'New York Times' defends independence referendum in Catalonia
"The best outcome for Spain would be to permit the referendum, and for Catalan voters to reject independence" says newspaper NYT editorial
The 'New York Times' newspaper expressed its support for an independence referendum in Catalonia in an editorial published on Friday. "The best outcome for Spain would be to permit the referendum, and for Catalan voters to reject independence –as voters in Quebec and Scotland have done," said the editorial board in its text. "Madrid's intransigence will only inflame Catalan frustrations," said the NYT, which went on to point out: "Spain is determined to prevent a Catalan referendum on independence, even though its tough attitude toward Catalan leaders has probably only increased enthusiasm for a measure with questionable support: The Catalan government is planning to hold a vote on self-determination on October 1, despite fierce opposition from the Spanish authorities.
The NYT editorial explained how Catalonia's executive "staged a nonbinding independence vote in 2014," and that "Spain charged the autonomous region's leader at the time, Artur Mas, with the crimes of disobedience and breach of trust." According to the US newspaper, "the trial only succeeded in galvanizing Catalan separatists, as hundreds of thousands took to the streets in September to demand that their politicians push ahead on independence."
The 'New York Times' argued that Spain could suppress "secessionist impulses more successfully by putting its own house in order." In particular, it said that "a more capable central government could head off independence fervor by giving the region a better economic return," and added that "negotiating in good faith with Catalan leaders to find a political solution, rather than relying on the judiciary's restrictive interpretation of the Constitution to punish Catalan efforts for greater autonomy would also help."
The NYT editorial in favor of an independence referendum in Catalonia caused a great deal of reaction from Catalan and Spanish politicians. "I see they do not buy the idea that a referendum is a coup d'état," Catalan president Carles Puigdemont tweeted ironically, referring to accusations from Madrid linking his independence plans to a coup.
The Liberal ciutadans MP, Lorena Roldán, said that the NYT's editorial is just "another opinion" and warned that the Catalan process is "an international failure". From the conservative People's Party, its Catalan secretary general, Santi Rodríguez, criticized the government for "crowing" about an American newspaper editorial while "forgetting" about other social problems, such as a local metro strike.