A Year on, Catalan Secessionists Are Still Trying to Break Spain's Historical Union | Opinion
The undersigned, Spanish academics and professionals, submit the following response letter to the opinion article "Carles Puigdemont and Quim Torra: Itâs been a year and Catalonia is still not free."
Spain is a European nation enjoying economic prosperity and full political freedom for more than 40 years, since the country became a democratic nation under the Constitution of 1978. The Spanish Constitution was voted in a referendum by all Spanish citizens. Catalonian participation in this referendum was 67.9 percent, with over 90 percent voting approval (surpassing the approval percentage of the Madrid region).
To amend the Spanish Constitution to permit regional separation (now contrary to the existing Constitution) would require a poll involving all Spanish citizens. According to a recent poll conducted by GESOP, it was estimated that less than a majority of Catalans (about 42 percent) would be in favor of participating in a binding referendum for secession.
The events involving the use of force by Spanish national police were precipitated by the seditious Catalan government that deceived Catalans in the secessionist ranks regarding the consequences of the illegal referendum of October 1, 2017, encouraged them to participate, and instructed the Catalan police to turn a blind eye to the mandate of the Spanish Constitutional Court that had declared the referendum illegal.
Furthermore, the referendum was not an accurate reflection of the views of all Catalans, since those who recognized the illegality of the referendum did not vote.
There are no political prisoners in Spain. The Catalan politicians that are under preventative detention, provided by the Spanish law and pending trial, and those who fled to avoid criminal charges, have created their own predicament when they violated the Spanish Constitution and the Catalan Statute of Autonomy (the law of self-government in Catalonia) and issued an illegal proclamation of an independent Catalan Republic on October 27, 2018.
It is unjustifiable that they expect to avoid the consequences of these actions. Likewise, the pro-secession activists are not in preventative detention for their ideas but because they encouraged their followers to take to the streets and obstruct the work of the judiciary officers in performance of their duties.
These politicians and activists are in preventative detention on account of charges for serious crimes under the Spanish Criminal Code brought against them by the Public Prosecutorâs Officeâ"including rebellion, and where appropriate, seditionâ"and during the investigation of a Supreme Court Magistrate (in Spain the investigation is conducted by a judge, not a prosecutor) to open the hearing phase of the case.
Carles Puigdemont (L), exiled former President of Catalunya, and Quim Torra, current president of the Generalitat of Catalunya walk as they prepare to address a press conference in Brussels, on August 27, 2018.
A similar result would prevail in the United States where its Supreme Court has proclaimed that the United States Constitution has created âan indestructible Union of indestructible States.â
This point was aptly illustrated by the response in 2013 of President Obama to the petition of over 100,000 Texans requesting support for the secession of Texas. The Presidentâs spokesman responded that the Constitution âdid not provide a right to walk away from the [Union]â and he further stated that not secession but âparticipation in, and engagement with, government is the cornerstone of democracy.â
Accordingly, we believe that the answer to differences of regional opinions in Spain is not secession but engaged citizenship at the level of Spainâs autonomous regions. Precisely, the Spanish system of regional self-governing, and particularly in the case of Catalonia, has the highest degree of autonomy in Europe.
That being said, we wish to highlight two major fabrications on which pro-secession parties built their agenda over the last several years:
Secession is a win-win situation: The protest movement that spread throughout Spain during the difficult years of the past economic crisis was used by secessionist forces in Catalonia to create a populist environment that portrayed the rest of Spain as a backward country exploiting a more progressive and affluent Catalan region. It was argued that, as an independent nation-state, Catalonia would become financially solvent, a more prosperous and just society, and that it would be readily accepted in the European Union. These promises did not withstand rigorous analysis and were refuted by the facts and subsequent events.
