Surprising Silence from Catalonia
Surprising calm has been reported in Catalonia these past three days even after the Spanish government has deposed of the Catalan authorities on Monday.
After the region declared independence two weeks ago after a contentious vote, declared illegal by the Spanish Government, it was announced last Friday that the Spanish government would take away the self rule of the Autonomous area of Catalonia.
This has led to the government of the rogue Province to be ousted and replaced by a centralized authority based in Madrid.
This has, of course, brought with it tensions and friction.
There have been no real major developments from the new Madrid placed government and peace in the Province has been stable since the violence of the election.
This is not to say, however, that all is going well in the Province or for the former, now deposed government of the Province.
On Sunday, before the new Madridian government took over on Monday, thousands took to the streets of Barcelona to protest the Unilateral Declaration of Independence declared by Catalan President Carles Puigdemont.
The thousands say that they have not been fairly represented in all of this and wish for the Province to remain a part of the Spanish Union.
Many even called for Puigdemont's arrest, a sentiment that is very popular among the rest of Spain and in the Spanish government.
The attitude in Catalonia about independence, according to a recent poll by Sigma Dos for the anti-independence newspaper El Mundo, showed anti-independence parties winning 43.4 per cent support and pro-independence parties 42.5 per cent.
Seeing that this comes from an anti-independence newspaper, it should be taken with some grain of salt.
However, it shows that public opinion on the issue is deeply divided.
The Catalan government's UDI, while justified based on the results of the referendum, is seen by many in Catalonia, not necessarily a majority, but by at least a strong minority, as something that should not go forward.
On Tuesday of this week, one and a half days after the first working day of the new government, Puigdemont fled to Belgium. This left many leaders in Catalonia incensed at the idea that Puigdemont can go through with the referendum, but leave them high and dry when it comes to the consequences of the referendum.
The remaining parts of the Catalan government based in Barcelona have said that they should all defend themselves and their decision to go forward with UDI instead of fleeing the consequences.
Puigdemont's actions show that the situation in Catalonia is extremely fragile, even if it seems on the surface that everything is going relatively well.
This leaves open the question about the future of independence for the region as Puigdemont has stated he will continue fighting for independence while in exile in Belgium.
With the central authorities in Madrid taking over the governance of the Province and the Independence government having to pay it forward to Madrid or going underground with plans for independence, this could spiral very quickly internally for Catalonia as they have no unified vision for the future.
Since public opinion in the region still heavily divided, this could not only spiral into a new Spanish Civil War, but a Catalan Civil War.
As Spain continues to crack down on the autonomy of the region, many are beginning to see a failure of democracy in their region and country.
With crises abound in the European Union, from Brexit to Merkel failing to gain a mandate in the last election to the refugee crisis, this just adds to the issues threatening to tear the Union apart from within.
The EU, supporting Spain, especially in lieu of the Brexit negotiations, have stated that this issue is an internal issue for Spain, no matter what Catalonia wishes or Spain does.
The EU has been placed in such a position that they are damned if they do, damned if they do not. If the EU were to decide to help Catalonia, they would be seen as betraying their member state Spain. If the EU helps Spain, they are seen as not caring about democracy, rule of law, and self determination of peoples.
Only time will tell how this affects Spain and the European Union as a whole community, however, while everything seems silent and calm, there is a massive storm brewing underneath that will come to a head if not dealt with appropriately and promptly when it comes to the future of Spain and Catalonia.