Laporta, López Tena and Bertran create a coalition for Catalonia’s independence

Things are moving fast in Catalonia. Today Joan Laporta, Uriel Bertran and Alfons López Tena have announced (video in Catalan) the creation of Solidaritat Catalana per la Independència urging all Catalan parties to form a coalition and commit to declare the independence of Catalonia should this coalition win the Catalan elections in November. Reagrupament have announced already that since this is the formula they’ve always defended they can count with them.

Back in 1906 a coalition called Solidaritat Catalana joined forces of all Catalan parties to fight Spanish centralism and regain self-government shares for Catalonia. Now this new Solidaritat Catalana per la Independència tries to follow the same steps but with the target to regain Catalonia’s independence and become a state within the European Union.

But let’s go back a couple of weeks to explain how events have developed to make it possible to reach this point.

A qualified board within the Catalan Parliament repeated a voting last tuesday about whether to give a go ahead to the Popular Initiative for a Referendum of Independence. The first voting a few weeks ago was affirmative. This time all Catalan parties unanimously voted against it. They argued that they took this decision because the Catalan Statute sentence from the Spanish Constitutional Court now bans the Catalan Parliament from organising referendums.

So, the people of Catalonia came out in force last week to call for independence, yet the elected parties first action after this was to contradict this wish, and indeed bring in measures against Catalan sovereignty and democracy. Independence is centering the political debate in Catalonia and parties are timidly modifying their speech to adapt it to the new independentist majority in Catalonia but their actions show they are unable to lead Catalonia in this issue and are paralysed and confused about what to do.

As a consequence of the rejection of the Popular Initiative, its promoters Alfons López Tena and Uriel Bertran, who also are two of the visible leaders and organisers of the popular referendums for independence, have resigned from their responsibilities from parties CiU and ERC, respectively and are working to make this coalition possible. They saw and understood that at the end of the day the current parties are completely unable to defend Catalonia and adapt their actions accordingly to the quickly changing reality and now that the way of the referendum is shut there’s only the way of the declaration of independence left.

Outside of the Parliament we have Reagrupament. The political association led by Joan Carretero have managed to create a solid candidacy for the elections next November and they’ve made it clear that, unlike ERC, they won’t get in any Government unless its first target is the declaration of independence at the Catalan Parliament.

Finally, we have Joan Laporta, the former president of FC Barcelona who, right after finishing his duty at the club, has announced that he’s going to step into the political arena with a new independentist party, Democràcia Catalana. Rumours are that his candidacy will include a good number of relevant personalities and intellectuals linked to the independentist scene. Mr Laporta seems to have a good chance of making an excellent result given his openly declared independentism together with his achievements at having turned Barça into the most successful sports club in the world.

The big question is whether this new Solidaritat Catalana per la Independència will be able to create a solid coalition and lead Catalonia to freedom. The ingredients are indeed there. I don’t think that the current parties such as CiU and ERC will join this coalition since they’ve repeatedly made decisions in the opposite direction but even without them a very strong coalition able to destabilize the Catalan Parliament can be achieved. I personally am very happy that this has happened as I’ve always defended from here I think this is the best way to go for Catalonia.

Photo: Vilaweb

Related: Joan Laporta’s speech (with english subtitles) at Reagrupament’s meeting last March

(Video) Joan Laporta’s political speech (with english subtitles)

Laporta and Carretero

In this post you can find embedded a the two videos (with English subtitles) that show Joan Laporta’s (the president of FC Barcelona) political speech last March the 21st at Reagrupament’s meeting.

It is a brave and nice speech that talks about why we need the independence for Catalonia as soon as possible and how that will improve all Catalan citizens’ prosperity and well being. Hope you enjoy it.

Booing? what booing? Everyone loves the King of Spain!

The Kings of Spain

On February the 21st a familiar scene happened again, during the final of the Basketball Spanish King’s Cup that took place in the Basque Country and faced Barça against Real Madrid (final result: Barça 80 – Real Madrid 61) while the Spanish anthem started playing on the PA the booing by the Catalan and Basque audience was so loud the anthem could not be heard. Below, the video.

This was a repetition of what happened last spring at the Football Spanish King’s Cup that faced Barça with Athletic de Bilbao. All this would just be in any normal country a fair protest that people could like or dislike but would definitely not be censored.

Last spring’s protest took the Spanish a bit by surprise and improvisation led to literally cutting the anthem (and the protests) from the live TV version. Someone in the Spanish TV was forced to resign, I believe more because they cut the Spanish anthem that because of the censorship to the protests.

