The Catalan Council for the Republic Announces the Creation of the “Free Ministry for Foreign Affairs” of Catalonia

On Wednesday, the Catalan Council for the Republic announced the creation of the “Free Ministry for Foreign Affairs” of Catalonia, an instrument to internationalize the conflict between Catalonia and Spain. This will be formed by Catalans living across the world.

The Council called on Catalans living abroad to take part in this effort and complement the work of the autonomous government, which does not have enough freedom. “What we are doing is establishing a diplomatic network, but it will work like any other ministry. There will be coordination, training, and other aspects that we will be explained soon.”

The Council also said that it should serve to “prepare the confrontation” once the “negotiations” with Spain fail. “The roadmap for independence implies to confront Spain. The fight is strategic for the whole movement. We will look for great alliances for self-determination.” It is about “complementing” and not “replacing” the government’s external network.

“This international strategy has been worked on for a long time. From the beginning, we were convinced that this was one of the pillars of the Council,” said exiled Catalan President Carles Puigdemont.

Puigdemont insisted that the Council does not intend to replace the government of Catalonia. “We will come into action whenever Spain blocks the action of the Catalan government. This is one of the missions of the Council for the Republic and we can do it without fear, without asking permission from anyone or being afraid of Spanish repression.”

The Spanish Government Refuses Dialogue with Catalonia

On Wednesday, the Spanish government once again refused dialogue with Catalonia and decided to postpone negotiations with Catalonia until “relevant agreements” can be reached, despite the fact that such agreements could not be reached without dialogue and negotiations.

These statements made by the spokesperson for the Spanish government, Isabel Rodríguez, come after the Catalan government called on the Spanish administration to hold serious negotiations to solve the ongoing conflict.

“The Sánchez administration only looks for excuses to avoid negotiations. We ask the Government to work on past commitments and not to look at any other side or look for excuses,” said spokeswoman for ERC, Marta Vilalta.

The Spanish government has been seeking to discuss minor issues in bilateral commissions and in the conference of autonomous presidents. Therefore, the next meeting will be held on February 25th, where the Spanish government expects to adopt unilateral decisions.

The agreement between Spain’s PM Pedro Sánchez and ERC was signed in early January 2020. It was specified that negotiations on resolving the political conflict would begin within two weeks and would take place monthly. Since then, only two meetings have been held without any discussion on the political conflict.

Spanish Court Orders to Give Award Back to a Former Francoist Minister

The Spanish High Court in Catalonia (TSJC) rules that Barcelona’s City Council must give back the city’s gold medal to former Spanish Francoist minister Rodolfo Martín Villa. The conservative judges argued that “the council couldn’t withdraw it because awards can only be withdrawn when there are unknown contemporary facts at the time this is granted,” which they said is not the case.

Martín Villa (87) is under investigation in Argentina for crimes against humanity. He held several public positions during Franco’s dictatorship before becoming a minister. He was awarded the Catalan capital’s highest distinction in 1976 by a mayor he himself had appointed only months earlier.

Villa is subject to an investigation by Argentine judge María Servini into Franco-era crimes, as well as those that took place during the transition. The pre-democratic 1977 Amnesty Law prevent this from happening in Spain. Villa is accused of being involved in the massacre of workers, students, protesters, as well as police violence.