The government of Catalonia inaugurated its delegation in Buenos Aires

The president of Catalonia, Pere Aragones, speaking at the inauguration of his government’s delegation in Buenos Aires

As part of its advanced policy to strengthen its international ties, the Catalan government reopened its delegation in Buenos Aires this Friday, one of the four it will have in Latin America, along with Mexico, Colombia and Brazil.

It was one of the central activities of the tour that the Catalan president, Peter Aragones, takes place in Bogotá, Montevideo, Santiago de Chile and the Argentine capital to strengthen political, economic and cultural ties while pursuing his dream of advancing towards Catalan independence, a dream that today seems to be at a dead end due to the impossibility of reaching an agreement for a new referendum with the Spanish national government and due to the internal crisis that disintegrated the Catalan independence movement and broke its government coalition. Even so, Aragonés did not hide the fact that he hopes that the reopened delegation (it had operated between 2008 and 2011 when it closed due to a budget adjustment) be the seed of the future embassy of an independent Catalan state.

“We want to contribute to a new European look at Latin America, not from the old look with a colonial aftertaste, but a look in terms of equality, respect and seeking shared opportunities,” Aragones told the press.

“We are aware that Catalonia is not yet an independent state, which I hope it can be as soon as possible, but for now cooperation relations are much easier with subnational governments, from the provinces”, he admitted, after having signed a cooperation agreement with the Buenos Aires governor, Axel Kicillof, who has his first exchange focus on the joint development of the video game industry and collaboration in the research and development of green hydrogen, the latest jewel of renewable energy.

Inauguration of the Catalan delegation in Buenos Aires
The new delegation of the Catalan government in the Belgrano neighborhood

Aragonés also met with the judge Maria Romilda Servini de Cubría that investigates the Franco’s crimes against humanitymany of whose victims were Catalans, including the former Catalan president Luis Companys. “It was a stimulating meeting and it seems fundamental to us that there be judicial processes of this magnitude led by women,” he said, and recognized the “fundamental difference” that is that Argentina has tried its dictatorship and Spain, on the other hand, has “agreed with it ”.

From the hottest moment of the conflict with the Spanish government that began with the 2017 Catalan independence referendum, declared illegal by Madrid, and which led to the exile of the then Catalan president Carlos Puigdemont and the imprisonment of 9 of its officials, the situation has de-escalated a lot. From the arrival of Pedro Sanchez to the government (with the support of the Catalan independentistas) a dialogue table was established, the imprisoned officials were pardoned and the crime of sedition for which they had been convicted.

But Aragones acknowledges that it is still “very far” to reach an agreement for their desire, which is the realization of a new referendum accepted by all parties. “The underlying conflict over sovereignty can only be resolved through dialogue, negotiation and a vote in a referendum. Catalonia needs a democratic way out, ”he insisted.

The truth is that if it has been impossible to bring positions closer to the socialist Sánchez in La Moncloa, everything suggests that it will be even more difficult if, as the polls predict, the PP returns to power in this year’s elections. “The Popular Party has a chance of winning the Spanish elections, but in Catalonia it only has 3 deputies out of 135. In a territory that is 16% of the state’s population, 20# of its GDP and 25% of its exports. Therefore, you must reflect on whether your hostile attitude is understood by the Catalans or not. It is clear that not ”, Aragones warned, in a clear indication of how difficult those relations will be.