Deutsche Welle – Catalonia prepares steps towards independence

In the middle of the crisis, the Spanish government is worried by early elections in one of Spain’s richest regions, Catalonia. Many see the poll as a referendum on independence.

With their own language and distinct culture, Catalans have long campaigned for autonomy from Spain. These days José Maria Borras and his lifelong friend Antonio Canosa, retirees in their mid-60s, sip coffee in the Barcelona square where they went to grade school under the military dictatorship of Francisco Franco. But there’s one main difference, Borras explains: back then, their language was banned: “It’s been a long struggle for freedom. Back in those years, if you were in this very schoolyard speaking Catalan, you’d be punished!”

Franco’s troops occupied Barcelona in 1939
Now these two friends chatter away in their native tongue, in a square adorned with Catalan flags. Canosa chimes in. “Man, the Franco years were bad for us! Then finally democracy arrived, and we had some good years. But now the economy has brought back another form of tyranny – with budget cuts from Madrid.”

Continue @ Deutsche Welle