About a year ago I wrote something about the prospect of Catalonian Independence and a growing trend towards secession and political devolution in the world. The regional parliament of Catalonia (in Spain – think Barcelona) has decided on putting out a referendum on November 9, 2014 where they ask two questions: “Do you want Catalonia to be a state?” and “Should that state be independent?”. A vote of yes and yes doesn’t mean that Catalonia would split away over night, but it would probably really get the ball rolling.
For what it’s worth, the government in Madrid has pretty much dismissed the motion by calling it unconstitutional and saying that the vote won’t be held…but some Catalonians are asking how can they stop it? Send in the police or military?
The article above briefly tackles that question by bringing up the fact that the Spanish military has been so scaled down that they don’t have the teeth in Madrid to put them down if they wanted to. The poor economic climate and ineffective government that leads to weak institutions plays a large part in bringing about these kind of secessionist sentiments, so that’s kind of a double whammy. We’ll see what happens between now and then. As of right now, it sounds like la gente in Catalonia are about evenly split on the issue.
…and in another update Separatist Spirit: Catalonia Ditches Spanish King’s Christmas Speech
Catalonian public television decided to not air the King’s Christmas speech this year. They say it was a brief worker’s strike to protest budget cuts and outsourcing and there’s probably truth to that. The station said it was unrelated to the independence movement but it sounds like too much of a coincidence to not have anti-central government sentiments too it. I can’t think of a direct apples-to-apples comparison, but this situation would be kind of similar to major TV networks in Texas (or any state) deciding to not play Obama’s State of the Union Address or something in response to something from Washington. Kind of a bold statement, really.
Again, we’ll see what happens. I don’t think Spain as we know is going to unravel this year or next or anything, but it’s interesting to watch the developments as things stay rough over there. I recently met a guy that moved to Spain from Argentina after Argentina’s economic collapse and just moved from Spain to the US due to economic reasons, I should talk to him a little bit about the situation in Spain and his experiences.