In recent months, and after the elections to the Catalan Parliament held in September 2015 that granted an independence majority in its hemicycle, the claim to the right of self-determination of Catalonia has been constant. In order to put this situation in context, a little history has to be made, especially because in Latin America, given the way in which its states were formed, it is difficult to understand that desire, even if those who think are intellectuals or defend similar claims for Other territories and peoples.
Certainly the historical education received in Mexico from the old colonization metropolis is not far from that received by those who studied in Spain under the dictatorial regime of Francisco Franco. The autocrat proclaimed all-powerful after a civil war following his uprising against a democracy, the second Hispanic Republic. In that history, false in its content, it was affirmed that the Catholic kings had united a country through a marriage. Isabel de Castilla and Fernando de Aragón were husbands, but this did not mean a territorial, political or economic union. In fact Isabel's death brought Fernando back to his homeland, and only returned as regent of Castile by the request of the Castilian nobles because of the impossibility of his daughter, Juana (la loca), to govern. So it is that the future emperor and his descendants, Charles V, signed as kings or princes of each of the territories of his reign, in no case as a unit, not even in the Iberian peninsula. Any serious historical study reaffirms what has been said, as well as the many revolts and clashes between Catalonia and the Castilian crown, where surely the one of 1640 represented a milestone from which the current Catalan hymn, the reapers, results from the many versions of a popular song . Violences were repeated in the well-known war of succession, in the early eighteenth century, when the lack of an heir of the house of the Austrias, the descendants of the Emperor Charles V, produced a division of interests. The Aragonese supported a candidate from Austria, who claimed to continue having political freedoms, while Castile proposed a French Bourbon - a royal house that had as its maximum political centralization and cultural unification. And who does not believe that it observes the French history and the systematic elimination of their idiomatic differences. The result was a new Catalan defeat, which marks the day of its national celebration on September 11, when the capital Barcelona falls after months of stalking and bombing of the then walled city. From there the Bourbon reforms ended Catalan institutions and put in check their own language, Catalan.
This preamble is fundamental to understand that current grievances have long historical breath, and are more visible in a state than ever, or with very short lapses of time, has been a real democracy based on liberal principles. Absolutist reigns or military dictatorships were the Spanish characteristic, until they relied on the so-called political transition after the death of General Franco in 1975. Such a transition has been taken as a model, an example of what a society must do to reach a Coexistence in the plurality of ideas and cultural expressions. The famous "coffee for all", under a parliamentary monarchy as some of the most democratic societies in Europe, even created a new political-territorial map of the country, establishing autonomous communities in a system that, without being federal, gave the Impression of satisfying all the citizens of the country. Parliaments, presidents of autonomous communities, autonomous statutes - a regional constitution - and power over certain issues, such as education and health, have characterized this way of structuring the state, as well as an economic "solidarity" to equalize all its territories.
However, grievances are comparative and seldom cease as easily as desired. A fundamental fact in this history, summarized here, is the approval by referendum of a new statute of Catalonia on June 18, 2006. This text was also approved by the Spanish Congress but never entered into force when denounced by the Popular Party (PP), now in power, and finally was disallowed by the Constitutional Court. Its novelties were in the bases of economic financing, in addition to the recognition of Catalunya as a nation and its language, Catalan, with the same considerations as Castilian. This circumstance meant a clear rupture of the status quo that had prevailed in previous years where a large part of Catalan political forces were responsible for the stability of Spanish governments, both the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) and the PP. Same circumstance that has raised the desire for self-determination with the increase of votes to the parties that advocate it and even made some who did not have it in its political program until then incorporated it, as was the old Democratic Convergence Of Catalunya (CDC), today Partit Demócrata Europeo Català (PDCAT).
