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Interview with Súmate, Independentistas en Castellano and Un País Normal

Do we want a normal country or do we want a better country? And if in order to become a better country we want to become a normal country first? People’s notion of “normality” may not be the same, and we want to know the differences. This interview with Súmate, Independentistas en Castellano and Un País Normal shows, from three different points of view ‒but with many common features‒ that everybody should take part in this current scenario. Only with everybody’s opinion we will be able to build a normal country, a better country. And giving it a try is necessary and motivating.

What does ‘normal country’ mean for you?
Independentistas en Castellano: A country with its own culture; with rigorous, independent and respected legislative, executive and judicial powers; with social stability and progress; with individual and collective freedom; with the ability to integrate newcomers; with self-financing capacity; and with the ability to have a good relationship with the rest of the countries in the world.
Súmate: A normal country is a country where the majority of its inhabitants recognize themselves as part of a common project.
Un país normal: A normal country is a country that is able to decide how to manage its resources, its education, its health system, its infrastructures… a country in which people’s vote is the one that counts the most. A normal country has its own state, not a state against it.

Is a ‘normal country’ the precursor of a better country?
IC: A normal country is the necessary –although not sufficient– starting point for a better country. It will all depend on us. This is our great opportunity.
S: Not only of a better country. Normality is, almost always, the precursor of a progressive improvement.
UPN: Yes, it is, because in order for us to become a better country, we must be a normal country first. This is our current goal, and when we reach it, when we become a country able to make its own decisions, like any other normal country, we will start being a better country.

Is voting which future we want the best option given the current situation?
IC: The best option given the current situation is to walk decidedly towards the destination that the majority of the Catalans choose. Voting, obviously. But only voting is not enough.
S: In a normal country, to be able to vote is never a debatable option, but a normal exercise in the face of any relevant alternative. The denial of that right is the best proof that we are not in a normal country.
UPN: Yes, it is. We have tried to establish dialogue with the Spanish government for centuries, but that dialogue has never been fruitful. The Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia is a good example of the constant refusal of the Spanish government. Therefore, it should be possible to change the current situation if the majority of Catalans want so. But in order to know if we are a majority or we are not, first we need to be able to vote.

Is feeling both Catalan and Spanish incompatible with the will to vote which model of country we want?
IC: No, it is not. It’s like a Tarragona-born person that has lived in Barcelona for many years but still feels he or she belongs to Tarragona. People’s roots are often an important part of their personality.
S: Feeling Spanish in Catalonia is something absolutely respectable, but it is usually a transient feeling often resolved by our descendants. If we all want the best for our children, it’s very clear that the interests converge on the model of country.
UPN: No, it is not! Many Catalans come from different places of the Iberian Peninsula and still want a normal country. If we finally become a country, Catalan, Spanish and many other languages would be able to live together peacefully.

Which countries have recently voted which future they want for their countries?
IC: Kosovo, Croatia, Quebec, Puerto Rico, Crimea…
S: If there were an examination of merits to become a state, Catalonia would get the highest mark, although every country has its own characteristics. It can be said that in economic terms the countries that have become independent over the last years –with which we could compare ourselves– have made a qualitative leap in terms of wellbeing.
UPN: More than a hundred new countries have been created in the world in less than a century, and none of them is willing to return to its previous state. Therefore, all these examples encourage us to vote next 9th November.

If we don’t vote, do we have any other alternative to define the country we want?
IC: To vote in elections. Or to block Catalonia and Spain until people are able to vote.
S: There is no doubt. Sooner or later we will vote our future, and it will probably be in a referendum. After a plebiscite and the subsequent unilateral declaration of independence, Europe will impose a referendum on the ratification of the independence of Catalonia.
UPN: Major decisions relating to a country should be always made through ballot boxes. It is very important to allow everybody to give his or her opinion. Therefore, voting on the 9th of November is essential. Otherwise, we will be forced to find an alternative –but still democratic– path.

Does this process belong just to a part of the people living in Catalonia?
IC: This process brings together almost all the processes active in Catalonia related to social, financial, cultural and political issues.
S: This process will only be possible if it concerns to a qualified majority of citizens of Catalonia.
UPN: In no way. This process affects all the citizens of Catalonia, because a normal country is and must be a country in which everyone’s opinion is taken into consideration.

The Spanish government says that the referendum is illegal. Is that true?
IC: I don’t know about laws, but according to some who do, the referendum can be legal if there’s political will.
S: An issue that is a responsibility of the government and that can be delegated can’t be illegal. It’s a matter of political will.
UPN: No, it is not illegal. Moreover, we have to bear in mind that all the surveys show that more than 80% of the Catalans want to hold a referendum. Given this popular will, Catalans should be able to vote on the 9th of November.

What is the risk of this process? Can it end badly?
IC: There is a probability of 50% that it ends badly for my interests, but the probability that it ends badly in terms of violence, bad manners and loss of legitimacy is only of 20%. The Catalan people are and must be very reasonable.
S: It is something that depends entirely on us.
UPN: Our will to exercise democracy can not end badly because ballot boxes are always a good tool. They grand equity and everyone can express his or her opinion freely. Therefore, the fact that the process has a good or a better ending will depend solely on us and on our ability remain keen and determined.

What is the role of Europe in this process?
IC: By now it seems that Europe wants to maintain the statu quo, observing at the same time just in case it has to intervene. I feel that if Catalans decide by majority, legitimately and peacefully that we want to be independent, Europe is going to act as a referee. However, we might have to put EU interests (financial stabilities, democratic values…) at risk and look for an ally outside the European Union.
S: Europe will play all the possible roles right from the moment when the Catalans express our sovereign will.
UPN: If we take the necessary steps and try to come to an agreement with the Spanish government in order to be able to hold an agreed referendum, all European Union countries and many others will respect the result of that referendum. Likewise, if that agreed referendum is not possible but we explore other paths, the European countries and many other countries in the world will understand and respect the result.