Catalonia to take part in White House Summit for Democracy event

Foreign minister visits America and Mexico to commemorate 50th anniversary of cellist Casals' famed UN speech

The Catalan foreign minister, Victòria Alsina, during a tribute to Pau Casals in Washington on December 8, 2021 (by Catalan government)
The Catalan foreign minister, Victòria Alsina, during a tribute to Pau Casals in Washington on December 8, 2021 (by Catalan government) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

December 9, 2021 11:10 AM

The Catalan government will take part in the Summit for Democracy event organized by the White House next spring.

The foreign minister, Victòria Alsina, announced it during her trip to America and Mexico this week.

America's executive will organize a series of conferences and meetings in 2022 about democratic quality and open government, and Catalonia will host one of them, which will be its first official contact with the Biden administration.

Alsina has been advocating for a bigger effort in open government policies since she came into office in May.

For her, such policies have to "define" the current government and have to be part of its legacy.

"This means promoting transparency, anti-corruption policies, the collaboration between the public and private sectors, and public participation."

From Washington, she also said that it is important that the Catalan government explains its foreign action to America and gets involved in the dialogue about democracy promoted by the United States.

Tribute to Pau Casals

Alsina is spending some days in the US and Mexico this week in order to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Catalan famed cellist Pau Casals' iconic speech at the United Nations where he proclaimed "I am a Catalan." 

He praised Catalonia’s contributions to peace and democracy and received the UN Peace Medal in recognition for his work towards peace, justice, and freedom.

The Catalan foreign minister is also honoring the 60th anniversary of Casals' concert at the White House before the then US president John F. Kennedy, which took place in 1961.

In a tribute event in Washington, cellist Amit Peled held a concert with the same instrument Casals used to perform, a Goffriller cello dating back to 1733.

Pau Casals' wife, Marta, attended the event and also met with Alsina.

"He would be happy for the things that have sorted out, but deeply concerned about what is not doing that good. The world, unfortunately, takes not much time in returning to uncertainty and wrong ideologies," said Marta Casals.

As for the foreign minister, she emphasized "the vision and struggle" of the cellist for peace and democracy, which, according to her, is on the same page as the Catalan government's agenda. "Only with more democracy can the political conflict [with Spain] be sorted," she added.

The concert in Washington follows similar events in Barcelona and Geneva in October. 

Tribute to Republican exiles

Alsina is traveling to Mexico on Thursday. In the evening, she will chair another tribute concert to Pau Casals in Mexico DF's Foro Cultural Lenín.

Apart from meetings with lawmakers and businesspeople in the country, she will inaugurate the government's office in Mexico and will take part in a tribute to the around 20,000 to 25,000 Republicans who exiled to the North American country after losing the Spanish Civil War to fascists.