Press TV has interviewed Marcelo Sanchez, a political commentator in Tehran, to discuss Catalonia’s willingness to separate from Spain.
A rough transcription of the interview follows.
Press TV: Talk to us about the recent comments made by the pro-independence politicians in Catalonia. They are calling for a unilateral independence declaration. Should they win big in September’s regional elections?
Sanchez: Well, yes indeed. Everybody is waiting for this September 27 vote. This is not going to be just a normal election. It is going to be some kind of a quasi or pseudo-referendum. There is about 7.5 million [people] in Catalonia; from those maybe 2 million people are just waiting for this vote and you have a historical joint list, if you will, between two forces: left and right political forces Esquerra Republicana and Convergència i Unió. They are just willing to sacrifice their ideologies in order to proclaim the unilateral independence.
Going back in time, Catalonia has a long history of trying to separate themselves from Madrid government. This is not just something new. The situation actually started about hundreds of years. We can go back in time and say that in 1496 when the king of Catalonia and Aragorn and Castile were together and they made this country named Spain, and then in 1919 they created this Statute of Autonomy, then they went to 1928 with the project of constitution.
There was Catalonian rebels located in Cuba. They were trying to make a new republic. Then in 1932 during the Second Spanish Republic they were trying to do the same. Back again Franco’s dictatorship abolished every kind of measure. He prohibited the Catalonian language. He tried to suppress the culture and the independent identity of these people. Now, in 1979 the Catalonians got together again and they tried to make a referendum and many years later in 2006, they were together and they ratified this Statute of Autonomy.
Basically what it says is that Catalonia has some rights of autonomy but still is depending on Madrid most of the time. In 2008, the financial crisis saw that a lot of people in Catalonia were really angry about austerity measures, unemployment.
They mistrust the central government in Madrid. And now we have seen the consequences of all these years, hundreds of years actually. This is what the people want.