But on February the Spanish had learned the lesson. Firstly, the King himself brought a special 30 second version of the anthem to make the situation as short as possible and secondly, the Spanish TV edited the sound mix on the live broadcast and didn’t show any images of the Catalan and Basque audience so that you wouldn’t notice anything. The commentator didn’t mention the booing, either. You can see the Spanish TV version below.

Let’s not forget that we’re talking about Spain, a EU member, one of the biggest economies in the world and what everyone thinks of as a “developed” country. On the other hand, not so publicized facts are that the so called “transición” to democracy didn’t involve any prosecution of the crimes committed during Franco’s regime or that the King of Spain was appointed by the dictator.

More on the King of Spain:

The above is a video of a speech from 2001 and is a clear offense to so many people in Latin America, Catalonia, the Basque Country, Galicia, etc. that you’d think he should still be apologizing for it, nope. While other countries have apologized for their colonial past the King of Spain just reminds us that “Nobody was ever forced to learn Castillian (Spanish)” (sic).

Again, another fine example of the status of democracy in Spain, if reality is not to our liking let’s hide it. Everyone loves the King of Spain!

Laporta and Reagrupament


Following the last round of referendums that took place on february the 28th and waiting for the new round of referendums that will take place on april the 25th a disruptive factor has just entered the catalan political arena. Joan Laporta, the president of Barça, has created a new website where he’ll explain his ideas about politics, it displays a logo with the catalan independentist flag blended with his name and advocates that “now’s the time for brave decisions”.

With a very clear independentist political discourse Laporta emerges as the leader that independentism needs right now, with center-right background this professional lawyer who has led Barça into its most glorious times is a media personality and his clear support to independentism is creating very strong reactions against him with threats and “friendly advice” coming from all sides asking him not to be a candidate to the Generalitat.

His political space would greatly overlap that of CiU’s leader Artur Mas and will likely put in jeopardy the latter’s possibilities of becoming the president of the Generalitat. I personally believe that, should he finally be a candidate, he is in a position of being anything from the 3rd force to actually winning the elections with polls confirming this. Many people might reject him because of his strong character and his frequent temper outbursts, some people object seeing a potential political leader in him, but what I think is that he’s the type of person with a character that is completely opposite from that of all of current Catalan politicians. He’ll say things very clearly, he’ll not change his independentist discourse overnight and he’s not afraid of confrontation with the Spanish and of defending Catalan interests until the last consequences, he’s the type of leader we need to make a declaration of independence.

What Laporta hasn’t made yet clear is whether he’s going to make his own political party or he’ll form a coalition with Carretero’s Reagrupament, likely since Carretero and Laporta have made several public displays of sympathy for each other and since he’s made it clear that he’ll only go as a leader his choices are limited since, ERC and CiU won’t accept him as a leader.

On the other hand, Carretero has explicitly said that he’d be happy for Laporta to lead a possible coalition with Reagrupament and go together to the next elections or a similar arrangement.

What is clear is that Reagrupament has grown to be a serious force in the next elections and probably a decisive one being backed by respected personalities such as Heribert Barrera, Moisès Broggi, Victor Alexandre, Toni Strubell and many others, gathering a very strong representation within the Catalan middle classes and adding to its cause people from very varied political backgrounds and more importantly, people who never before have been actively involved into politics. This is where the force of Reagrupament comes from since a substantial amount of the Catalan middle classes has finally realised that the real fight is not to try and make left or right wing policies, there will be no left or right wing policies until there’s no real independence and Catalonia organises itself into a state within the European Union. The strength of Reagrupament and the people behind it is becoming clearer day by day judging by the constant attacks it is suffering almost on a daily basis by the unionist media.

As a result of the growth of Reagrupament and the success of the Referendums of 13D and 28F the other political parties are forced to take positions more in favour of the independence of Catalonia and forcing the PSOE to make it clear that they are a Spanish party and that Catalonia is not its main concern.

A future candidacy led by Laporta, Carretero and Carles Móra, mayor of Arenys de Munt has the potential to destabilize the current balance of forces in the Catalan Parliament in a positive way with the potential to be the catalyst Catalonia needs to make a declaration of independence or to force whichever force was voted by the majority to organise a binding referendum of independence organised by the Generalitat, a referendum that, judging by the results in the past 13D and 28F, no doubt about it, Catalonia will overwhelmingly win. In any case, we have very interesting times ahead.

Catalonia’s independence, size doesn’t matter

Xavier Sala i Martin

I believe that the most important reason that will bring Catalonia‘s independence is not the desire to preserve its identity, its cultural heritage and history or even its language. What will bring the independence will be the realisation that it is not only economically viable but extremely important and desirable to achieve it as soon as possible to stop the financial choking that results from not being an independent state.

