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Crisis in Barcelona

by Grace Manzo

Photo courtesy of David Tubau via Flickr

In its efforts to secede, Catalonia has ushered Spain into a period of major change. However, numerous attempts for independence has left the Catalan people in agony and the Catalan president frustrated. Recently, Catalan’s President Carles Puigdemont declined a plan to redo elections, a decision very few people in his party agree with.

Ines Arrimadas, leader of the liberal Ciutadans Party — a Spanish political party—shared her concern about the president’s decision via Twitter. “We are losing international legitimacy and you can’t do that to Catalans,” tweeted Arrimadas

Another high profile left wing politician named Albert Batalla quit his job as a member of parliament (MP) over this controversial issue. “I respect the decision but I do not share it… today I renounce as an MP and I give up my membership at the @Pdemocratcat,” tweeted Batalla.

Jordi Cuminal, another MP, did the same. “I do not share the decision for the calling elections. I resign my seat as MP and I give up my membership at the @Pdemocratcat,” tweeted Cuminal.

Allegedly, Puigdemont published his decision via Twitter, presumably due to his other party members’ disagreements. Puigdemont issued a statement saying he is willing to negotiate an early vote as long as there are “certain guarantees,” and he does not see that happening any time soon.

The Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is opposed to Catalonia splitting and has threatened for weeks to terminate Puigdemont’s plan by imposing direct rule. The results of the voting referendum were astonishing. 2.25 million residents voted and 90 percent agreed to the splitting of Catalonia. Soon after the results of the voting, the Spanish government dubbed this attempt illegal and illegitimate.

Personally, I understand why Catalonia would want to be their own separate country. This type of thing has been going on for years with Sicily and Italy, Wales and England, etc. However, this is a tremendously difficult task.

If Catalonia leaves Spain, they will need their own post office, army, schools and everything else that is funded by the government. It may sound easy to leave one’s country, but it will be hard when they do. England, for example, left the European Union and have had many complications since.

I am not sure that Catalonia has the ability to stand on their own without help from Spain. Catalonia talks about full independence but I fear they will still have to ask Spain for money for the necessities that they need to live. If they do have everything planned and accept that they will need to ask Spain for money, I am all for it. I do not agree with them separating and acting like they have everything under control when they do not.

On Oct. 27, Catalan lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favor of the region’s independence from Spain. As a result there will be new elections in Catalonia on Dec. 21, meaning Puigdemont and his ministers could be dismissed. The U.N. has already made comments that if granted independence, they will not recognize Catalonia as a country.

According to CNN, the U.K. and Germany agreed with the U.N. having said that Catalonia’s independence declaration is nothing but a joke which will not come to fruition. It is easy for Catalonia to say they want to leave Spain, but to leave and have all of the proper resources for survival is harder. No one believes they can achieve it, so it is up to Catalonia to prove the world wrong.

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