25 de juny 2007

Catalonia + plunder = Spain

These are the conclusions of the article titled "Macroeconomic effects of Catalan fiscal deficit with the Spanish state (2002–2010)" published in Applied Economics (number 37, 2005):
  • According to Eurostat Regional data, the Catalan economy has been blocked in recent years while Madrid, Navarra and the Basque Country have converged vigorously with the EU Regional GDP per capita average (in 2000 these three Spanish Autonomous Communities clearly surpassed Catalonia). It is suggested that the main reason for this stagnancy is the Catalan fiscal deficit with the Spanish state, estimated in recent years to be between 7% and 9% of Catalan GDP. Fiscal deficit does not exist in Navarra and the Basque Country (because of their particular financial system called concierto económico, that is equivalent and independent, self-sufficient administration) and it is significantly lower in Madrid, clearly the most dynamic Spanish region in recent years (only 1–2% of Madrid yearly GDP). Because of this continual extraction of Catalan resources and wealth, Catalonia is losing economic growth opportunities in the EU context, and according to the estimates derived in this study this stagnancy will continue in future years if the Catalan fiscal deficit with the Spanish state is not reversed. Catalonia will converge with the most dynamic EU regions only if there is a significant reduction of the Catalan fiscal deficit.

Catalonia pays taxes as a European country but receives public expenditure as a South American country. This is what Mr. Ramon Tremosa (a well-known Catalan economist) says in that article. Other economists have denounced the unfair economic situation of Catalonia (for example Mr. Xavier Sala i Martín)

But this alarming article is old-fashioned already. Recent non-official studies about the fiscal deficit of Catalonia with Spain say that things are worse. According to the Observatori del Finançament de Catalunya in 2005 the Catalan deficit was €19,176,000,000. That is a 10.5% of Catalan GDP. And what does this percentage mean? Simply twice and a half the maximun fiscal deficit legally stablished in Germany and its länder. So if Spain were Germany the economical relationship between Spain and Catalonia would be illegal. But of course this is not Germany (sometimes I wonder if this is Europe) and everything is possible here (against Catalans, of course). Democracy is transparency, they say in all the democracies of the world. But its Spanish translation is: democracy is piracy. Who said transparency? Oh yes, transparency is what Spanish avoid when Catalans are around (we are not normal, remember?). Not in vain, the information about interterritorial fiscal scales is the most hidden secret in Spain since 1996, breaking year after year a Spanish parliament mandate. The reason? Spanish Government says that there are many ways and methods for calculating them and that there is no consensus (do Spaniards know that fiscals scales are published every year in all European countries according to monetary flows? I insist, is Spain in Europe?). "We will go on trying it" said President Zapatero last May. Trying it? Do you mean that you need 11 years to know how to calculate the interterritorial fiscal balances? What kind of economists are there in Spain? What it seems is that fiscal scales are not so interesting (I mean that Spaniards are not interested in showing where our money is invested, so shaming it is).

Just some significant indicators to sum to Catalan fiscal deficit (and due to it):

  • The 72 % of the payment highways of Spain are in Catalonia
  • Catalonia is the European country with more payment highways per km2
  • Catalonia has just the 4.13 % of the free highways in Spain
  • Catalonia has the 26 % of the car accidents of Spain
  • The 36 % of the Catalan road network has a high or very high risk of accident rate due to the low Spanish public expenditure
  • Catalonia is the 19 % of the total GDP of Spain but the total Spanish public expenditure in Catalonia is just the 14 %
  • The fiscal deficit of Catalonia in 2005 is four times the total cost of Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games
  • Catalans have a fiscal deficit of € 2,704 per capita yearly
  • Catalans recieve € 415 per capita in concept of total inverstment while the Spanish average is € 477
  • With that fiscal deficit the whole Catalan public health system deficit could be payed
  • Since 1991 the public expenditure in the Autonomous Comunity of Madrid is twice the public expenditure in Catalonia
  • The investment of the Catalan railroad network has been manifestly insufficient for the last 20 years
  • The failures, delays and accidents in the Catalan railroad network are common every day affecting hundreds of thousands Catalans

