Massive concert supporting Catalonia’s self-determination is ignored by Spanish politicians
On Saturday evening, 90,000 people gathered in FC Barcelona Camp Nou stadium to attend a concert backing Catalonia’s right to self-determination. The event, organised by a civil society entity – Òmnium Cultural – and without public funding, called for a self-determination referendum in 2014. The two largest political parties in Catalonia, which share a parliamentary stability pact, stated that a specific date for a self-determination vote should be fixed after December 2013. In addition, they insisted that the Catalan President will send a letter to the Spanish Prime Minister in July asking for this vote to be organised. However, in Madrid, the reactions have been almost non-existent. The Spanish Justice Minister insisted that a referendum would be illegal since sovereignty is rooted into the Spanish people as a whole.
Barcelona (ACN).- On Saturday evening, 90,000 people gathered in FC Barcelona Camp Nou stadium to attend a concert backing Catalonia\u2019s right to self-determination. The event, organised by a civil society entity \u2013 Òmnium Cultural \u2013 and without public funding, called for a self-determination referendum in 2014. Attendees organised a mosaic which read \u201CFreedom Catalonia 2014\u201D, sending a message to the international community. Some of the 50 most famous Catalan musicians played in the seven-hour event, which included songs that became anthems against the Franco dictatorship four decades ago. After the so-called \u2018Concert for Freedom\u2019, the reactions in Catalonia have been manifold. Parties supporting the Catalans\u2019 right to self-determination have stated that this vote should be organised as soon as possible in order to allow citizens express their democratic will in 2014. The parties opposing Catalonia\u2019s independence from Spain have criticised the rush to organise the vote and the concert, describing it as \u201Can independence Akelarre (Witches' Sabbath)\u201D. However, in Madrid, the reactions have been almost non-existent. The only two reactions have been those of the Secretary General of the People\u2019s Party (PP), María Dolores de Cospedal, and the Spanish Justice Minister, Alberto Ruiz Gallardón, who insisted that a self-determination referendum would be illegal.
The Spanish Government totally opposes modifying the Constitution to allow a self-determination referendum
On Monday, Ruiz Gallardón insisted that a referendum would be \u201Cillegal\u201D since \u201Csovereignty is rooted into the Spanish people as a whole\u201D. The Spanish Justice Minister emphasised that any initiative promoting \u201CSpain breaking up\u201D should bear in mind that the Spanish people \u201Ccannot be split into territories\u201D. According to him, Spain is not \u201Ca nation of territories but a nation of citizens\u201D and therefore the \u201Cexercise of the national sovereignty principle has to be exercised by citizens and not by territories\u201D. Ruíz Gallardón also added that \u201Cit is legitimate\u201D to propose a reform of the Spanish Constitution \u201Cif it does not distort the essence of the Constitution itself, which is the Spanish nation\u201D, because \u201Cthe reality of Spain predates the Constitution itself\u201D.
Besides, the Secretary General of the PP, who is the \u2018number 2\u2019 of the party running the Spanish Government, María Dolores de Cospedal, stated that the claims expressed in Saturday\u2019s concert do not represent \u201Cthe general interest\u201D of Catalonia\u2019s citizens in a moment when \u201Cthe priority is recovering from the [economic] crisis\u201D. De Cospedal warned the Catalan Government that \u201Cany operation that a government stirs up, promotes or incites and that does not go in this direction\u201D, is \u201Can action in the wrong direction\u201D, \u201Cespecially when this government has severe economic, deficit and financial problems\u201D.
CiU and ERC stated that a vote will be organised in 2014
Following the concert, Catalan political parties reacted to this citizen event, which ended not by asking for the right to self-determination but with the attendees and musicians directly asking for independence. The two largest political parties in Catalonia, the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) and the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC), which share a parliamentary stability pact, stated that a specific date for a self-determination vote should be fixed after December 2013. The CiU insisted they would honour their previous commitment to organise a self-determination vote in 2014. The ERC explained that by December 2013, all the institutional, political and legal preparatory work should be ready and it should be possible to set a day to celebrate a self-determination vote. In addition, they insisted that the letter the Catalan President will send in July to the Spanish Prime Minister asking for this vote to be organised should be made public and also be sent to the main international organisations.
