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Catalonia battles for independence

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Art by Kenny Yi

Art by Kenny Yi

Art by Kenny Yi

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Catalonia, a 32-kilometer area of northeastern Spain of about 7.5 million citizens, is currently fighting for independence to become its own country. Catalonia has its own language, culture and traditions. The language of Catalonia, Catalan, is prominent throughout most of Catalonia and creates a sense of nationalism and individuality for the aspiring nation.

Founded in 1922, the Catalan independence movement originated with the political group called Estat Català. The political party eventually grew, branched off and changed until the Spanish Civil War when General Francisco Franco abolished Catalan autonomy in 1938.

The modern independence movement began when a referendum passing the 2006 Statute of Autonomy was challenged. The statute had been passed with 90% approval vote, but only about 42% of the eligible voters actually went to the ballot.

“[The separatists] romanticize the idea [of independence] and they don’t realize how much needs to be taken care of,” said Spanish teacher Mr. John Fuja.

Those separatists seem further encouraged by the Spanish government, who is trying to take complete control. Since the original challenge, there have been several referendums, and leadership of Spain has changed from person to person.

“While independence should be a right that everyone should have, Catalonia needs to consider the consequences of a new nation, along with a new economy,” said sophomore Hannah Klimas.

The economy of Catalonia, an important asset to Spain, is thus a critical part of the decision to become independent. Most of the Catalan-produced goods are purchased by people of Spain, and since the beginning of the independence movement, about 59% of businesses have been affected. The overall economy has also slowed due to businesses leaving Catalonia and sales decreasing. If Catalonia eventually becomes its own nation, its economy will suffer greatly, and a period of time will be necessary to recoup from the decrease in business.

Upcoming in December there will be another vote—this time mandatoryto elect the seats of the senate in Catalonia. Hopefully, the outcome will be a better reflection of the unheard majority opinion.

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Catalonia battles for independence