actual certainty that we will make it, but the will of our people. Now CUP (Candidatura d’Unitat Popular- in English. Popular Unity Candidacy, which is extremist left-wing) is in the political equation having strong influence in the parliament and some power of decision, all is possible, but right now it is already jeopardizing the unity of pro-independence block in the Catalan parliament. In addition, the rest of players defending self-determination have shown clear symptoms of depletion in their discourses.La-CUP-exige-romper-con-el-Estado-y-reitera-su-rechazo-a-que-Artur-Mas-sea-president

Certainly, this is an epic and prestigious process: seeing how such a fragile self-determination process like the Catalan one is able to keep moving forward despite the pressure of such a lordly authoritarian state like the Spanish one, a David vs Goliat situation in the XXI century, of course, this is an extra motivation to resist. It does add up that Mr Rajoy and his party are overacting and confusing public opinion in view of general elections coming up next 20th December: “Catalonia will not disconnect from anything”, says the Spanish president like threatening but without mentioning the “how”. He is ridiculing himself and his government and his party, and this adds up to our cause. They say that all this movement is all trickery from Mr Mas and few more people…Anyway, the Spanish president must be doing all of that to help the Catalan process.davidvsfoliat
Until now there has been a immense disproportion between Catalan people demonstrations in the streets and the ballot boxes results. Yet, it has also summed up to the independence cause. Nonetheless, a potential lack of proportion between what people want to achieve and the political management done by pro-independence parties could indeed menace not only our cause, but also all the country. The Catalan parliament and its principals actors have now the last word, at least until we find ourselves in front of the ballot boxes again.

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Returning to Catalonia

I know I have not written here for a while, but circumstances and the amazing amount of visitors we have received in the past years into this blog, even though I have not published anything for 2 years, have force me into writing here again. First of all I would like to thank everybody who has visited my blog ever. I am astonished of the amount of different countries from my audience despite not being active for such long period.

On the other hand, after more than 5 years of living in the Netherlands, I finally decided last winter to move back to Barcelona. Now I can speak to you from a totally different perspective, from the inside. I must admit at the beginning I was a bit disappointed to see that most people are doubting so much it is possible that Catalonia becomes an independent country. I found myself in front of fearful people easily manipulated by politicized media. People who cannot distinguish what is true, because they are ignorant, who don’t accept evidence because they have been brainwashed.

Furthermore, I find that I cannot speak openly about anything related to independence with anybody I don’t know shares the same opinion. So nobody speaks about it openly and when you do, if you do not share their opinion, they tell you they do not want to talk about it with you. There is no “we agree to disagree”. Just one “let’s not talk about politics if we want to be friends”.

Upon arrival, I was desolated with this landscape. So I did my best to fight negativity and joined a meeting from ANC (Associació Nacional Catalana per la independència), in Vilassar de Mar last March. The purpose of the meeting is that each participant would bring in a person doubting about if Catalonia should be independent from Spain. So altogether with the help of Carme Forcadell, president until then of ANC, could expose them the benefits of voting for YES, independence. However, when I turned around and I heard people talking just before the conference started, I realized everybody was a true supporter of our independence. Despite most of us tried to convince others to join us in that event to learn the benefits about separating from Spain, they all avoided to come or even to talk about it. Especially those who were more doubtful about it, they did not want such a headache… Yes, they realize things need to change but….they will not do anything about it.

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“If only the 2 million independents believers could convince 1 Catalan person that is doubtful into voting yes for independence on the plebiscite elections coming up the 27th September, we would have enough voters to support it.” That is what Carme Forcadell told us was our homework, to convince one other person, only 1, everyone of us and duplicate the numbers.

I myself have been trying desperately to convince, but I get the usual reaction of avoiding the topic and never get a real chance for a serious conversation about Catalonia’s independence except for the people who believe in it already.

Anyway, I do not give up,  I have supporting evidences which I refer to again and again. I am determined to open the eyes of anybody who is blinded by demagogy.

Because on the night of September 27th I want to see a 62% of Yes from Catalan voters. Because I want the Catalan parliament to declare independence with those figures the following day after elections. This is our moment. Our process has already started and we must be brave, we are prepared, we can do this together. We can be free and break the chains from the Spanish government once and for all, chains that slave Catalan people for over 300 years. Freedom for Catalonia!

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Catalonia could become one of the riches states in the world!

Organization/Publication:    Capital

Author: Juan Llobell

Date:   4th April 2011

Re:      Interview with Mr. Kennet Rogoff

The economy magazine Capital, from DixiMedia Group, has published this week an interview with Mr. Kenneth Rogoff, the renown Havard Economy Professor who acted as Economic Counsellor and Director of the Research Department of the International Monetary Fund from August 2001 to September 2003; the reason of the interview is Mr.Rogoff best-seller about the last 800 years of recession (“This time is different” co-authored with Carmen Reinhart).

The author of the interview qualifies Mr. Rogoff as one of the most respected voices worldwide, along with Paul Krugman (professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University) or Joseph Stiglitz (Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2001)).

Here I have translated an extract of the interview, where Mr. Rogoff provides his opinion about the current economic situation of the Spanish state (click here to read the original publication in Spanish: http://www.capital.es/2011/04/04/kenneth-rogoff-%E2%80%9Csi-espana-quiebra-podria-caer-hasta-francia%E2%80%9D/ .)

What do you think of the Spanish economy?
–I have no doubts that the biggest challenge for Spain is to grow. With  20% unemployment rate, the country will need a lot of good luck to increase its GDP this year. It is absolutely necessary they achieve at least 3 or 4% growth rate in order to reduce unemployment, but this is not very probable in the medium term. Furthermore, it is clear that Spain needs a deep structural reform of its whole economic system.

– Do you think Zapatero’s government has done everything possible?
–The current Spanish government has not been fast enough taking the right measures, though they are doing some things. In time, we will see the impact of these measures and how they are being put into practice. Direct short-term impact measures are urgently required, most specially in regards to unemployment. Yet Spain is a country with various fortress and cannot be compared to other states. There are some excellent multinationals here, and of course they administrate Catalonia, a nation that if independent would become one of the richest countries of the world… However, without growth, all these deficit restructuring plans will not be sustainable. In that case, I can foresee at least 5 year stagnation for the Spanish state.

I hope it is obvious for everyone that this is a new of absolute relevance for the Catalan people. One of the most important economist in the world believes that if Catalonia would obtain its own sovereignty, it would become a rich country. This boosts up our will for a total break-up with the Spanish government, supported by worldwide respected economists.

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