A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Catalonia needs strong leadership

Catalonia’s decades-long fight for independance from Spain suddenly escalated on October 1 when Madrid violently attempted to shut down an independence referendum. Now, Madrid is threatening to declare emergency power over the Catalan local government.

Catalan officials say that the referendum showed over 90% support for independence. Cataland have been fighting for independence as early as the 9th century.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has completely ignored Catalan President Mariano Rajoy’s calls for peaceful dialogue following the referendum vote. Two activists calling for Catalan independence have been jailed without bail. Tensions are continuing to grow.

Madrid’s actions have done nothing but escalate the situation. During the referendum, Spanish officers, dressed in riot gear, shot rubber bullets into crowds of voters. More than 750 people were injured.

Rajoy’s behavior is comparable to that of a petulant child: screaming when he doesn’t get his way, then refusing to listen to anyone who won’t give him what he wants.

It’s time for Rajoy to step up and be the leader that Spain needs. He needs to be flexible enough to compromise and find the best solution for Madrid and Catalonia alike.