We are one people, one culture, one language: Although it is true that Catalonia has its own history, culture and language, this distinct heritage has been an instrument of manipulation chiefly propagated in the schools and by the government-supported Catalan public media. Catalonia is a bilingual, diverse society, with a large number of citizens whose roots lie in other regions of Spain. These Catalans are torn at the thought of forced separation. Moreover, Catalans of all origins and backgrounds opposing the secessionist project feel disengaged and disenfranchised; they are made to believe that they donât belong.
Before âoperation secessionâ began, the mixed population of Catalonia had enjoyed a peaceful and fruitful existence. Mr. Torra and Mr. Puigdemontâs delusion of secession has shattered our precious coexistence. Catalansâ"friends, family and neighborsâ"are deeply and bitterl y divided as a consequence of their political adventure. We here appeal to their sense of civic responsibility to redress this situation before it is too late.
- Alfonso Valero, Lawyer (Spain) and Solicitor (England and Wales), founder of âForo de Profesoresâ (Professorsâ Forumâ)
- Montserrat GinÃ©s, Associate Professor of Technology and Culture (retired), Universitat PolitÃ¨cnica de Catalunya)
- Mariana Castells, M. D.; Ph.D. Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston
- Luis Miguez Macho, Professor of Administrative Law, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela
- Ignacio FernÃ¡ndez Sarasola, Associate Professor of Constitutional Law, Universidad de Oviedo
- Ignacio Morgado, Professor at Universidad AutÃ³noma de Barcelona
- Carolina Marin Pedreno, Solicitor and Lawyer
- JosÃ© MarÃa Rosales, Professor of Moral and Political Philosophy, University of MÃ¡laga
- Juan Jose Rubio Guerrero, Full Prof essor in Public Finance, Dean. Faculty of Law and Social Sciences, Castilla-La Mancha University
- Antonio PeÃ±a Freire, Associate Professor of Philosophy of Law, Universidad de Granada
- Carlos Vidal Prado, Professor of Constitutional Law, Universidad Nacional de EducaciÃ³n a Distancia
- Jorge Calero, Professor of Applied Economics, Universidad de Barcelona
- Julio Iglesias de Ussel, Professor of Sociology, Madrid
- Pedro Tent Alonso, Adjunct Lecturer of Private International Law, Universitat de ValÃ¨ncia
- JosÃ© Manuel Cansino MuÃ±oz-Repiso, Professor of Applied Economics, Universidad de Sevilla and Research Associate at Universidad AutÃ³noma de Chile
- Javier RoldÃ¡n Barbero, Professor of Public International Law and International Relations, Universidad de Granada
- Fernando JimÃ©nez SÃ¡nchez, Associate Professor of Political Science, at the University of Murcia (Spain)
- Juan Antonio GarcÃa Amado, Professor of Philosophy of Law, Universidad de LeÃ³n.
- JosÃ© J. JimÃ©nez SÃ¡nchez, Professor and member of âForo para la Concordia Civilâ (Forum for Civil Concord)
- Araceli Mangas MartÃn, Full member of the Royal Academy of Moral and Political Science. Professor of International Public Law and International Relations, Unversidad Complutense de Madrid
- Luis Perdices de Blas, Professor of History of the Economic Thought, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
- JosÃ© TornÃ©-Dombidau y JimÃ©nez, Associate Professor of Administrative Law, Universidad de Granada and President of FORO PARA LA CONCORDIA CIVIL (Forum for Civil Concord)
- CÃ©sar Nombela-Arrieta, Assistant Professor, University of Zurich
- MarÃa Fraile, Professor of Constitutional Law, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
- Javier FernÃ¡ndez SebastiÃ¡n, Professor of History of the Political Thought, Universidad del PaÃs Vasco, Bilbao
- Lola PelÃ¡ez, Professor of Spanish, Simmons University, Boston
- Javier Tajadura, Professor of Constitutional Law, Universidad del PaÃs Vasco
