NYT: Catalonia Presses Spain on Autonomy Even as Financial Crisis Simmers

Xavier Carbonell, the chief executive of Palex, a medical device supplier, might not seem to be a businessman willing to risk a political confrontation between his home region, Catalonia, and the central government in Madrid.

After all, Palex, based in Barcelona, receives about 90 percent of its $150 million of annual revenue from customers in the rest of Spain.

Yet on Tuesday Mr. Carbonell joined hundreds of thousands of fellow Catalans in central Barcelona demanding Catalonia’s independence from the rest of Spain — even though that demand could make Catalonia vulnerable to retaliatory measures, possibly even a Madrid-led popular boycott of Catalan goods. But Mr. Carbonell said such “short-term risks” were secondary to more fundamental economic and political principles.

“A people has the right to manage itself, its resources and its money,” he said.

Even if the concept of Catalan independence remains ill defined, Josep Ramoneda, a Catalan philosopher and writer, suggested that it was in fact “[independence is] the only real political project in Spain at this moment.”

Read more @ New York Times