The Spanish War of Independence

Perched high atop a building on northern corner of Plaza de Catalunya is a huge banner announcing, in English: “Catalonia: Next Independent State in Europe.” It was still intact on Saturday, days after Sept. 11, when more than one million Catalans swarmed the streets of Barcelona in a remarkable show of fervor for independence. The Diada, as the date is known, is an annual commemoration of Catalonia and a wistful nod to its troops who were defeated in 18th-century War of Spanish Succession. The day’s celebrations are a habitual spur to local pride. But this year the massive turnout surprised everyone, in Spain and abroad. Economic crisis has magnified longstanding exasperation among the residents of Barcelona and the region, who feel the national government routinely belittles their identity. Percentage of Catalans supporting independence has doubled, to 46%, since 2008. Regional leaders are in no rush to temper the sentiment. Artur Mas, president of Catalan government, has been playing it up ahead of a meeting on Thursday with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to discuss the terms of a pending fiscal pact. But Mas should be more careful not to overdraw popular expectations. Catalonia is in a difficult financial position, and despite the ebullience of popular demonstrations, he is in no position to call the shots. Catalonia, which represents one-fifth of the country’s entire economic output, is deeply in debt: it’s on the hook for 42 billion euros of 140 billion euros, or $55 billion out of $183 billion, that Spain’s 17 regions together have run in deficits. It has asked for 5 billion euros, about $6.5 billion, in emergency relief from Madrid. And Mas, citing “fiscal sovereignty,” wants the money without strings attached. To many locals the request is a drop in the bucket given all the tax money Catalonia has handed over. Each year the region pays between 12 and 16 billion euros more in taxes than it gets back from Madrid in public investments in social services and infrastructure. There’s also resentment over austerity. The conservative Mas, though himself a willing budget-slasher, has loudly bemoaned the deficit-reduction targets set by national government. While public investment by the national government has dropped by almost 25% across country since 2011, it has fallen by nearly 45% in Catalonia (…..)



Acerca de ignaciocovelo
Consultor Internacional

6 Responses to The Spanish War of Independence

  1. Professor Uziel Nogueira says: For a foreign observer, it is IMPOSSIBLE to separate Spanish high drama theater from Spanish politics. Spanish politics is passion theater by other means. Catalunya’s fit of independence is pure live theater during hot summer days and times of fiscal austerity. As we say in Spanish: Es poco serio. The good old days when over indebted Catalunya and other autonomous provinces could spend euros without any restraint is over. From now on, is time to pay for the party and restore fiscal equilibrium, also known as “vivir con lo nuestro.” Flamenco is out and German Opera is in.

  2. Las diferencias políticas no solo alcanzan parlamentos y calles. Han llegado a los campos de fútbol y en la víspera del clásico Barça-Madrid. “La rivalidad es muy fuerte, y no sólo por cuestiones futbolísticas”. “Es también político porque aquí, en Barcelona, estamos en Cataluña, y para un montón de gente Cataluña es como un país. La rivalidad es también Cataluña-España, no sólo en Barcelona y Madrid. Por eso en cada partido hay tanta tensión. Creo que nos tendríamos que calmar un poco”. Con estas palabras, recogidas en la revista Sports Illustrated el defensa catalán, Gerard Piqué, lanzaba al césped más presión. Poco después señalaba en su cuenta de twitter. “Yo solo dije que el Barcelona-Madrid cada vez más se asocia a un Catalunya-España y esto no debería ser así.. Solo es un partido de fútbol…”. La revista añade además las palabras del el centrocampista azulgrana, Cesc Fábregas, contando la dimensión del clásico de la Liga española, explicando que es “completamente distinto a otros acontecimientos deportivos mundiales”. “Tal vez en América el partido más importante de la temporada de futbol es entre los equipos de New York y Los Ángeles. No lo sé. He visto partidos, derbis, pero no puedes compararlo con el Real Madrid y el Barcelona. Quizás en Argentina entre el Boca y el River”, señala. El caso es que la revista ha aprovechado las palabras de Piqué y Cesc para contar que el Barça es un símbolo de la identidad catalana, en cuyo campo ya se ha expresado el deseo de independencia de Cataluña, mientras que el Real Madrid, “un equipo que fue el favorito del dictador Francisco Franco y la cara triunfante del país en Europa”, en carna la España castellana.“Ha habido muchos dentro Real Madrid que odiaban a Franco, y también ha habido tendencia derechista entre dirigentes del Barça. Sin embargo, los rasgos son claros: Real Madrid suele ser la elección de los conservadores y los castellanos, el Barça el bastión de los progresistas y catalanes”, señala Sports Illustrated.

  3. (Autoria) Comentario del Prof. Uziel Nogueira: El dicho argentino ‘el quemado de la leche, ve una vaca y llora” aplicase a todo espectro del liderazgo político español, principalmente el catalán. No es el momento de sacar la bandera del nacionalismo en un momento de profunda crisis económica y social. Recordar lo que paso en la ex Yugoslavia no hace mucho tiempo atrás, muchachos/hombre!