This situation is called "solidarity" in Spain. If you do not speak Spanish "solidarity" means "Catalans pay and shut up" in the democrat Spain. When Catalans denounce this situation we are called thieves, rude primitive nationalists, anti-Spanish xenophobes, and they say we lie and the reality is that we have no solidarity with the poorest Spanish regions while we have uncountables benefits from Spain (which are these benefits? Ultra-Spanish nationalists give no economic datum. We are Catalans, and that is enough. We are the origin of all evil. Do they need more datum? We deserve our situation. If we were good Spanish people they wouldn't have to plunder us). Any Catalan attempt to force the Spanish Government to publish the interterritorial fiscal sclaes is called blackmail for some Spanish media (as an example: the ultra-catholic-Spanish radio star Federico Jiménez Losantos said in prime time "The Government only talks to terrorists, homosexuals and Catalans. When is it going to talk to normal people?" -La Mañana de la COPE -June, 13 2005)

This table represents the last information we have about the financial scales per Autonomous Comunities in Spain (period 1991 - 1996). As you can see Catalonia was the second Spanish Autonomous Comunity with a higher fiscal deficit. It has yearly grown since then and Spain gives no official information about it.

Just some comparisions:

  • Extremadura was the most favoured Autonomous Comunity then (and so it is nowadays)
  • Nowadays, Extremadura has new free highways which are half empty (the population density there is 25 inhabitants per km2 while in Catalonia is 220 inhabitants per km2)
  • In 2004 there were 1,200,000 poor people in Catalonia
  • In 2006 Extremadura had a population of 1,086,373 inhabitants
  • Even though all the investment Extremadura receives, it is not decreasing but increasing while the fiscal pressure of Catalonia is growing every year (but of course, we have no right to claim, we are Catalans, never forget that)

This is what we call Modern democratic colonization (maybe too similar to the traditional colonization). Catalonia is not Spain but a Spanish colony. Facts are facts, and "legal" plunder is "legal" plunder. Spanish democracy = piracy.

21 de juny 2007

Frankfurt Book Fair

Here is the letter written by Mr. Wolf Daerr, the German consul in Barcelona, and published in the Barcelonian newspaper La Vanguardia. The main theme is the presence of Catalan culture as Guest of Honour in the Frankfurt Book Fair 2007 which will take place next October. The letter was in Spanish (from now on, when I say Spanish I mean Castilian, not Catalan, Galizian nor Basque) and I translated it into English.

  • La Vanguardia, newspaper that I highly appreciate, has published several articles about the Fankfurt Book Fair 2007. The one dated June 13, 2007 titled "The authors in Castilian called by Bargalló reject their invitation to go to Frankfurt" contains a severe error that can make the reader think that "Catalunya" has been called as Guest of Honour to the Frankfurt Book Fair. If it had been written that the Guest of Honour is "Catalan culture" it would have been correct. For this reason authors from Andorra and the Balearic Islands, who are part of the Catalan cultural area among others, have been invited also. This small difference seems very important to me.

Even though La Vanguardia is a newspaper edited in Barcelona, it is known for being close to the Spanish economical and political power, for its marked regionalism (opposed to the exercise of full Catalan sovereignty) and for its monarchic friendliness. Lately, this newspaper (written completely in Spanish) has been worried about the fact that there are no Spanish-writing authors in the final list of representatives of the Catalan culture in the Frankfurt Book Fair. According to that, and according to the most of the Spaniards, Spanish language is a natural way to express the Catalan culture. Therefore they consider that Spanish-writing authors must be included in that list also. In my opinion the final purpose of this debate is questioning the legitimacy of Catalan-writing authors to represent Catalan culture itself (it seems that we, Catalans, are not good enough to represent ourselves without the strict Spanish surveillance).

