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‘Marca España’ Deputy Director sacked after insulting Catalans on Twitter

The Spanish minister for Foreign Affairs, José Manuel García Margallo, says comments by Juan Carlos Gafo were “intolerable” and “absolutely inconsistent” with the organisation which aims to promote the Spanish image abroad. The now sacked Deputy Director said on Twitter: “F*** Catalans. They do not deserve anything at all. His words caused outcry in Catalonia, so he later apologized saying he has “nothing against Catalonia or Catalans”. He said he got “mad at hearing the Spanish national anthem booed” during the Barcelona 2013 FINA Championship.


22 July 2013 05:00 PM


Barcelona (ACN).- The Deputy Director of \u2018Marca España\u2019, a publicly funded organisation aimed at improving the image of Spain domestically and abroad, has been sacked after insulting Catalans on Twitter. Juan Carlos Gafo reacted angrily on social media sites last week after the Spanish anthem was booed during the opening night of the Barcelona 2013 FINA Championship. \u201CF*** Catalans. They do not deserve anything at all\u201D, he wrote.

His comments were quickly picked up by other Twitter users, and caused outcry in Catalonia. He tried to justify them by saying he had “nothing against Catalonia or Catalans” but was just “mad” at the booing of the Spanish anthem. “I would never boo the Catalan anthem”, he said. However, he was ultimately forced to resign after the Spanish minister in charge of ‘Marca España’, José Manuel García-Margallo, saw the tweets.

“Those comments were absolutely intolerable and absolutely inconsistent with the spirit of ‘Marca España’, which, by definition, protects, gives support and defends all nationalities and regions in Spain”, said the Foreign Affairs minister during a trip to Brussels.

Margallo said the tweets were “a mistake” and explained that once he verified that they were actually written by a senior executive of ‘Marca España’ he ordered an “immediate sacking”. “Any insult, humiliation or derogative term is absolutely unfair and does not help to promote the harmonic spirit that ‘Marca España’ aims for”, he added. After being sacked, Gafo wrote on Twitter: “I apologise to Catalans. It was a mistake and I ask for forgiveness. I am leaving Marca España”.

The Spanish anthem was booed in Barcelona, in a move that is not unusual since the independence movement began. But many read it as a political statement against the Spanish governments’ stance on Catalonia rather than as a direct insult to Spanish culture or society.

Gafo’s comments were a political embarrassment for the Spanish government, especially considering the tensions between Madrid and Barcelona. The Catalan government wants Madrid to grant it permission to hold a referendum on independence, but so far Mariano Rajoy’s government has refused, arguing that letting the Catalans have their say would be against the Spanish Constitution. But in Catalonia the overall majority of citizens are in favour of a referendum and recent polls by the Catalan Polling Centre (CEO) suggest that support for independence is at 55.6%. 


  • The former Deputy Director of 'Marca España', Juan Carlos Gafo

  • The former Deputy Director of 'Marca España', Juan Carlos Gafo