Catalan Independence

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Catalonia, a region in Northeastern Spain, is struggling for its independence from the Madrid central government. With a unique culture and language, Catalonia had enjoyed relative autonomy until the Spanish Civil War and the resulting fascist dictatorship of Francisco Franco. The region regained and even expanded its autonomy after Franco’s death in 1975, but in 2010 the Spanish central government’s constitutional court ruled that Catalonia had no validity as a nation. In 2014, over 80% of Catalans voted in favor of independence from Spain but the Madrid government declared it the informal referendum illegal. Independence-seeking Catalans believe that Catalonia has the right to self-determination, and are frustrated with austerity measures that heavily tax the wealthy region but provide inadequate services. On October 1, 2017, the regional government of Catalonia held another referendum, which was met by opposition from the Madrid central government and its associated police forces on the grounds of its unconstitutionality. Clashes between police and voters resulted in nearly 900 injuries. Despite widespread violence and voter suppression, the Catalan regional government claims that Catalonia has won the right to statehood with just under 90% of voters backing the independence initiative.

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