by Dillan Zanni
Earlier this year the region of Spain known as Catalonia was attempting to gain independence from the Spanish government and be an independent, sovereign state. They held an election in Catalonia to see if the people there wanted to be independent of Spain. Out of the 46% of the Catalonian population that voted, 90% wanted independence from Spain. In the Spanish constitution, it states that no region of Spain can declare independence. During the voting of whether Catalonia should be independent, the Police shot rubber bullets at the voting station to try to deter people from voting for it.
The main reason why Catalonia wanted to be independent of Spain is it is the wealthiest part of the country. It holds one fifth of all of their economy so if it split from Spain, Spain’s economy would be hurt drastically. I asked Mrs. Divito what she thought of the referendum and she replied, “I am really worried that this would affect the economy of Spain. Catalonia is the wealthiest region of Spain so if they become independent I am really worried that it would hurt the other regions of Spain that are not as wealthy. That in turn could affect the other countries in Europe as well.” If you want to listen to our full conversation go to https://youtu.be/6fqQdKLmxd8.
The referendum was quiet for about a month until the day that Carles Puigdemont, the former president of Catalonia, declared independence from Spain. Spain was thinking about taking away their autonomy, and the parliament of Catalonia voted in favor of making Catalonia independent. After Puigdemont declared independence the Spanish government declared the never-used-before Article 155 from the Spanish constitution which states if a region of Spain declares independence you can sack their officials and strip their autonomy. They did exactly that. They went into the region of Catalonia and arrested president Puigdemont and several other government officials. After that, they stripped away the autonomy of Catalonia.
Calling Article 155 hurt the country as a whole. Spain’s national unity has gone down since the calling and there is now unrest in the population due to the calling. This will overall hurt Spain in all aspects, from economy to stability in the country as a whole.
300,000 protesters gathered in Spain’s capital to say that they are against the independence and how they are happy that they won’t be independent. They waved Spanish flags and gathered for a pro-Spain rally. Two weeks later more than 750,000 Catalans gather to release President Puigdemont from jail, who is the former Catalan president. They gathered in Barcelona while showing photos of the officials in jail and they all waved the Catalan flag showing they still want their independence.