In the recent past, we have seen many small nations freeing and establishing themselves as a separate republic. Now it seems to be the turn of Catalonia to demand independence from Spain. One of Spain’s wealthiest and most productive regions, Catalonia has a distinctive history dating back almost 1000 years. The region enjoyed a lot of autonomy before Spanish Civil War, but when Gen. Francisco Franco became the ruler of Spain (1939-75) he suppressed the autonomy of Catalonia.
After Franco’s death, Catalonia was granted autonomy again under the newly made, 1978 constitution. Recently, Catalonia conducted a referendum on leaving Spain in which 90 per cent of the voters seem to have favoured independence.
The Spanish leadership, however, has rejected the referendum and has let loose repression on the Catalans who took to the streets for protest. Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, the separatist leaders have been sentenced for a 15 year jail term.
Thousands of protesters responded to this by protesting, carrying candles and chanting “Freedom for political prisoners” and “Out, forces of occupation”.
The government of Catalonia, which demands secession, has made an urgent plea to the European Union for help.
What is to happen? It looks as if the Catalans have a strong case in their favour and have a chance of getting ultimate victory.