Aragonès calls for activating "all pressure mechanisms" to overcome the "blockage" to dialogue

The 'president' warns the Spanish government that if it does not resolve the political conflict "it will open the door" to the far right

3 min
President Aragonès, during his lecture at the MNAC

BarcelonaRecovering the unity of action to force the State to lift the veto on the referendum and put an end to repression. This is, one year after the elections of February 14, Catalan president Pere Aragonès's recipe in the face of the division of the pro-independence majority and the Spanish government's procrastination in dealing with the political conflict. Before more than 400 guests in the oval room of the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC), the leader of the Catalan Government has delivered a speech in which he admitted that the dialogue is in a moment of "blockage" and has called for "cohesion" within the independence movement to activate "all the mechanisms of pressure" against the State. The objective: "To make amnesty and self-determination inevitable".

Despite the fact that both his partner in the Government, Junts, as well as the CUP and the ANC consider that dialogue with Pedro Sánchez's executive has failed, Aragonès recalled that "never until now had the Spanish State admitted the existence of a political conflict with Catalonia" and made it clear that "to achieve independence we know that sooner or later, we will have to go through a negotiation process. Therefore, let us take advantage of the opportunity that is now open to us," he said. In this sense, and after the last pro-independence rift due to the Juvillà case, the president asked "to abandon tacticism, reproaches and distrust that [...] weaken our negotiating position" and to understand that "there is not a good way and a bad way to be pro-independence". "When we reduce the debate to identifying heroes and traitors, the movement as a whole loses. We have to understand that the independence movement is plural and diverse, as is the country itself. This is our strength. This is what makes us winners," he added.

Without specifying what these mechanisms of pressure on the State would mean, Aragonès has urged to "force the State government to move". "Fulfilling obligations is not a proposal. It is necessary to face the problem as the Council of Europe demands. Starting by withdrawing the cases against President Puigdemont and the rest of exiled politicians. And ending by finding a democratic solution to the conflict," he said. And taking advantage of the rise of Vox in the elections in Castilla y León this Sunday, he has launched a first warning to the Moncloa. Along the lines of the one he already made a month ago in his speech in Madrid, the president has used the threat of the far right. "If the deadlock and the immobilism persist [...], it will open the door to a government of the right with the far right", he has warned. "Because by not resolving to the political conflict Spain is sliding towards authoritarianism," he has argued. The growth of the far right, however, usually generates the opposite effect in the PSOE, which seeks to contain Vox and leaves aside any gesture towards Catalonia that could be interpreted as a concession to the independence movement. Aragonès, in this sense, has pointed out that if Vox continues to rise it will be "the responsibility, solely and exclusively, of those who govern, more concerned with not making the right wing angry than with resolving the underlying conflicts".

The conference, which was not attended by the CUP, has been marked by the constant appeal to "Catalonia as a whole" and the need to build consensus. Both on language and linguistic immersion –which he has opted for "strengthening and modernizing"– as well as on self-determination: "We would be mistaken if we were to focus only on responding to the needs of the day to day, however urgent and important they may be. We have not come only to manage, we are not a simple regional administration. We have come to transform", he reiterated. In his opinion, the action of the Government suffers from "political limitations", which happen fundamentally because Spain "neither welcomes nor respects the consensuses of Catalonia" "The current situation is structural and responds to the inability of the State to understand, cover and promote the great consensuses that define Catalonia. It responds to Catalan society's own tiredness of trying to transform Spain, a State that does not want to be transformed", he insisted.