Xenophobia in Spain against the Catalans

Dear Sir,

The 2010 ruling of the Spanish Constitutional Court that modified the Catalan Statute of Autonomy approved by referendum in 2006 opened the door to the major crisis that Spain is experiencing today. The support of a majority of Catalans for the independence of Catalonia is the answer to that arbitrary ruling. None of the Spanish parties - neither right nor left - have provided any solution. 

On the contrary, they have chosen to repress the unilateral referendum called by the Catalan regional Government in 2017 and to dismiss the Government and persecute its leaders, including its president, Carles Puigdemont (now exiled in Belgium).

The repression has given wings to extremists, nostalgic for the old Francoist dictatorship. As in other parts of the world, xenophobic attitudes against the Catalans are commonplace. The latest example is the decision of the inhabitants of an Andalusian village, Coripe, in the province of Seville, who - on the occasion of Easter and with the support of the local socialist mayor - have decided to use an anti-Semitic religious demonstration (bafflingly declared of national tourist interest) that reenacts the symbolic lynching of Judas to burn and shoot a dummy representing the Catalan president in exile Carles Puigdemont.

The extreme right is taking over Europe and the world - including Spain. It is taking advantage of the process of Catalan secession to curtail fundamental rights, persecute people and imprison them, and anathematize the Catalans. The Spain of old is being reborn amid the indifference of the traditional monarchist parties, while Catalans, on the other hand, are demanding a resolution to the conflict with an agreed referendum on self-determination.

Agustí Colomines i Companys

(Lecturer of Contemporary History at the

University of Barcelona)