A lot of confusion aroused in Spain, on whether Catalonia declared independence or not. The confusion began on Oct. 1, when an illegal referendum took place in Catalonia, to vote on their independence from Spain. The streets were filled with violence as the Spanish police were ordered to prevent people from voting by forcedly shutting down polling stations and confiscating ballots. Even though the Catalan government said that 90% of its people voted yes for independence, the Madrid government declared the referendum unconstitutional and suspended the votes.
The uncertainty continued on Oct. 10, when Carles Puigdoment, Catalonia’s leader, gave a speech to the Catalan regional Parliament about wanting to officicially declare independence but…not yet. According to “The New York Times”, he asked Parliament to suspend the effects of independence so that in the coming week they could undertake a dialogue about the issue. Puigdoment’s mentality of “not now, but soon” on Catalonia’s independence left the Catalans and allies both frustrated and confused.
During an emergency cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy, decided to take a stand, with the hopes of putting an end to the independence situation in Catalonia. He requested to invoke Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, which will allow him to suspend Catalonia’s political institutions and will also allow him to take over the region’s police force and public broadcaster. But before taking any drastic measures, he is asking Puigdoment to clarify if he is declaring independence or not. Rajoy gave him until Monday to respond.
Mr. Rajoy is getting a lot of unexpected support for his discussion about Article 155 against Catalonia’s independence. Spain’s main Socialist opposition party, ran by Pedro Sanchez, supports Rajoy’s decision to put an end to the matter.
Even though Spain is behind Rajoy’s future plans for Catalonia, he is aware that retaliation against Puigdoment could motivate even more the independence movement and cause more violence and turmoil in the streets.
Some students of FIU are directly affected by the situation happening abroad because they have loved ones and families there.
Adrian Lizanda, a senior majoring in journalism, is a transfer student from Barcelona. At first, Lizanda would have voted no for independence, because he doesn’t believe in nationalism, but after seeing what happened in the streets during the referendum, he said he would have changed his vote to yes.
” I would have expected and liked some empathy from the Spanish to the Catalan people,” said Lizanda, ” We were beaten up just for voting and the referendum wasn’t even legal so there was no need to do that, the results wouldn’t have been taken into consideration.”
But as an outcome, Lizanda believes the best for Catalonia would be to not declare independence and get politicians talk it out with the help of international leaders. He hopes that some day Spanish and Catalonia people will just get along.