Catalonian President Faces Prosecution For Staging Referendum On Independence

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

artur-masPresident of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Artur Mas i Gavarró, his deputy, and his education minister face prosecution by the Spanish Government for alleged civil disobedience, abuse of power, usurpation of duties, and embezzlement of public funds according to a statement released by the public prosecutor’s office of the Spanish Government.

In what many see as clearly dubious prosecution by Spanish authorities, President Mas remarked: “It is sad to see that when the Catalan people want to express their opinion … the reaction of the state comes from the courts and prosecutors.”

The action comes several weeks after Catalonia held a non-binding vote on independence from Spain, buoyed by what many Catalonians hailed as a close race with the Scottish Independence referendum, a worrisome event to the Spanish government.

The matter brings into the discussion of Parliamentary Immunity and Executive authority held by other nations, and the chilling effect the threat of prosecution can have for representative government of constituents.

Originally the referendum was to be a binding vote upon the government but after the Spanish government issued a legal challenge the referendum was amended to be non-binding, spearheaded by President Mas who on November ninth called for the symbolic vote. The constitutional court ordered a delay to determine legality of the vote but Mas pressed for its furtherance.

catalonia-coat-of-armsThe Catalonian Government reported an eighty percent Yes vote for Catalonia to become an independent nation.

President Mas was elected in 2010 and enjoys popular support among his constituency. The actions of the public prosecutor’s office serve only to dissuade further efforts by Catalonian politicians and citizens from resurrecting the independence cause, which is dearly held by large numbers of its population. It is certainly not going to be an issue that simply goes away for the Spanish Government, especially with the continuing financial upheavals brought by economic conditions—where Catalonia has remained relatively stable and attractive to foreign and domestic investment.

It remains to be seen how far this worrisome action will continue.

By Darren Smith


Deutsche Welle

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

27 thoughts on “Catalonian President Faces Prosecution For Staging Referendum On Independence”

  1. Scalia is wrong. We are not serfs. We are not prisoners. If we, as a people, want to remove our geographical area from the Union we have that right. We also have the right to overthrow the government and make a new one when this one has become dysfunction and oppressive.

    when the South surrendered at Appomattox, the idea of secession was also defeated

    No. The South’s army was defeated. The “idea” is not defeated.

    A peaceful seceding is preferable to the alternative. But….either way.

  2. I think there is a lot more coming. Even my state has a movement to secede from the camelot of the DC bedroom counties. The state wealth stops there.

  3. The Basque region of Spain is another example of the iron hand of Spain. We must not forget the very recent Fascists who ruled this country. To say Catalonia and Basque need to comply “for the greater good” is showing an ignorance of this fascist history.

  4. @ Karen

    I thought about making a California comparison as well. I live in the (mythical) State of Jefferson. We would love to see a separation from the rest of California. It is a dream that will never happen though. We are always outvoted by the Urban areas. In addition, they covet our water, minerals, hydro power, timber and other resources. We are basically serfs and live at the whim of those in the cities who have no idea about how we live and don’t give a rat’s @ss about how their capricious laws affect us.

  5. It appears, from the outside, that Spain is making no effort to appease the Catalans, or address their complaints. It’s just put up or shut up, which is very undiplomatic.

  6. It is my understanding that Catalonia is frustrated with Spain for several reasons. Catalonia has no say in their government. Any laws they pass are immediately vetoed by Spain, under the terms of their 1978 constitution. They only have 16 members out of 350 in their Congress. In addition, they are tired of propping up the inefficient economy of Spain. They have no say, but they keep having to hand over their money. That would frustrate anyone.

    What Catalonia lacks is something similar to the Senate, where each state has 2 Senators, putter smaller or less populous states on even footing with urban areas.

    There is a similar frustration going on in CA. It is such an enormous state, and has enormously different regions, including farming, ranching, and industrial. Unfortunately, it is ruled almost entirely by its urban centers, which pass laws that do not meet the needs of rural, farming, and ranching communities. Those different communities can’t get their needs met, but don’t have a say because, by definition, they are less concentrated. There are also the intense water wars between north and south. On a more local level, Los Angeles County has become absurdly large. It has 10 million people, while the entire state of CA has 38 million. They pass urban laws, such as restrictions on roosters and livestock that don’t make sense in rural communities. At the very least, LA county needs to be broken up.

    Whether or not independence would be a good idea for either Catalonia or Spain or the EU should have no bearing on their right to talk about it or vote on it.

  7. I agree with randyjet in his comment above.

    There is a problem in Spain which mainly gets over looked: The Rain In Spain Is Mainly In The Plane. This topic was so popular that it was made into a song. Those of us who belong to Cardinal Nation can relate to the Catalonians in some respects. If we are successful, Cardinal Nation will consist of the eastern half of Missouri and a few counties in Illinois. Each county will get a referendum after the Revolution to decide to stay in.

    We must not be smug about our views of Spain and other so called civilized nation states. The United States government calls Edward Snowden “a traitor” for revealing criminal behavior on the part of our government. The media jerks mimic those words. Like that chump that is now the lead guy on NBC on Sunday morning who thinks his itShay does not stink.

  8. Interesting post.

    It would be as if the Governor of Texas decided to hold a non binding vote to secede from the United States and it won by a large margin. Would the US Government or King Obama press charges against the Governor? How would the US government retaliate against a State that wants to remove itself from the unity?

    Civil war?

    I don’t see the impossibility of in the future States wishing to secede and go their own way. Or States deciding to group themselves into a region that wants to secede. Texas could do it on its own. There are geographical areas comprised of several States that could also stand on their own. In fact, they might be better off separated from the heavy onerous hand of the Federal Government and able to utilize their own resources and make treaties with other foreign governments.

  9. Nick:

    Great thought.

    I have gotten a lot of pleasure/education from Darren’s writings.

  10. This is a great cautionary tale for those who advocate increased laws/criminal penalties as a solution to every problem.

    Those laws, which seemed so just and reasonable just a short time before can be modified/misused to attack opponents of the government.

    Better that a problem not be addressed satisfactorily today than that new laws be written and used to crush tomorrow’s dissent.

  11. Carlyle, Darren is invaluable to this blog. He works tirelessly and does not seek attention or praise. We should organize and get him a Christmas gift, an Amazon gift card maybe. I would be honored to take that assignment on.

  12. Darren, interesting post when juxtaposed w/ the vote here on 11/4. Govt. does not cede power to the people magnanimously. It often takes the threat of revolt. Now, non violent revolution is the type that appeals to me. Employers are mandated to do so much for the govt. including, but not limiting to, withholding and depositing taxes. If employers were to declare a strike on that mandate I think we citizens would quickly get the attention of our govt. It seems the good people of Catalonia need to find some leverage like that. When politicians ignore elections like ours have, then it’s on to the next phase. I am thinking of Cool Hand Luke and “Getting their minds right.”

  13. It is good to see that NATO countries are now being hoist on their own petard for what they did in Yugoslavia. Next we can see the break up of the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, and other countries. In general, I can see no good reason to break up long established countries since all it does is increase the civil service list and diminishes the resources available to a smaller country. It also makes it easier for large corporations to get their way with smaller entities.

  14. Darren, you are so overworked now that the other weekend contributors have gone.

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