Defenders of the Spanish culture say that “real” Catalan culture is everything made in Catalonia regardless of whether it is in Catalan or Spanish. Obviously, if they were right Catalan language and culture would be melted under the grandeur of Spanish language and culture with the connivance of the State. Actually, it means the slow decay of the Catalan tongue, its reduction to an exotic oddity, and its progressive substitution by the Spanish tongue. In my opinion what Spanish arguments hide is another step forward to that inconfesable intention of substitution.

But their theory about the Catalan presence in the Frankfurt Book Fair has several problems and contradictions. The first one is that, if we agree with the Spanish point of view, a Spanish-writing author that works in Catalonia must be automatically considered a member of the Catalan culture as well as member of the Spanish culture. But when you ask them whether a Catalan-writing author that works in Madrid should be considered a member of the Spanish culture or not the vehement answer is “certainly not” (and you have to watch Spanish television to realize that they are right: no Catalan, nor Basque nor Galician on the air).

Spanish culture was invited as a Guest of Honour in the Frankfurt Book Fair some years ago and no Catalan-writing authors were included. I remember no complains nor claims (neither did La Vanguardia) defending the Catalan rights then. Where were those that lose sleep defending the Spanish-writing authors today? (Isn't that called hypocrisy?).

The second one is that in Catalonia coexist many people with different languages: English, French, Italian, German, Russian, Arabic, Chinese… Can a Japanese-writing author that lives in Barcelona be considered a representative of the Catalan culture? Is a Catalan-writing author that lives in Rome part of the Italian culture? Is a Spanish-writing author in Berlin part of the German culture? Is a German-writing author in Madrid part of the Spanish culture? Strictly according to the Spanish logic the answers would say yes. In that case, Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell or Harry Fisher are members of the Spanish culture from now on (my condolences to all the Anglo-Saxon world). But in fact, we find that the only affirmative answer is when we ask whether Spanish-writing authors in Catalonia are Catalan culture or not. So Catalan culture is the only exception. The logic that works when we talk about French, Italian, Russian, Vietnamese and Spanish cultures is not useful when we talk about Catalan culture. As if by magic, we become an exception. We are not normal. Catalans are not normal. And if Catalans are not like others it is not necessary to judge them by the same laws and, of course, they can not claim for the same rights. So Catalans are less than the rest of the world (God save the Spanish democracy!). And I ask, is this a cultural matter or a political matter? If it is just politics they should tell us and stop confusing the world. Be courageous, Spaniards, and say that Spain thinks Catalans can not have our own culture without the interference of your Spanish culture (which is best, superior, universal, and the one used by the real Spanish patriots).

The origin of all this mess is that there are two official languages in Catalonia: Catalan and Spanish. Catalan is the native language of Catalonia and Spanish was introduced by force when we lost our independence in 1714 (of course it is strongly denied in Spain and some even say and “prove” that Spanish was common in Catalonia in the Middle Ages and that Catalan language was an invention of those evil Catalans that want to destroy the sacred unity of Spain, crazy huh? But some think it for real). Since then, Catalan culture and language have been repressed and forbidden, while Spanish became the tongue of the conquerors. With the Spanish democracy, Catalan was officially restored again sharing rights with Spanish (but only theoretically -I will talk about that in next articles). And because Spanish is an official language in Catalonia Spaniards think they have the right of being part of the Catalan culture. But where does this right come from? There is no law about that. Even the “sacred” Spanish Constitution (always restrictive with Catalans) says nothing about that. I think the problem is a lack of Spanish self-confidence, the weakness of a superiority complex that needs to be proved day after day. The proud elephant scared by a simple mouse trapped in a cage.

