“We become associated to CDC to join efforts and work together in order to reach our common goal: an independent Catalonia”

19.11.2013

Interview with Joan Carretero, President, Reagrupament Independentista.

Author: Núria Rosell

Source: L’Antena del Catdem

800px-Estany_de_puigcerdà

Joan Carretero i Grau (Tremp, 1955) is a former Catalonia Government Minister and a former Major of Puigcerdà where he still lives and works as a medicine doctor.

We interview him by the lake, a vital spot in the capital of Cerdanya, while he greets by their names citizens walking around. After serving ERC for several years he founded Reagrupament, a political movement aimed only to Catalonia’s independence. Some weeks ago he announced  Reagrupament’s association with CDC to join efforts with president Mas.

A year ago, just before last Catalan elections, you said that “Artur Mas was the only man able to lead the country towards independence”. Then, some time ago, you made the announcement that Reagrupament was considering to become associated to CDC. Last Sunday the agreement was formally taken.  What are the reasons to do so?

A year ago we assumed that president Mas was clearly taking a new positioning. After the huge demonstration on 11th September he understood the claim made by a large majority of Catalan citizens and decided consequently to lead it. We said then, and I do still think so, president  Mas  was the only man able to  assume the leadership of this new political process. So we, Reagrupament, wanted to be by his side as to lend him a helping hand and we will use all our possible influence as to ensure this process will be ended successfully. At the meeting we had last Sunday in Vic we decided to become associated to CDC just to joint efforts and work together to reach independence for Catalonia. The association then is based on our common goal.

6a ASSEMBLEA RCat13 029 (640x425)Is it not rather complicated to be associated to CDC while you still have municipal agreements with some other parties such as ERC in Barcelona?

Municipalities are different realities. In the city of Girona we joined CUP while in Olot we share the government with CiU.  Each municipality has its own political dynamics. That’s why the association agreement does not include municipalities and preserves the local dynamics of the town councils. Municipalities were left aside so we can keep presenting our own candidates either standing alone or joined to candidates from any other suitable groups, depending on each town or municipality. We  have not become a federation with CDC nor we have become integrated into them. Simply we made an association with them based only on national independence. Were we a federation or coalition this would make it difficult for us to subscribe or maintain alliances with other groups at the local level.  It is, therefore, an association to work together at a national level for a single aim only which is independence.

The debate on sovereignty is on the media every day. Do you think the social debate has been put aside?  Too much talking about independence, what about people’s problems?

Social demands and national demands in Catalonia cannot be separated. As long as Catalonia remains being like a Spanish colony and keeps losing thousands of millions of euro every year thanks to fiscal spoliation, any talks here about social issues and policies just sound like a violin’s music. Those who say we should stop our national debate to talk only about social issues are just trying to mislead people. As long as we keep being exploited by the Spanish central government we will have plenty of difficulties to implement social policies as they require enough money, not just nice words; so, if they take our money away what social policies can be done?  First, we have to face up and solve the problem we have as a nation. Too many people tried to do otherwise, just remember the second “tripartit” (leftist coalition government) had that motto “Social Patriotism”, they tried to avoid all national debates and it all was a disastrous failure.  Catalonia must solve this problem, we are given by the Spain an unfair treatment of a colony and that makes awfully difficult to be implementing real social policies. Since it goes to Madrid, there is not enough money left.

reagrupament_i_cdc_s_associen_per_assolir_l_estat_independent_portada_granWhat ought to be then the first priority in an independent Catalonia?

Well, we should check out, first of all, how our economy would be working. If we were to reach independence in the short run and still find ourselves amid the crisis we will have to find ways to get this country enough money to start up some social policies that we could not have afforded  for so long because of the fiscal drainage.  Therefore, our government should optimize first all the available resources to improve some vital infrastructures, to implement some urgent social policies and to help improving the quality of national services and private companies, etc. Also we should start solving the territorial challenge of having an absolutely unbalanced country with such an enormous urban area in Barcelona and its surrounding region, so crowded with people and industries, and almost empty spaces in the rest of the land, such as the area close to the Pyrenees, where few people can be found.  So, there are plenty of things to do.  But let’s concentrate, first, on a competitive economy as to guarantee all due opportunities to all citizens.

 As a doctor, what kind of healthcare should an independent Catalonia have?

Our Catalan healthcare, prior to the cuts, had reached a remarkable level of excellence, similar to the best ones in Europe and everywhere else. We should, therefore, get it back.   Being it a system based on proximity, equity and excellence, what must be done after overcoming the present difficulties is to reinforce it and get it back to the previous standards. We do have a balanced system, with a well provided public service and also a concerted service, which allows most territorial areas to have a healthcare that otherwise they couldn’t have. We have a very good system of professional training and an excellent rate of professional commitment. It is, I think, one of the very best medical services in the world. Our healthcare, though, would be at serious risk if more cuts were to be taken.

If Catalonia becomes independent, what will Reagrupament’s future be?

From the very first day, at our foundational moment, we declared that our only aim was, and still is, to reach independence for our country as soon as possible; once Catalonia has become an independent nation our task will be all over.

6a ASSEMBLEA RCat13 097 (640x425)Do you see yourself as candidate in the next elections?

This association with CDC is truly on a “gratia et amore” basis, but we have already seen that our support to president Mas is not well understood by certain people. There is always a mean someone searching what rewards would come out in return for this support. That’s not like us. We are not asking nor looking for any rewards. But we have some excellent and well prepared individuals and will put them at CDC’s disposal, when the next elections come, if they are needed and fit among the possible candidates. Right now I do not see myself as one, though. I have already been the Mayor in Puigcerdà for eight years, holding an absolute majority. There is no greater recognition than this, given by the people living in your own town who really know you.  Also I was Chancellor in the Generalitat’s government for two more years. So I need no more of this. I am not saying, though, that I shall not be candidate, who knows. This is not a relevant issue to me.  My real concern and will is to have an independent country.

(Translation: JTN)

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