Dear Commons Community,
Elaine and I leave Barcelona shortly for the eight-hour plus flight back to New York. It was a fine visit. There was much (culture, music, architecture) that was enjoyable and stimulating. Barcelona is a modern city respectful of its past. It succeeds in moving forward while preserving its centuries of history and tradition. It is well-organized and getting around especially on the train system is intuitive and easy.
This Sunday, Catalans will be going to the polls for local elections for the Parliament of Catalonia. Which parties win will have an important effect on Barcelona’s future. There is a strong push for separation from the rest of Spain and one does not spend a day in Barcelona and its countryside without seeing the separatist flag and hearing the Catalan language which sounds more Italian or Portuguese than Spanish. However this election goes, we wish the Catalan people well.
Adios and Adeu/Gracias and Gracies!
Update: September 29th:
As an update to this post, on Sunday, September 28th, Catalan Separatists Won a Narrow Majority in Regional Elections. As reported in the New York Times:
“Catalan separatist parties won a majority of the seats in regional parliamentary elections on Sunday that they had billed as a plebiscite on secession from Spain.
The result is set to intensify Catalonia’s drive toward independence, despite fierce opposition from Spain’s government under Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. The separatist leaders have vowed to form a new regional government that will lead Catalonia to statehood within 18 months.
“We have a democratic mandate; we have won against all odds,” Artur Mas, the Catalan leader, told supporters in central Barcelona on Sunday night as votes were still being counted. “Just as we, as democrats, would have accepted defeat, we ask that others recognize the victory of Catalonia and the victory of the Yes” bloc for independence, he added.
Still, the separatist parties failed to win a majority of the votes on Sunday and face significant legal hurdles in converting their secessionist ambitions into a breakup of Spain. The government in Madrid has repeatedly warned that any breach of the Constitution would be struck down by the courts and could lead even to the suspension of Catalan secessionist politicians from office.”