Am I exagerating? Well, you just have to listen to some Spanish media and political speeches about the Frankfurt Book Fair. Criminal anti-Spanish Catalans are offending Spain. For example, Cristina López Schilchting, a journalist from Cadena COPE (an importat ultra-Spanish radio station property of the Spanish Episcopal Conference), has said that the presence of the Catalan culture in Frankfurt without any Spanish-writing author in the final list is a proof of an “ideological totalitarism which is close to those who burn books”. Ok then. So it is normal when Spanish culture is the Guest of Honour and no Catalan-writing authors are invited, but in the opposite situation Catalans are nothing but nazis. Fair play? What's that? And no, she has not finished. According to López Schilchting this is a direct attack to Spain itself and an “economic, intellectual and political offense” made by dangerous “provincial country bumpkins”. Another example. The ultra-Spanish nationalist, Antonio Pérez Henares, in his article called "Linguistic racism" says that the Catalan political parties "allowed themselves to be swept away by an ideology where contempt and hate against "the others", against what is common, against all what is Spanish, is the basis of identity even if that means to be ashamed of your own father and mother". Wow. Do you mean that the Spanish identity is my father and my mother? At the same time? How can it be? Is Spain hermaphrodite? Is it nice to call hermaphrodite to your own country? But if you are right, who are the man and the woman that share my surnames? According to you they can not be my parents because I am not ashamed of them, I am very proud of them. I am really confused. So my father is not my father and my mother is not my mother, and I am ashamed of my real father and mother, that is the Spanish identity. I am lost Mr. Pérez. This is crazy. But I think I do understand what you mean. What for other nations is the normal behaviour it becomes contempt and hate in Catalans. We do not deserve the air we breathe, right Mr. Pérez? We must be awful.

But he is not fully satisfied. To him Catalan writers "are mediocres, unknown, (...) and show a pitiful, impoverished, and mean image of excluding nationalism, linguistic racism and cultural xenophobia". Of course Mr. Pérez believes that Spanish writers are "the only real writers". Well, it seems that Catalan writers are not real. Maybe a nightmare, right Mr. Pérez? Our existence, our identity is a nightmare for you, of course. And no, Mr. Pérez, we are "the others", not you. We are the exception thanks to people like you. Excluding nationalism? Are you talking about your idea of a complete Castilianized Spain with no other languages, cultures and minds but Spanish? Our resistance to that is excluding nationalism? And aren't your insults an example of deep hate? Or are they just an example of nice including nationalism? Maybe devouring nationalism would fit better.

Congratulations, Mr. Pérez. A nice lesson of what is good nationalism (yours) and bad nationalism (the rest -who said excluding?). But Mr. Pérez, what about those Spanish people that live in Catalonia and feel Catalan indepencence supporters? Their origins are Spanish but their hearts are Catalan without any moral contradiction. Are they nazis too? Are they nasty monsters like those evil non-Spanish nationalists? As Catalans, can they start eating raw Spanish babies for breakfast as we use to do in Catalonia?

To summarize, what these Spanish patriots are really saying is “Spaniards can be Catalans in Spanish but Catalans can not be Spanish in Catalan, and moreover Catalans are nazis, mediocres, offensive, country bumpkins, dangerous, pitiful, racists, anti-Spanish, and only live to hate Spain and burn books” (a good sign of the “exemplary coexistence of the whole Spanish peoples thanks to the tolerant and open minded Spanish democracy”). Catalans are the origin of evil. Is there any better argument for Catalan secessionists to claim freedom for Catalonia? Aren't that list of insults enough? Of course not all Spanish people think like that (thanks to Heaven) but those kind of opinions are growing every day.

And the matter is so ridiculous that even Jürgen Boos (Director of the Frankfurt Book Fair) said that “the writers we want here are the less known ones, those that write in Catalan”. Well, I warn you Mr. Boos that Mr. Pérez may think that you are mediocre, unknown, and an anti-Spanish racist (maybe he may think that you eat raw children too). I am sorry Mr. Boos. What Spain really wants is not exactly the same as you. Spain wants you and the entire world to be unaware of the existence of the Catalan-writing authors, the existence of the Catalan culture and even the existence of the whole Catalan people. Mr. Boos, Spain wants you blind in everything related to Catalans. Spain wants to go on minimizing us inside while we are silenced and denied outside. In their minds the best representation of the Catalan culture is the one made in Spanish, much more universal (according to that point of view, I suggest that English culture represents the Spanish culture from now on. We all know that English is much more universal than Spanish and the main language of communication in the world. Spanish people will be delighted to apply their own logic. I am sure). Any resistance is made by annoying country bumpkins (Catalans of course) whose minor culture deserves the darkest corner in a museum of oddities (being generous). Is this evangelization? Is this Castilianization? No. Nowadays it is called “constitutional democracy”.

