Carta de Javier Rupérez, embajador

AmbassadorJavier Ruperez response to Heather Conley at CSIS.


Let me add a couple of comments to your piece on “The Silence of the
Damned”, which has recently appeared on the CSIS web page. Article 2
of the 1978 Spanish Constitution, approved in referendum by 90% of
Catalonians, establishes Spain as the “common and indivisible homeland
of the Spanish people”. I am sure that “indivisibility” sounds
familiar to you when thinking about the “perfect Union” of the
American Constitution or even the “indivisible” nation of the Pledge
of Allegiance. It is obvious that the Catalonian separatists would like
to break that “indivisibility”. As you may easily understand, that
wish would entail breaking up the territorial integrity of the oldest
European nation, a solid member of the NATO alliance since 1982, one of
the biggest economies in the European Union since 1986, and a confirmed
and reliable partner, ally and friend of the United States of America
for decades. I believe you are also able to understand the degree of
instability that breaking up would entail for Europe, the Atlantic
Alliance and beyond. Procedures to legally introduce changes in our
Constitution do exist, all of them subject to the approval of the
Spanish people, but the Catalonian separatists have refused to follow
the law and regulations established in our democracy and have preferred
to stage an open, illegal, unconstitutional coup d’état against the
framework of our freedoms. Your piece on Catalonia does not address one
single iota of that basic reality: the autonomous government of the
Spanish region of Catalonia, without any legal or constitutional basis,
has unilaterally decided to secede from the State to which it has
belonged since 1492.

“The visual of Spanish police dragging elderly voters from polling
stations” is an extremely poor and biased rendering of the situation
in Catalonia on October 1st, when the separatists, against legal
injunctions and orders, attempted to hold a referendum on independence.
Very much the same applies to the “disproportionate use of force
against civilians” which you quote as a source of authority to
complain against the “silence” of the EU. I have to admit the
success of the cunning way in which the separatists depicted the
occasion when the police forces tried to keep the law and order against
a mob of pugnacious protesters. The autonomous government went so far
as to give the number of 900 people wounded by the police in those cases.
Independent observers have later confirmed that only four people could
be included in that category, none of them in serious condition. I
could understand your rush to judgment given the first reports coming from
Barcelona on that day. A more balanced view on what really happened was
offered hours later by the national and international media. In the
meantime, no regional Catalonian authority has been able to provide the
names of those wounded or sent to hospitals. No regional Catalonian
authority is known to have visited any hospitals. While the police have
duly provided the names and details of the 45 agents wounded by the
mob, of which 11 had to be taken to hospitals in various degrees of serious
condition. The separatists have successfully followed the well-known
rule of lazy journalism: “never let reality dampen a good headline”.
It is regrettable that someone like you, and I am sure you did it in
pursuit of your very noble feelings towards the “dammed”, could have
fallen into the same trap.

I am somehow puzzled to realize that you have bought in its entirety
the separatist narrative about Catalonia and the supposed ill-treatment
of the region by the rest of the country. At this stage, I do not want
to use this space to dispel your lack of knowledge in this respect,
probably due to your natural inclinations towards what you take to be
the good and the brave, but suffice for me to state the obvious: never
in recent history has Catalonia, nor the rest of Spain for that matter,
enjoyed a larger degree of freedom, prosperity and justice.
Furthermore, in the case of Catalonia, as well as for the other autonomous Spanish
regions, the degree of self-government and the respect for, and
recognition of, cultural and linguistic characteristics has never been
wider or more firmly guaranteed.

And frankly, I do not understand your complaints about the supposed
“lack of receptivity and creativity” of Prime Minister Rajoy to
“establish some form of a channel of dialogue with Catalan leaders”.
Do you have a recipe on how to have a dialogue with putschists? Should
he follow the guidance of Abraham Lincoln when dealing with the
Southern secessionist States? Or the behavior of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson
when sending the National Guard to Alabama to deal with the disobedient
Governor Wallace? To tell you the truth, which you have been unable to
grasp, perhaps due to the immense variety of your endeavors, Mariano
Rajoy has displayed during these troubled times such a significant
amount of patience that many citizens, indeed a vast majority of the
Spanish people, are already complaining about what they consider
dangerous procrastination in dealing with thugs deserving the prompt
action of the executive and judicial branches of government. And that
premonition of Rajoy “sending large numbers of Guardia Civil” to
Catalonia “which could spur violence” sounds more like wishful
thinking than a proper analysis of the situation. I am sure that was an
involuntary slip of your pen and that it does not reflect your
thoughts. But when reading it, and indeed when reading the whole piece, I had the
impression that you fervently wished Spain, and with it, the whole EU,
to fail. This is something I would not have expected from a senior
vice-president for Europe and director of the Europe Program at the
prestigious Center for Strategic and International Studies. I am sure
you will have these remarks in mind in the future when dealing with
Spanish matters.

Ambassador Javier Ruperez

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