Spain’s ham-handed attempts to intimidate Catalonia feeding political crisis

LA Times – As if Europe weren’t struggling with enough problems, from Brexit to rising nationalism to a seemingly endless flow of migrants fleeing tumult and war in the Middle East and Africa, Spain now finds itself mired in its worst political crisis since the death of dictator Gen. Francisco Franco and the creation of a democratic Spanish state in 1978. The crisis stems from a growing desire in Catalonia — the semiautonomous northeastern region anchored by Barcelona — to secede and form an independent nation.

Polling has been inconclusive on how deep the support for secession runs among Catalans. A controversial and illegal plebiscite Oct. 1 drew a turnout of only 43%, but the vote — conducted despite violent and questionable tactics by the federal government to stop it — was overwhelmingly for secession. And now the country’s top prosecutor, Atty. Gen. Jose Manuel Maza, is calling for the leaders of the peaceful secession movement to be tried on sedition and other related charges.

This would be a good time for a cooling off period. In the run-up to the referendum, the attorney general threatened to arrest mayors who allowed the balloting to take place in public buildings, as well as people who printed or distributed ballot papers. The government also warned postal workers not to handle referendum-related mailings and threatened to cut off electric power to polling places. Granted, Catalan leaders should have observed a federal court order barring the referendum, but the Franco-style response by the national government made the situation worse…

Source: Spain’s ham-handed attempts to intimidate Catalonia are feeding a political crisis

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *