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Imprisonments show Spain's 'failure' as a state, jailed former minister tells NYT

Raül Romeva reaffirms his commitment to independence in interviews this week with US newspaper and Catalan television


29 November 2018 11:19 AM


ACN | Barcelona

Spain's imprisonment of Catalan leaders shows "the failure of this state," according to former foreign minister, Raül Romeva, who spoke this week to the New York Times.

Romeva told the paper's Spain correspondent, Raphael Minder, that "for the people who didn’t believe the Spanish state had a structural problem," the leaders' long prison stay "should already have shown them the failure of this state."

On Wednesday, the US newspaper reported comments made by Romeva, as well as former vice president Oriol Junqueras, from the Lledoners prison where they are awaiting trial.

Both men are among 18 Catalan political leaders being held in custody charged with rebellion and misuse of public funds for their part in last year's independence bid.

Also in the report, Junqueras admits possible mistakes in the 2017 independence push. "We underestimated some of the difficulties of what we wanted to do last year," he said, but insisted that no one should "underestimate the strength" of their movement.

Romeva: "I will not ask for forgiveness"

Earlier in the week, Romeva spoke out publicly for the first time since he was sent to pre-trial prison, in an interview with Catalan broadcaster, TV3, saying he would not ask for forgiveness for his part in the independence bid.

Defending his actions as a member of the Carles Puigdemont government that was dismissed by the Spanish authorities after a declaration of independence, Romeva insisted that Spain's "opting for repression will not solve absolutely anything."

  • "[Spain's] opting for repression will not solve absolutely anything"

    Raül Romeva · Catalan former foreign minister

Romeva also explained his reasons for not choosing exile abroad, like Puigdemont and some of his former ministers, arguing that he did not consider what the government did to be criminal, and that he had previously said he would be willing to go to jail if necessary.

Reaction to potential guilty sentence

Admitting that being free would allow him to better prepare for his trial, he said he considers the detention of the pro-independence leaders to be an "infringement" of their rights. "As a society we should not accept a situation in which pre-trial detention is used as a form of summary justice," he said.

As for his upcoming trial, Romeva told TV3 that he expected any guilty sentences to cause "indignation" that will "bring together" the independence movement, and he called for "patience and full awareness of the magnitude of the objective."

Romeva welcomes new foreign minister

Meanwhile, Romeva welcomed the appointment of Alfred Bosch as the new foreign minister this week, saying that the government's policies abroad "are in the best hands," and he insisted that there was widespread international awareness of Catalonia's situation.

Nevertheless, in his opinion,"the problem, however, is not so much whether anyone listens abroad but the fact that Spain does not want to listen either at home or abroad."


  • The Catalan deposed foreign minister Raül Romeva during his interview with ACN on March 15, 2018 (by Maria Belmez)

  • The Catalan deposed foreign minister Raül Romeva during his interview with ACN on March 15, 2018 (by Maria Belmez)