By the way, there are 130 authors and writers in the final list (including some “dangerous traitors to Spain” as Matthew Tree, Monica Zgustova or Simona Škrabec), none of them Spanish-writing authors. But what about them? Spanish-writing authors as Eduardo Mendoza, Javier Cercas, Juan Marsé and Juan Goytisolo, among others, have expressed their refusal to represent the Catalan culture because they understand that only Catalan-writing authors can do that. This honourable attitude has ridiculed those noisy patriots and defenders of the Spanish essences (who say that they have been forced by the fascists Catalans to refuse -Isn't there an end to this Spanish hating madness and lies?). Of course, the Spanish-writing authors will be in Frankfurt as Spanish culture with their own publishers. But this year the Guest of Honour in the Frankfurt Book Fair is the Catalan culture whether some Spanish "democrats" like it or not.

20 de juny 2007

SOS Catalonia Calling starts here

How to begin? Things in the “democratic Spain" are not easy at all for the stateless nations that still exist in spite of the Spanish steel curtain that intends to conceal them from the eyes of the world. We, Basques, Catalans and Galicians, survive inside this nationally Castilian Spain, with its Castilian language, its Castilian culture and its Castilian laws. It would not be a problem if it was only this. It would not be a problem if Spain were just Castiliancentred. But we face an actively castilianicizing Spain.

At all levels, Castilian expansionism achieved unsuspected limits in the abuse, imposition, extermination and substitution of other nations and ethnic groups. Historically, it has been this way outside the Iberian Peninsula (it is not necessary to remember the devastating castilianization, then called evangelization, of South and Central America) as well as inside (where the extermination of what smells like Catalan has been a constant for 300 years). We might say that the times of Franco's dictatorship and its cruelty have already passed. We might say that the cruel cultural genocide of the Catalans at the first third of the 18th century is very remote. We might say that nowadays democracy guarantees us the Catalans the rights that the Castilians took from us by the force of the arms, those rights that where buried under the boot of the oppression (yes, we learn Catalan at schools again and our language is as official in Catalonia as Castilian, but this is just appearance). But we would be far from reality if we thought that. Although it is true that we have a degree of autonomy, it is not less true that this "autonomy" is narrowly watched and caged by the Spanish “democratic” legal machinery that restricts any minimum advance in Catalan sovereignty or any effort to strengthen our identity as a people.

I ask you a question. How many of the citizens of the world know the existence of the Catalan nation? How many know its contradictions, history, habits, culture, suffering and survival? If the Spanish democracy guaranteed our identity and rights we, the Catalans, would have own voice in the world. But that does not happen. Why?. The only voice from Spain to the world is the Castilian one. Before the eyes of the world we, the Catalans, are invisible under the huge and dark umbrella of Spain (a word that hides the authentic name of this country: Castile). It is simple. The name of Spain hides and justifies the castilianization of the "imperio", which ultimate possessions are not outside but inside: Catalonia, Euskadi and Galiza. Without them, Spain would be reduced to its origins, that is Castile. If that were going to happen castilianization would not have a reason because all Iberian nations would have the same degree of sovereignity and independence. Castilianization would mean conquest to the world, and that is not very polite, huh?. The term “Spain” is the guarantee that Castile rules. It is very clear. If we all, Castilians, Galicians, Basques and Catalans, are Spaniards, we are all "joined" by the magical word of Spain where there is no place for other nations. However, as I have said before, the Spanish nation speaks Castilian, lives a Castilian life, legislates with Castilian laws and exports, of course, the Castilian voice. In fact the Spain of “all” becomes the Spain of the majority, which is not the same. And to have its own identity, just to survive, this artificial Spain of the majority needs to deny a contrary, a kind of enemy to gather all good Spaniards in the self-defence of Spain (yes, even in democracy). And they deny with disdain the existence of the thousand-year-old Catalan nation. Is it a crime to destroy what does not exist?. All those that do not speak Castilian, neither live in Castilian, nor think like Castilian are simply legally silenced and reduced to the corners of the cage called Spain. The world will never see us, nor hear us, nor understand what we are. The world will never see us disappear under the Spanish pressure. The castilianization will be much easier if the world is blind.