  4. Just wondering, IS EUROPE ON HIS WAY TO BECOME A GARAGE SALE ?? (…..) It seems paradoxical. Since World War II, the countries of Europe have seen an increasingly close-knit union as a way to resolve historic conflicts. In the process, European nations have gradually surrendered various powers to Brussels. When a core group agreed on the introduction of a common currency, it was clear to most of them that they would eventually have to complete the process with a political union. But now that countries are increasingly losing their national sovereignty, many regions in Europe are demanding independence. Just as a north-south conflict is taking shape in the euro zone, independence movements are also building within countries, especially in prosperous regions. Everywhere, populists are on the rise, as they make the case for a new egoism. South Tyrol, which Italy annexed from Austria after World War I, has an unemployment rate of only 4.1 percent, one of the lowest in the European Union. It has a model social welfare and healthcare system. Now the South Tyroleans are worried that they could lose the privileges and subsidies to which they have been entitled since the signing of an autonomy agreement in 1972. They also feel less and less responsible for the Italian crisis. The anti-Italy mood is fueled by Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti’s most recent austerity reform program. Because of the “national emergency” — a national debt of about €2 trillion ($2.6 trillion) — Monti wants South Tyrol to reduce its spending by €750 million. But this contradicts the written guarantee that 90 percent of tax revenue collected in South Tyrol is to be returned to the province. Negotiations have begun between Rome and the region’s capital, Bolzano. But the nationalist parties, which hold more than a fifth of the seats in the regional parliament, are fomenting anger among citizens who don’t want to be dragged down by the rest of Italy. The success of Antwerp mayoral candidate de Wever, with his anti-Belgian agenda, also stems largely from widespread dissatisfaction among most Flemish people that their money is flowing to the poorer south. “Belgium is a transfer union in which the Flemish democracy contributes more than its fair share to the federation,” says the leader of the Neo-Flemish Alliance. Since Elio Di Rupo, a socialist from Belgium’s southern half, the French-speaking Walloon region, took over as head of a coalition government of Socialists, Christian Democrats and Liberals in the joint capital Brussels in 2011, the Flemish separatists, sharply critical of what they call “checkbook federalism,” have made gains among voters. It is indeed true that up to €6 billion a year is transferred from wealthy Flanders to poorer Wallonia (…..)

  5. (…..) “Europe is facing an economic crisis,” John Bruton, a former Irish prime minister, wrote in The Irish Times. “This crisis is causing stress in the vicinity of long-buried fault lines. The blame game is in full swing.” Bart De Wever, the victorious Flemish nationalist leader in the Belgian election on Sunday, said before the vote: “The Flemish have had enough of being treated like cows only good for their milk.” In Edinburgh on Monday, David Cameron, the British prime minister, and Alex Salmond, the Scottish nationalist first minister, signed a deal to hold a referendum on Scotland’s independence by the end of 2014. Scotland is one of Britain’s poorer regions. However, nationalists say that would change if the profit from North Sea oil went to Edinburgh rather than to London. Like separatists elsewhere on the Continent, Mr. Salmond has no plans to take an independent Scotland out of the European Union. He has, however, pledged to keep the British pound in preference to adopting the ailing euro if his referendum campaign is successful. Independent Scots or Venetians or Catalans would face a barrier to European Union membership if they broke away. Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s prime minister, reminded separatists on Sunday that they could be shut out of the E.U. where the admission of new states requires the unanimous agreement of existing members. “If you are outside Spain and outside the European Union you are nowhere, you are condemned to nothingness,” he said. The separatist tide might ebb with the recovery of Europe’s national economies. Even now, support for breaking away is uneven. Polls indicate just more than half of Catalans support independence from Spain, but two in three Scots oppose breaking the 300-year-old union with England. Der Spiegel in Germany nevertheless believed the Belgian vote was symbolic in a European Union where solidarity among member states was rapidly disappearing. It quoted the left-leaning Berliner Zeitung as saying: “In a precarious situation in the heart of the euro crisis, these new regionalist movements represent the danger of renewed political instability.” Meanwhile, John Bruton in Ireland advised, “However difficult this may be to accept in Scotland, Flanders or Catalonia, it might be wiser to agree to sort out the economic crisis first and then deal with issues of separation, and/or of rearranging national boundaries, later.”

  6. Professor Uziel Nogueira says: The best line about separatism I heard during my last trip to Madrid. A young activist was proselytizing an old lady about the benefits of Catalonia leaving the Constitutional Monarchy of Spain. The old lady hears the young activist patiently. At the end, with a condescending smile delivers the punchline “Pero Senor, si no hay mas plata — But Mister, there is no more money left.” There goes the separatism of Catalonia and other autonomous regions in the euro zone. There is no more euros left to be independent 🙂


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