Today, a flood of news, related to political conflict, circulates in the media and reflects the different positions of actors involved, all with a clear background that is the misunderstanding between the Spanish government and Catalan. From Catalonia it is proposed to hold a referendum to define the Catalans' desire to continue within the framework of the Spanish State or to opt for an independent Republic. While from the powers of Madrid are protected in the Constitution to deny the right to popular consultation, a fact that has led many Catalan politicians before the courts and laws and measures issued from the autonomous government to be repealed by the Constitutional Court . It should be remembered that Spanish judicial independence is also being questioned by international bodies - it is logical to think that a good part of the judges are appointed from the governments in turn. An example of this is the report of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), linked to the Council of Europe, and where they harshly criticize the lack of judicial independence in Spain.1
A clear political impasse surrounded by scandals such as the so-called "Operation Catalonia" and recently has again uncovered the online newspaper Público, where through recordings can be seen from the Spanish Ministry of Interior, and with the help of police and judicial officials , Set up a plot to persecute or create false accusations to Catalan independence politicians, a situation that is barely going to be investigated in the Spanish Congress when a commission was approved for it in February 2017. To this must be added that the current PP government Has on its side virtually all audiovisual media and written, something visible in the composition nothing plural of its tertulianos and creators of opinion. This issue was endorsed by international studies showing the intervention of public administrations, after six years of follow-up (2005-2011), which can be read in the report "Mapping Digital Media" built by the Open Society Foundations.2
The battle for the spread of the Catalan situation has also taken to Europe, where the Catalan government has defended in different ways its message in favor of a referendum, in the style that celebrated Scotland with the same motives recently. Dissemination work that has been constantly countered by the PP government and its current PSOE collaborators in order to prevent any Catalan demonstration outside the framework of the Constitution, which has become an irremovable law.
The political battle has also spread through intellectuals like Arturo Pérez-Reverte or Mario Vargas Llosa, who following the path of Francisco de Quevedo have become maximum exponents of the anticatalanismo; A position well known for the construction of Spanish national discourse and even has situations as surreal as the text of the vice-secretary for political coordination of the PP in Andalusia, Toni Martín Iglesias, whose name became viral in social networks after a visit to Catalonia and Commented the following:
I leave Catalonia without having achieved it, I confess. No matter how much I have looked for it, I have had no luck [...]. I came looking for that (we all have a friend that has happened to him) that you say good morning and he answers in Catalan, and you say "sorry, I do not understand" and he continues to speak in Catalan. But I have not found it [...]. I was also looking for someone who does not look at you or does it with a face of disgust (we all have a friend that has happened) when you see that you are from another part of Spain. But hey, no trace [...]. I left with my Girona family after six days without having found more than friendly people (very friendly), and nice (very nice) [...] we have received more smiles and education than in a long time.
Done that coincides with an admirer of Catalunya, as Azorín was, who in the newspaper El Progreso in 1898 wrote:
Every time I admire more Catalonia. The stature of a people, of an age, by its eminent men, by the number of its geniuses in the sciences, in the arts, in the letters is not measured; Is measured by mass, by the people, by the class that works and produces. The Catalan land is admirable for that [...]. Catalonia, true, is a separate people; Nothing has in common with other Spanish regions, nor history, nor language, nor literature, nor customs. It is an independent, morally independent nation.3
As Catalan does not cease to worry about the situation that my land of birth lives, and although there have been no outbreaks of violence, which many would wish to be able to intervene beyond the dialectical attacks, it is logical to think that if the aspiration for independence Will not be without conflicts given the existing disagreements, although the preferable thing would be that the confrontations only occurred in the political scope. The latter would show the civility of this public process that, without being certain yet, has been exhibited through exemplary behavior in the massive demonstrations of September 11 of recent years.
What happens in Catalonia will also be, without a doubt, a new indication of how the old Europe is constantly rebuilt through the unification or fragmentation of its territories. A history repeated for centuries and, therefore, should not frighten believers in the unification of territories as the only solution for the survival of modern States. In fact, the last decades have shown this in the continent.