The ERC leaders and many of the top CiU leaders \u2013 except the Catalan President and the coalition\u2019s \u2018number 2\u2019 \u2013 attended the concert. On Monday, CiU\u2019s \u2018number two\u2019, Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, asked the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, \u201Cto make a proposal\u201D to the Catalans and \u201Cto allow the self-determination vote\u201D, as the British Prime Minister David Cameron has done regarding Scotland.
Furthermore, the Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA) asked to put \u201Cpolitical solutions\u201D on the table before the \u201Chistorical moment\u201D Catalonia is going through, since \u201Cthe majority of Catalan society\u201D is asking to be able to exercise the right to self-determination. The ICV-EUiA leader, Joan Herrera, emphasised that the concert was \u201Ca massive cultural and civic-minded mobilisation asking for democracy\u201D. However, the ICV-EUiA also insisted that citizens should not only be able to vote on the relationship between Catalonia and Spain, but also on economic and social issues, such as \u201Cwhat should be done with public debt\u201D and the power of banks. Several ICV-EUiA members attended the concert.
The PSC, the PP and C\u2019s criticised the concert
The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) \u2013 which supports Catalonia\u2019s right to self-determination but opposes independence \u2013 refused to attend the concert. According to them, facts \u201Cproved\u201D that the concert was in fact \u201Ca pro-independence\u201D event, instead of one supporting the right to self-determination. The PSC is part of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), whose leaders in Madrid ignored the concert. The PSC warned the CiU and the ERC that talking about setting a date for the self-determination vote \u201Cgenerates expectations\u201D that are \u201Cdifficult to manage\u201D. For this reason they asked for \u201Ccaution\u201D, since being able to exercise the self-determination vote is not \u201Can easy or quick thing\u201D.
The leader of the PP in Catalonia, Alícia Sánchez-Camacho, stated that the evening concert was \u201Can Akelarre\u201D [which in English could be translated as \u201CWitches\u2019 Sabbath\u201D]. Sánchez-Camacho said the concert was \u201Cnot that of freedom\u201D but \u201Cthat of breaking up and exclusion\u201D. The PP leader stressed that the concert was an \u201Caction against the rest of Catalans\u201D, \u201Cthe silent Catalonia that does not attend the concert\u201D. She accused the Catalan Government of \u201Ccultivating Hispanophobia\u201D by \u201Cpromoting\u201D the concert and wanting \u201Cto transform Catalonia into a land of sectarianism\u201D.
The anti-Catalan nationalism and Spanish nationalist party Ciutadans (C\u2019s) criticised public media in Catalonia for having broadcast Saturday\u2019s concert that gathered 90,000 people in the FC Barcelona stadium with 50 of the most famous Catalan musicians, including Lluís Llach. Llach is probably the most popular Catalan singer-songwriter alive, who was on stage last Saturday for the second time after he retired 6 years ago. Ciutadans\u2019 leader, Albert Rivera, described the concert as \u201Ca musical political rally\u201D and insisted it was not justifiable that public media broadcast it live. According to him, public media did so because they were manipulated by the Catalan Government. \u201CThere is no austerity when what is at stake is broadcasting the Catalan Government\u2019s ideology\u201D, he stated, while he remarked that a few days ago the Catalan Public TV and Radio Broadcasting Corporation announced a mass lay-off. Rivera also qualified the Catalan Presidency Minister, Francesc Homs \u2013 who attended the concert \u2013 as \u201Cthe Minister of Propaganda\u201D. In the last few months, Spanish Extreme-Right Wing media and politicians from the PP have been linking the Catalan self-determination claims to the Nazi regime.