CUP does not applaud Ukrainian consul in Parliament
Anti-capitalists show anti-war posters instead
BarcelonaUkraine marks the political agenda since the Russian invasion: speeches revolve around condemnations of the war, the need for humanitarian aid or the refugee crisis. And every detail counts. The Ukrainian consul in Barcelona, Artem Vorobyov, was asked to attend Parliament this Wednesday by Speaker Laura Borràs. And all MPs gave him a standing ovation; all, that is, except the CUP's. Instead, the anti-capitalists held up posters against the war.
"We have exhibited posters of 'No to war' before the hegemonic discourse of sending arms to Ukraine", explain CUP sources. Like other political forces, the cupaires have spoken against the war, but in their case they have refused to join another international consensus: the need to help Ukrainians defend themselves. From the CUP they reject sending weapons to support the Ukrainian army (they argue that it will not change the correlation of forces and will only provoke more victims) and criticise NATO and not only Vladimir Putin as being responsible for the escalation of tensions with Russia. In fact, thirty-six years after Catalonia voted against joining NATO, the CUP is the only Catalan party that openly calls for leaving the alliance.
This Wednesday's refusal to applaud the Ukrainian consul has shown the CUP's discomfort when it comes to choosing one of the two sides in the struggle. "We are the only ones who have a clear discourse against the war and against supplying weapons," the same sources add. The CUP was already the only party that did not sign a non-legislative proposal presented by PSOE last week in the Congress in which it repudiated "the military actions perpetrated by the Russian Federation in Ukraine".
But what is the CUP's position in this conflict? The anti-capitalists demand an immediate halt of the war, a start to détente, demilitarisation and pacification of the region, which has to be achieved, in their opinion, "by the withdrawal of NATO troops and military equipment from Russian borders and the fulfilment of the disarmament pacts unfulfilled by the USA since the 90s". Thus, it equates the military actions carried out "by the Russian government" and suffered by the people of Ukraine with those of NATO, as well as "the role that the EU has played, especially since the Maidan movement of 2013."
The CUP urges a return to "diplomatic channels" to establish a framework of international relations "based on the criteria contained in the Minsk Agreement and opposed to the framework imposed by NATO; [criteria] based on respect for the sovereignty of peoples, solidarity, cooperation and peace." In this sense, the CUP again points out the US and NATO's "responsibility" as "imperialist forces" in the war and recalls the cases of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria or Libya.
Putin's links with the pro-independence movement
The image, at the beginning of the plenary session on Wednesday, has served as a prelude to what would follow. PP and Cs have moved heaven and earth to try to link Catalan independence to Putin, wielding the alleged contacts between the teams of former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and the Russian president. "It is quite indecent that they try to link this Government with Putin's," the president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, has responded. The two parties have taken advantage of the fact that this Tuesday the European Parliament voted an amendment that defended investigating the relationship between Putin and the independence movement (the results of the vote will be made public this Wednesday): "The close contacts between Russian officials and representatives of Catalan secessionist groups in Spain (...) require an in-depth investigation", said the amendment.
"We are very clear about who our (EU) allies are and which countries and governments we want to have relations with. We have had a clear position in favour of Ukraine's independence and its right to continue to exist as a people. Do not seek any kind of loopholes in this regard," Aragonès insisted. The president of Cs group, Carlos Carrizosa, has announced that he will seek the necessary support to promote an inquiry on the subject in Parliament and the leader of the PP in Catalonia, Alejandro Fernández, has accused Aragonès of being Putin's "accomplice", by keeping JxCat in the Government. Vox's leader in the Catalan parliament, Ignacio Garriga, even had time to deny his party's links with Russia: "Putin's only partners are you and Maduro".
The conference of presidents
The climax has come in the last questions of the session, asked by the leader of the opposition, Salvador Illa (PSC). "If Catalonia is with Ukraine, then you should attend to the conference of regional presidents in La Palma and you should support the connection of the Midcat gas pipeline. Will you do it?" "If it is to reach agreements we can be there. If it is only to receive information that we could receive through press releases, I really don't know if it is worth it," the president responded. He also criticised that these meetings ran the risk of being mere "photo opportunities". "Enough excuses, are you telling me that the Basque president Urkullu and all other presidents attend not to work but to go on tourism around La Palma? I ask for respect."
Aragonès has insisted that he will go to La Palma if there is talk there of "the coordination of the reception of refugees, of the support measures in the field of energy for Catalan households and of the funds to cover all the expenses that will be caused" by the war. Ukraine was once again in the centre of the debate in the Parliament, despite the fact that by this Wednesday it was clearly a cause of confrontation between the parties.