VOICES: Catalonia's independence movement is losing support

Daniela Michanie
Daniela Michanie - [email protected]
VOICES: Catalonia's independence movement is losing support
Archive photo of an independence rally in Barcelona. Photo: AFP

Support for Catalonia's independence movement is waning, according to a new survey by the Catalan government's Opinion Studies Centre (CEO).


The poll revealed that since Madrid imposed direct rule in retaliation at the unilateral declaration of independence on October 27th, support for a breakaway state has dropped.

Those who say they would want secession from Spain has dropped to 40.8 percent compared to 48.7 percent at the beginning of October, according to the survey conducted in January.

The Local hit the streets of Barcelona to speak to several individuals this week about how they feel about the future of independence.

Some expressed their outright opposition to Catalonia’s separatist aspirations. Others are simply worn out from what they call a never-ending cycle of tension and failure.

Vera M., a resident of Barcelona who provides free tours of city’s Gothic and modern quarters, spoke the consequences of not finding a solution:

All photos: Daniela Michanie

“I’m guessing there will be propaganda on the Catalan side for the referendum once again and the Spanish government will once again try to stop it. We will have the repetition at least several times until this question is solved. Either the wounds will be mended and healed and the majority of Catalans will not mind being a part being a part of the Spanish state or Catalonia will become independent. But one of the solutions will have to be found. It is not sustainable to have tensions in the society for more than 40 years without any solution. There has to be a solution. “

Luis M., a 72 year-old man resident of Barcelona for most of his life, expressed frustration and anger at the impact the independence party’s attempts are having on lower income Catalans:

“I am already old. I don’t see a solution to this because we don’t have a government. We have to let this go. They [pro-independence party] are causing us a lot of harm, especially to us poor people. I have a salary of €450 per month, but I am paying €400 in rent. I need the help of the central government. And, it’s impossible! How is Spain going to divide itself? We are Spaniards. I have been living in Barcelona for 50 years but I am from Seville. And now, at 72 years old, you’re going to tell me that I am not a Spaniard?”

Maria S., a Barcelona resident originally from Portugal, insisted on a peaceful resolution:

“We want a peaceful resolution through diplomatic means. Not through violence or confrontation. This is a political matter and it needs a political resolution.”

A Barcelona storeowner from Bangladesh, who preferred to remain anonymous, explained that foreigners from his country have no stake in the outcome:

“I do not care. Whether it be Catalonia or Spain, I do not really care.”

Another resident of Barcelona for the past 15 years, who preferred to remain anonymous, spoke not about the outcome of the pro-independence movement, but about the right of Catalans to vote and have the outcome respected:

"It's not about whether I want Catalonia to be a separate state or not. It's about my right, as a citizen in a democratic country, to vote. If Spain wants to call itself a democracy, it has to allow its citizens to determine their own future, and respect that vote regardless of the outcome. Still, I don't think it will happen."


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