“Voting for president Mas is now the best option for Catalonia”, Dr. Joan Carretero

Source: El Singular Digital
Author: Mireia Giné

Dr. Joan Carretero (Tremp, 1955) is the president of Reagrupament Independentista (RCat), a party that is demanding to vote for Mr. Artur Mas, CiU’s leader and candidate, in the next elections. From Puigcerdà, where he keeps working as a doctor, he recalls that these elections will be exceptional and he thinks best to give support to the current president of Generalitat so as he can call for a self determination referendum. Mr. Carretero also wishes that in four years time he will travel and move around with his Catalan passport and identity card as a EU citizen.

Reagrupament will support Artur Mas in the next elections. Why have you decided so?

Initially we sought a large coalition of all parties that claim for Independence and a state of our own. Not having reached an agreement on this, we didn’t want to act as a conventional party and two years ago we couldn’t sent any RCat’s representative into Parliament. So, we decided to help president Mas to succeed in leading the process as to guarantee a self determination referendum which is in accordance to our own project.

What makes these 25N elections different from the previous ones just two years ago?

Two years ago we went to elections but didn’t succeed. It could happen again now. This would be for us a waste of time. The challenge made by president Mas was never made before by any other president of Generalitat. These elections will have so a unique and exceptional character. It is, therefore, very much important for us to get a massive support for president Mas as to make this challenge come true.

Was this a unanimous agreement? Did it take much internal debate?

The decision was practically taken by all members of our national executive. We had been discussing it on the previous days and we agreed this was the best option to serve our country. We hope also that the largest majority of our associates will agree on it as well. Obviously some will see it with keen eyes while others maybe not so much since we are not a sect. This is a political association with free opinions in it.

Have you already had any feedback from president Artur Mas?

Yes. He has contacted me as to express his thankfulness for our support and to give me his regards.

Will you have an active participation then in the electoral campaign?

Not necessarily. But maybe I will take part in one specific meeting or another where my assistance may be worth or required.

Giving support to Mas means that the coalition with ERC, which was started at the last spanish elections, has come to an end?

Not at all. The coalition with them is at work in several municipalities and at the Parliament in Madrid. So it has to continue and so we hope for the better. But I must insist on these elections having an exceptional character as the president of Generalitat is asking people’s support for a self determination referendum. This a completely new situation in Catalan politics.

You quit Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) and set up Reagrupament. What are your differences now?

We are not a conventional political party whose aim is to grow up and reach government, but an association or movement seeking a free independent Catalonia. Once it would be so, we won’t exist anymore. Being a transversal movement we can have people who have either left or right or centered political tendencies. Very often, instead, ERC takes only position as a leftist party. So the differences are quite important.

Why there is not a large coalition of all independentist parties? Too many personal conflicts between leaders maybe?

There are different backgrounds that make it difficult for us all to agree on strategies and on the way in which we should act or present things… Not having much relationship between us, it is really quite impossible to arrange things overnight and reach an agreement on a coalition just before the elections.

Tell me then. Which law at your hand can guarantee that Catalonia will keep being part both of the European Union and the euro zone once it become independent?

A free Catalonia, being a state in Western Europe, should normally be in the European Union as it is now. The EU legislation does not actually foresee what happens when any given territory of a member state becomes independent. But the truth is that it says nothing either about excluding such territory from the Union. It is clear to me that we all will have to negotiate when the time comes.

Should Catalan be the only official language in this future State?

It’s too early for such a debate. What I want is a free Catalonia whose citizens have the right to decide. It is just too obvious that Catalonia’s own language is Catalan but let’s not forget that many citizens here use mainly the Spanish language. The new state must set up a legal frame as to guarantee full respect for all citizens’ rights. Nevertheless Catalan will continue to be this country’s own language of course.

Attacks against secession coming from Spain are mainly using fear. Do they lack reasoning or are they just causing the wanted effect?

Actually, they have never used much reasoning. They prefer the menacing and punishing methods, especially against our president. On our side, independence seekers have always used a variety of reasoning. And people now don’t have fear anymore.

What do you think of Spanish minister Wert saying that “our goal is to turn all Catalan children into proper Spanish citizens”?

These are fascist-like asserts. Nobody has the right to impose national assignments. People’s national identities are what they are. That was also the goal of Franco’s dictatorship and they failed in doing so. Spanish fascists had already tried to destroy and eradicate Catalan language. In the very least, coming from a minister of education, those certainly were very inappropriate words. But now people do clearly know what they are really after.

Do you see yourself with a Catalan passport in a few years time?

Being European citizens we won’t need it that much as our Catalan identity card will do it. I think the whole process must be done in a very serious and patient way. I don’t expect, though, that it will take more than four years for me to have any official document as to certify that I am a Catalan citizen of the European Union.

(Translation: JJTN)