Xavier Sala-i-Martín is a respected catalan economist, one of the most quoted economists in the world and professor of economics at Columbia University, also known for his flashy suits and for being part of the Barça management.

In 1998 he gave a speech about the economic viability of Catalonia’s independence that I find very interesting today because many people who are still against it claim that since Catalonia would become a small country its economic viability is not clear.

In that speech he compared Catalonia’s case another successful european small country: Switzerland. However, in my opinion that is not the only example, there are many other similar examples of successful countries of a similar size such as Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden or Belgium, amongst others and concludes that when it comes to independence size doesn’t matter. I personally think that it would also be a better way to deal with the challenges of globalisation.

He goes on to analyse more arguments that unionists have traditionally given against Catalonia’s independence. They claim that since Catalonia’s biggest market is Spain becoming independent would lead to the loss of the Spanish market and therefore its economy would collapse. Sala-i-Martin argues that this is partly true since some people would actively boycott Catalan products for a while. However, this is unsustainable in the long run. Spanish people choose Catalan products not because they are Catalan but because they are the best in their market and so they’d still be after the independence. On the other hand Catalan economy is less dependent every year of Spain because it is highly internationalised compared to how it was 30 years ago coming out of 40 years of isolation due to Franco‘s dictatorship.

These are a few of the arguments against Catalonia’s independence that he countered in his speech. In case you are still undecided I invite you to read the original article in Catalan or in English and find out for yourself.

Joan Laporta, the president of Barça, the most famous catalan independentist


Joan Laporta is the most famous catalan independentist. His position as president of Barça makes him without a doubt the catalan person with the greatest international projection.

Joan Carreteto, leader of Reagrupament, recently declared that “being the president of Barça is a thousand times more important position than the Catalan President” (link in catalan). Meaning that everyone in the world knows what Barça is but it is very difficult to explain abroad the exact description of the Generalitat which is currently nothing more than a Spanish regional institution. This didn’t sit well with the political establishment either. Admitting the truth always hurts.

While Spanish football club presidents don’t have any problem in reaffirming their Spanish nationalism those same people find it inappropiate that a person with the public display and responsibility of Joan Laporta declares himself openly Catalan independentist. Laporta been lately invited to several public acts related with the Catalan independence and everywhere he’s gathered great media attention. Like the protest on the Catalan National Day, september the 11th or the memorial to Lluís Companys, the Catalan President whom Franco had executed by firing squad after the Spanish Civil War.

Today he’s declared that “He’ll go into politics if Catalonia wants a leader, not a martyr” (link in Spanish) and that while he was very confident that he knew all there was to know to do an excellent job for Barça he’s not so sure about jumping into politics but he also has declared that Catalonia has gone backwards in the last few years and needs a change. Xavier Sala-i-Martín, one of the most important economists in the world and member of the Barça management, recently declared that “if Joan Laporta goes into politics he’ll do an excellent job”. (link in Catalan)

A recent poll has revealed that as of now approximately 12% of voters would give him their support (link in Catalan) even before he’s even said what he’s going to do. This hasn’t sit well with the Catalan political establishment since he would certainly be a disruptive force. There’s one certainty, whatever he does he’ll attract the media attention and he’ll keep supporting Catalonia’s independence.

Johan Cruyff, new coach for the Catalonia national football team

2009-11-09 - Johan_Cruyff

Johan Cruyff, the dutch football legend, has been presented as the new coach for the Catalonia national team.

Cruyff is reagarded as one of the greatest players of all time and was awarded European Footballer of The Year in 1971, 1973 and 1974. As a coach he led Barça into one of its most successful periods winning 4 consecutive spanish leagues between 1991 and 1994 and one european Champions League in 1992. The team that achieved those successes was named the Dream Team (link in Catalan).

Cruyff hasn’t coached since he left Barça 13 years ago in spite of having had several offers to do so and therefore his decision to coach for Catalonia is excellent news for Catalonia thanks to Cruyff’s international reputation.

Currently the Catalan and Basque national teams are banned from official competitions and forced to play only friendly matches in spite of having a greater support than the Spanish team. On the other hand, for instance, in Great Britain, there’s an absolute understanding that there must exist a national team for each of the countries that compose it: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

During his presentation he’s declared (link in Spanish) that “You can notice that the matches here with the flags, the anthem and a full stadium… are a party, that’s the way it has to be: a national party”

He says that he wants to create a team that will play against the best using the players from both Catalan first division teams, Barça and Espanyol as a base. Cruyff is not going to earn any money for his job and instead all the money he should have earned from the Catalan Football Federation will be destined to his foundation for social projects.

The Catalan national team is currently negotiating with other national teams to play a friendly match before Chirstmas.