• Spain's news in English

Independence website pushes Catalonia cause

The Local · 22 Apr 2014, 16:48

Published: 22 Apr 2014 16:48 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"Catalonia will vote on November 9th 2014": that is the message that greets visitors to the new 'Catalonia votes' site, launched on Tuesday.

The homepage also features a clock which counts down the days, hours and minutes until the planned vote on the issue of self-rule for the wealthy region.

It's a striking message, and a bold one, given that the Spanish Parliament in Madrid recently roundly rejected Catalonia's right to unilaterally go to the ballot box.

While many people in wealthy Catalonia resent the redistribution of their taxes to other regions and would like the region to be vote on independence, the Spanish Government says the planned November 9th poll is illegal.

Under Spanish law, all Spaniards have the right to vote on whether a single region should be permitted to become an independent sovereign state.

But the Catalonia votes website shows the fight for the right to hold its referendum is far from over.

Set up by the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (Diplocat) — a public–private initiative which supports an independent Catalonia — the site is a further attempt to win new international fans over to the Catalan cause. 

"We set up the website after receiving feedback on how hard difficult it was to obtain information about the Catalan side of the independence debate," Diplocat Secretary General Albert Royo told The Local.

"It's hard to get this message across to an international audience because much of the media is controlled by Madrid," he explained.

"The same is true of diplomacy. Catalonia doesn't have its own diplomatic corps and it doesn't have embassies, so we have to seek other methods of communication," he added.

"The new site is a form of soft power."

Early reactions have been positive, Royo said, both from within Catalonia and from outsiders interested in the Catalan issue.  

Financed by backers including the Catalan Government, trade unions and even FC Barcelona, the site features in-depth information about the November 9th poll, coverage of the issue by foreign press outlets and videos with major players including regional president Artur Mas.

"We want to vote because Catalonia is a nation," says Mas in a short English-language video presentation, which comes with a rousing background music track..

"As a matter of fact Catalonia is one of the oldest nations of Europe...with its own culture, its own language, its own identity, its own civil law," he adds.  

"We want to hold a referendum for three main reasons," says Oriol Junqueras, the head of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) party, in another video.

Story continues below…

"First because we don't feel represented by the Spanish government. Second we want to vote and decide on the future of our country as every democratic country does.

"Lastly, we are working in order to solve our political, economic and social problems, with more and more democracy and to do this, we need the best tools — the tools of a State."

The site also features comments on the Catalan independence cause from international luminaries including United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, UK Prime Minister and David Cameron.

A recent poll run by Spain's El Mundo newspaper found that 50 percent of Spaniards still believe Catalonia will go to polls on November 9th in defiance of Madrid.  

Don't miss stories about Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter

The Local (news@thelocal.es)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain's Podemos sees golden opportunity in Socialist woes
Pablo Iglesias is ready to step up in opposition. Photo: AFP

As Spain's conservatives prepare to re-take power after 10 months of political limbo, anti-austerity party Podemos has set its sights on replacing the divided Socialists as the main opposition force.

Wildlife ranger accused over decapitated bison in Valencia
The headless corpse of Sauro was found last month. Photo: Carlos Alamo / Reserva de Valdeserrillas

The case of the beheaded bison at a wildlife reserve in Valencia just got a whole lot weirder.

Spain jobless drops below 20% for first time in six years
The unemployed queuing up outside a Madrid job centre. Photo: AFP

Spain's unemployment fell below 20 percent for the first time in six years, official figures showed on Thursday.

'Saints not ghouls' insists Spanish church for Halloween
Suggested outfits from the Bishopric of Cadiz and Ceuta. Photo: Shower of Roses

Spanish bishops are urging good Christian children to forgo zombie, ghost and devil outfits and instead dress up as "saints, virgins and apostles".

Tough road ahead, Spain PM warns before return to power
Rajoy will try and form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain's acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned on Wednesday of a tough road ahead as he prepares to take power again at the head of a minority government with little support.

Russia withdraws request to refuel warships in Ceuta
The aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was due to dock in Ceuta

Russia has withdrawn a request for its aircraft carrier group to be refuelled at the Spanish port of Ceuta, authorities confirmed.

Bulls replace guard dogs at scrap yard in Valencia
Two bulls will be patrolling the scrap yard in eastern Spain. Archive photo: AFP

Guard dogs were not proving enough of a deterrent to thieves at a car breakers yard in eastern Spain so the owner has brought in a pair of fighting bulls.

Two-headed shark born in Spanish laboratory
Scientists are studying the rare find. Photo: IBIMA / University of Malaga

Scientists at the University of Malaga found the embryo of a shark with two heads and just one body.

Spain under pressure to stop refuel of Russian warships
Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is due to arrive in Ceuta. Photo: Mil Ru / Wikimedia

Spain is facing international pressure to refuse permission for a Russian warship flotilla to refuel in Ceuta en route to continuing airstrikes against the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Most wanted: Fugitive rapist arrested in Tenerife
Mohammed Jahangir Alam was arrested n Tenerife. Photo: Crimestoppers.

Mohammed Jahangir Alam, one of Britain's most wanted fugitives, who fled the country in 2008 after allegedly raping a woman, was found working in Tenerife.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available