- Rafael Dobado GonzÃ¡lez, Professor at Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Corresponding Member of the Real Academia EspaÃ±ola (Royal Spanish Academy)
- Carlos M. GutiÃ©rrez, Professor of Spanish, U of Cincinnati
- Miguel Ãngel Quintana Paz, Associate Professor of Moral and Political Philosophy, Universidad Europea Miguel de Cervantes, Valladolid
- Rafael Palomino Lozano, Professor at the School of Law, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
- Manuel Atienza, Professor of Philosophy of Law, Universidad de Alicante
- Ãngel SÃ¡nchez-Navarro, Professor of Constitutional Law, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
- Carlos Diaz, Aerospace Engineer, Engine Systems, Berlin, Germany
- Juan RamÃ³n Fernandez Torres, PhD in Law, Chaired Professor of Administrative Law, Universi dad Complutense de Madrid (Spain)
- Carlos RuÃz Miguel, Professor of Constitutional Law. Director of the Center for Studies on Western Sahara, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela
- Eduardo ButragueÃ±o CerviÃ±o, Professor of Philosophy (retired), Universidad de Barcelona
- Manuel Borrero, Economist (Portugal)
- Dr. Leonor Zozaya-Montes, PhD Assistant Professor, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain),Integrated Member of CHSC, Universidade de Coimbra (Portugal)
- Pepe MoltÃ³, Musician and musical instrument builder
- Rafael Arenas GarcÃa, Professor of Private International Law, Universidad AutÃ³noma de Barcelona
- Manuel FernÃ¡ndez SalmerÃ³n, Associate Professor of Administrative Law, Universidad de Murcia
- Isabel FernÃ¡ndez Alonso, Associate Professor of Communication, Universidad AutÃ³noma de Barcelona
- Manuel Parra Celaya, Doctor in Philosophy and Educational Sciences at Universidad de Barcelona. Secondary School teacher (retired)
- Rafael SÃ¡nchez Saus, Professor of Medieval History, Universidad de CÃ¡diz
- Cristina Santin, Senior Lecturer, Biosciences Department, Swansea University, UK
- Gorka Maneiro, Spokesman for âPlataforma Ahoraâ
- Paz GarzÃ³n GonzÃ¡lez, Labor and Social Security Department Inspector (retired)
- SebastiÃ¡n Zambelli, PhD., Political Science
- Roberto MuÃ±oz BolaÃ±os, Professor at Instituto Universitario General GutiÃ©rrez Mellado (UNED)
- Carlos Flores JuberÃas, Professor of Constitutional Law, Universitat de ValÃ¨ncia Prof. Dr. Juan V. Oltra GutiÃ©rrez
- Mikel Arteta, PhD., Moral and Political Philosophy
- Antonio Bueno Armijo, Associate Professor of Administrative Law, School of Law and Economic Sciences and Business and Administration, Universidad de CÃ³rdoba
- David JimÃ©nez Torres, Adjunct Lecturer, Universidad Camilo JosÃ© Cela
- Julio CarabaÃ±a, Honorary Professor, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
- Angela Herrero, Anthropologist
- Antonio Hermosa AndÃºjar, University Professor
- Mauricio SuÃ¡rez, Chair in Logic and Philosophy of Science, Complutense University of Madrid, and Research Associate, London School of Economics
- Helena Torroja, Tenure Senior Professor of Public International Law, Universidad de Barcelona
- Alfonso Ruiz Miguel, Professor of Philosophy of Law, Universidad AutÃ³noma de Madrid
- Jose Javier Olivas Osuna, Political Scientist at the London School of Economics and Political Science
Alfonso Valero is a qualified lawyer in Spain and England and Wales. After practicing law in Spain and England, he became a full time law lecturer and founded de "Foro de Profesores," a group of academics and professionals in support of a united Spain and the rule of law.
Montserrat GinÃ©s was an Associate Professor of Technology and Culture at Polytechnic University of Catalonia until her rec ent retirement in 2017. She is a member of âForo de Profesores.â
The views expressed in this article are the authors' own.ââââââââSource: Google News Spain | Netizen 24 Spain