The presiding officer of the Welsh Assembly expressed her consternation that her counterpart in Catalonia, Carme Forcadell, should be imprisoned for allowing a debate that she herself and her Scottish counterpart have allowed, and which has in no way led to them fearing for their freedom.
The ANC took part in the National Eisteddfod of Wales yesterday. This major cultural festival was held in Cardiff, the capital of Wales. Among the dozens and dozens of talks planned, Begotxu Olaizola gave one on behalf of the ANC entitled “Catalunya: beth nesaf?” (Catalonia, what’s next?), in which Elin Jones, presiding officer of the Welsh Assembly, and Welsh academic and intellectual Ned Thomas also took part. The session was chaired by Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones, a leading expert on the media and minority languages. In fact, the whole session was in the national language, Welsh.
Olaizola recalled that the demonstrations and actions being organised in Catalonia and elsewhere calling for freedom for the political prisoners and exiles will not be enough, and only a Catalan Republic will be able to bring this about. The ANC representative stated that the Spanish state is incapable of changing, recalling that it has had many years to turn itself into “a fairer, more democratic country”. Olaizola was therefore pessimistic about the prospects of a solution negotiated with Spain, even in the event that a Spanish prime minister decided to talk to Catalonia. “The establishment and the army would not allow it,” she concluded.
Furthermore, Olaizola recognised that the Catalans are alone in this process, and that Europe will not come to their rescue, but that nevertheless there are people and groups in Europe that believe in democratic values and freedoms. For this reason, she recommended self-confidence and acting like an independent state, otherwise nobody will take Catalonia seriously. This will place the Catalan question on the international agenda and make it possible to explain why the Catalan Republic is a good thing in international terms, as well as showing all that Catalonia has to offer.
The deterioration of democracy in the Spanish state
For her part, Elin Jones considered it worrying that in a 21st-century western democracy political representatives should be imprisoned for doing what they were elected to do. The presiding officer of the Welsh Assembly expressed her consternation that her counterpart in Catalonia, Carme Forcadell, should be imprisoned for allowing a debate that she herself and her Scottish counterpart have allowed, and which has in no way led to them fearing for their freedom.
Finally, Ned Thomas explained how during years of working in Salamanca and travelling in Spain he has discerned a lack of a democratic tradition, with values and freedoms that are taken for granted in his country being systematically questioned in Spain.