Wednesday, October 3, 2012

There is still a push for Catalonia, Basque areas to separate from Spain

Spain, with all its economic woes, still faces pressure for sovereign independence from some areas, the Basque in the north, and the Catalan region in the northeast, where Barcelona is located.

Jaume Chlolet and Richard Gonzales have an op-ed on p. A25 of the Oct. 3 New York Times, “Spanish Prisoners: A new call for Catalonia’s independence,”  link here.

The writers argue that the region provides a disproportionate share of Spain’s income compared to what it pays in taxes, especially now.  Furthermore, it argues that small “sovereign” states make sense in Europe since there are other good examples (The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark). 

The term “Spanish Prisoner” now connotes a well-known Internet scam, and it was also the title of a quirky film about corporate espionage in 1998, by David Mamet (with Steve Martin).

I visited Bilbao and San Sebastian myself in April 2001; I stayed a few blocks from the ETA headquarters, but all was quiet.  I went to see the Guggenheim, but the atmosphere of the city is interesting.

A quick look at Wikipedia shows that the Catalan language may be a little closer to French than Spanish, and has dialects itself, and is the official language of the microstate Andorra, and has a significant number of speakers.  At least one major chess opening is named after the language. 

Wikipedia attribution link for map of Catalonia (or Catmorfo).

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