Former Catalan President Pujol finally considers independence

As I write these lines I’m still shocked by the news and I know that for Catalonia this is a historical day.

Jordi Pujol, who was the 126th Catalan President of the Generalitat (list of all Catalan Presidents) during the crucial post Franco period from 1980 until 2003 has finally realised that Catalonia has only one option to avoid disappearance: independence. He explains it in an article published a couple of hours ago in his blog.

Pujol, who never until today publicly considered Catalan independence but instead dreamed that Spain would one day become a federal entity were all the nations within it had equal rights. Pujol, who was awarded by Spanish newspaper ABC “Spanish person of the year” in 1986. Pujol, who undoubtedly didn’t have an easy job to do in his precarious position but who decisively contributed to the political and financial stability and progress of Spain for more than two decades, practically always at Catalonia’s expense. Certainly a controversial personality.

Today is a historical day because Pujol, taking any other considerations about him aside, still is the ideological leader of mainstream Catalanism.

Obviously that he says this precisely now is not a coincidence, there are deep implications in what is going on in Catalonia and Spain at the moment. This week Spain has just started the process of dismantling the Catalan “Caixes” (savings banks) system and if they succeed all Catalan financial autonomy that has enabled Catalan economy to flourish in the last century might soon be in the hands of Madrid and then that’s it, kaput Catalonia. That’d also mean the end of the Catalan establishment’s (particularly the political parties’) source of financing, hence Pujol’s reaction.

This also confirms that the situation is just as desperate as we thought it was. The reaction from mainstream Catalanism should have started about 4 or 5 years ago but I guess it’s better late than never. And this also shows that CiU had to embrace independentism sooner rather than later to avoid losing its central position in Catalan politics since they were quickly running out of excuses not to do so.

But I can’t help feeling a bit skeptical about this and I hope this doesn’t turn against us now and CiU genuinely start working for the independence instead of playing against the emerging independentist movement, as they always have. A regeneration of Catalan politics that CiU’s downfall would have brought would have been very healthy but the advantage of not having the establishment against us at last can’t be denied, even if it’s because their own existence is at stake.

I’m speechless.

All I can say is: Welcome President Pujol, we’ve been waiting for you. Benvingut President, l’estàvem esperant.

Photo by Thundershead

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