Madrid to Suspend Catalan Autonomy?
Following Catalan President Carles Puigdemont’s tiptoeing toward independence from Spain – on Tuesday declaring, then suspending it, hoping for talks with Madrid to try resolving differences – Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy inched toward suspending the region’s autonomy.
If he invokes Article 155 of Spain’s constitution, a flagrant international law violation, Madrid will usurp control over Catalonia’s regional government – deepening crisis conditions, not easing things.
After a Wednesday cabinet meeting in Madrid, Rajoy demanded Puigdemont clarify his position on independence., saying:
“The cabinet has agreed to require formally to the Catalan government to confirm whether it has declared or not independence.”
Puigdemont’s answer will “determine future events in the next few days. (Clarity is) “necessary when activating Article 155 of the constitution. In this way we want to offer certainty to the citizens.”
Deputy PM Soraya Saenz de Santamaria added “(n)either Mr. Puigdemont nor anybody else can claim…to impose mediation. Any dialogue between democrats (sic) has to take place within the law.”
Ahead of the October 1 referendum, Puigdemont said he’d declare independent within 48 hours of a “yes” vote. Ten days later, uncertainty left many Catalans angry.
Crisis conditions are deeper than any time since the Francisco Franco dictatorship ended in 1975. A political one replaced it under Rajoy, compounded by years of economic crisis conditions.
Official unemployment exceeds 17%, youth unemployment near 40%. Underemployment affects millions more Spanish workers.
Madrid is highly unlikely to be willing to engage in meaningful talks – let alone agree to or compromise on Catalan independence.
Its position is clear, rejecting the October 1 referendum, falsely calling it illegal, saying the results are null and void.
If Madrid permits Catalan independence, other separatists in Spain and other European countries may seek it. They may anyway.
Following a formal declaration of independence or sooner, Spain will likely end Catalan autonomy, enforcing it with thousands of national police, civil guards and soldiers.
Puigdemont and other officials for secession may be arrested, possibly tried for treason or on other concocted charges.
A regional convulsion could follow, maybe more blood in the streets than on referendum day.
Fascist regimes operate this way, Rajoy deplorably enjoying world community support.
Greater turmoil than already is likely ahead. Millions of Catalans want independence, freeing the region from repressive Madrid rule.
They tasted victory overwhelmingly on referendum Sunday, believing they achieved long sought independence. Denying them won’t go down easily.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
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