Luckily the castilianization is not imposed by the force of the arms nowadays. But if the manners have changed the will of it is as insistent as it once was. We live in a cold war where democracy means the rights of some over the rights of others. Laws, mass media, the large enterprises, the economic power, the Supreme Court of the State... all Castiliancentred or Castilinized. In a “democratic” way, of course. But be careful. The castilianization that the fascism embraced during the Civil War appears with force again. Some Spanish media and political parties are leading a shameless neocastilinization revival, where all those that are not ethnically, culturally, and mentally Castilian are dangerous, despicable and dispensable. In an intense and constant process of dehumanization, which grows every day, we, the not castilianized Catalans, are described as a cancer to be removed by the ferocius representatives of the Spanish essences. The excuse? We, the Catalans, put the stability of Spain in danger permanently. We break Spain, we are anti-Spanish and those good Spanish patriots must do something against those that are close to terrorists if not completely anti-Spaniards terrorists (that is how some of them call us). It is the preventive war. This is the growing background of Spain. They attack us because they think one day we will "attack" them claiming our independece. This is what "democrat" Spain hides. The fiscal plunder of Catalonia is still concealed by the Spanish institutions. The conscious infrastructural deficit of Catalonia is suffocating. Our language is rejected in the rest of the State, our sportsmen are forced by law to compete in the Spanish selections (those who refuse are seriously sanctioned), the Catalans are badly seen in Spain... among other things. But in spite of this, in spite of not being strong, not even having big media, nor own laws, neither favorable courts, nor our own money to invest in Catalonia, the Catalans are insulted every day by many Spanish factions and media groups. We are the target of the Castilian-Spanish cavemen, the one that misses the times and rules of the pro-Franco nation.

Of course not all Spaniards are so fierce but the message against Catalans is even penetrating in those moderate and traditionally open-minded Spaniards. We have no allies. The democracy is a mirage. Our autonomy is just a cage from which we can not scape. I know that the Spanish propaganda will deny all my words, even will insult me, reduce me to a worm. They will ridicule me as if I were a human-shaped ape. They will dehumanize me (they will call me terrorist, fool, stupid, ignorant, nazi) and if I am not a man, my words are the words of an animal. And animals do not speak and must be ignored at least.

I invite you to leave behind all the things you know about Spain. We are not all “toreros” and “funny unconcerned people”. In Spain there are things you do not know. Things that Spanish will never tell you. Even the reporters of your own countries will never write about us (they all live in Madrid and read Spanish newspapers to be informed so they just have one interested point of view). I want to show you the life of those citizens of Spain that do not feel Spanish and want their nation free (isn't the independence a democratic value? Why is it illegal in Spain? Must we be Spanish by force to the end of times? Why do we have that human right denied?). And I want to show you which are the efforts and pressure of Spain to keep us quiet and motionless, and the things we have to hear every day on TV, radios and newspapers. The real Spain is not what you know. But I warn you, I am just one. They have the power to intoxicate minds and hide what does exist. So they will lie and distort the facts, news, and history. I do not want you to believe in me blindly. I just want you to get informed and reach for what is real. Do not believe anything at first. Contrast your information, and try to see all points of view. You will get reality for sure and Spain will not be the same to you any more.

Forgive my English. Sure I make lots of mistakes. I try to do my best.

You are all welcome.