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Catalan leader encourages new Spanish king to mediate push for independence

June 20th, 2014
07:56 AM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

From Scotland to South Sudan, Crimea to Donetsk, independence referendums (legal or not) are in vogue.

And for Artur Mas, president of the Spanish region of Catalonia, the desire is just as strong.

“Catalonia was born one thousand years ago. We have a long history behind us,” he told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on the day Spain inaugurated its new king, Felipe VI.

“We have found a lot of different obstacles, problems, difficulties and so on. And we have always tried to overcome.”

“Now it is the right time for the referendum in Catalonia to go on and to go ahead. And our way to do that will be absolutely peaceful – and this is not the case in Ukraine – and also absolutely democratic.”

Catalonia’s referendum, due to be held in November, is one of the biggest challenges facing Spain’s new monarch.

Unlike the UK, where the national government has approved Scotland’s upcoming referendum on independence, Madrid has not … In April, Spanish parliament rejected a Catalan petition to be able to hold its referendum.

“Two things can happen. The first one is a reaction, a moderate reaction of the Spanish government tolerating the referendum in Catalonia. That would be the best-case scenario.”

“The worst-case scenario would be that just after I call the referendum in November, the Spanish government sends to the constitutional court the referendum, and the constitutional court would have the possibility to revoke it.”

King Felipe VI has only “non-executive powers,” Mas said; but clearly the monarch, as head of state, wields significant influence.

“I have met the new king several times. I have a cordial relationship with him, although we have not talked deeply about the current problem between Catalonia and Spain. So I hope that I will have the opportunity in the near future to talk to him in … in a more calm way.”

There has been talk that Felipe VI would travel to Catalonia – of which Barcelona is the capital – as one of his first acts.

“We would appreciate it. We would appreciate his mediation and his help. And I'm sure that he will try to do something in order to work out the solution.”

Scotland holds its independence referendum just two months before Catalonia; the outcome of that vote could have big consequences on the Catalan initiative.

If Scots vote in favor of independence, Mas said, “it would affect in a positive way” Catalonia’s effort. Scotland would have to negotiate terms of membership with the European Union, setting some precedent for Catalonia.

“What we know for certain is that there is a huge majority for the referendum” – that is, most support holding the vote.

What is much more up in the air is whether it will actually be approved.

“In my personal case, I'm going to vote yes, as a citizen. But as a president of Catalonia, my commitment is to hold the referendum.”


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Spain
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. RJP3

    I was amazed how much the folks in Barcelona do not like Spain – or the Spanish culture. They still feel Spain oppressed them under Franco – and they see themselves as more similar to the French than the Spanish. That set – tough it out – you are not your own country you are part of Spain.

    June 20, 2014 at 11:10 am | Reply
    • AGIR

      The thing is, that it's also true the other way around: people in Madrid do not like Catalonia either, it's a case of mutual rejection. In fact, Catalonia was once its own country, the Crown of Aragon, until the king of Aragon married the queen of Castile (the rest of what now is Spain) and both kingdoms ended up merging and formed what we know now as Spain. It's only logical that Catalans think Catalonia is its own country, because that's what it once was.

      (Also, sorry about my English, it's not my native tongue)

      June 20, 2014 at 12:13 pm | Reply
      • SanJoan

        Please dont speak for all catalans. Not for me and for many others that think like me. Stop.

        June 21, 2014 at 10:02 am |
      • Manolo

        Catalonia was always Spain and IT will be forever

        June 21, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
      • Antonio Martínez

        El Condado de Barcelona, que no Cataluña, era vasallo del Reino de Aragón ( en el que se hablaba español ) y nunca fue un país,. A ver si a fuerza de contar mentiras a los demás, pensamos que llegaremos a tener razón, aunque sea retorciendo la Historia.
        Por cierto, en Cataluña también vive gente sensata, así que no demos a los territorios carácter de personas. En Madrid no tenemos nada contra Cataluña, aunque no nos caen simpáticos unos individuos que utilizan su condición de políticos para esquilmar al resto de los españoles ( tienen más de 60.000 millones de € de deuda con el resto del país ) y encima van diciendo por ahí, que España (como si ellos fuesen una colonia ) les oprime.

        June 22, 2014 at 7:24 pm |
      • Kingdoms

        Dear Mr/Mrs AGIR,
        I think, you should be more careful with your words: Catalonia never was an independent Kingdom. The county (Condado) of Barcelona existed, and it was a part of the Kingdom of Aragon (to which said county had a servitude). Later in history, both the Kingdom of Aragon -the northeastern part of Spain, plus the Balearic islands- and the Kingdom of Castilla -pretty much the rest of Spain- were united as the King of Aragon and the Queen of Castilla married.
        By telling the rest of world lies and half truths you will not be able to change history...

        June 23, 2014 at 11:13 am |
      • JERO

        Im catalan and I'm amazed on how the catalan government is telling a bunch of lies, like the fact that catalonia was once a country. The Kingdom of Aragon includes several regions like Valencia, Aragon, catalonia and Majorca. The capital was Zaragoza, not even Barcelona. Catalonia has NEVER been an independent country and this lie is the wrong begginning of the whole mess...

        June 24, 2014 at 5:58 pm |
      • lunis

        CATALONIA HAS NEVER BEEN A COUNTRY. YOU KNOW THAT, IT´S JUST 35 YEARS INDOCTRINATING THE CHILDREN.

        June 25, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
    • Joe O'neill

      Catalans are a distinct nation, with their own culture, language and history.

      Modern-day Catalans, while being a diverse and open society, share a common culture and make up a distinct nation.

      Today’s Catalonia, far from being enslaved to the past, is a thriving and cosmopolitan mixture of diverse elements. Catalans want to rule themselves as any other sovereign nation in the world. Catalans are a nation with its own Parliament and more than ready to become a State.

      Greetings from Ireland and great interview Christiane to President Mas. So looking forward to Catalonia being a State like al the others in the world. Well deserved Catalans!

      June 20, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Reply
      • DONT BUY LIES

        I've been censored twice. I'll try it another way:

        Catalonia's current financial status is bankrupcy. The rest of the Spaniards are paying (against their will) to save them from disaster which it's led to by corrupt politicians, especially Artur Mas.

        Regional Government (Generalitat) is always asking for more money from central Spanish government, and all four last premiers have given in (Felipe González, Aznar, Zapatero, Rajoy) to that blackmail.

        There is plenty of money in the FLA (Fondo de Liquidez Autonómica, Regional Liquid Funds) meant for all regions in Spain in case of need, but Catalonia has taken more than 50% for years, when normally 7% should apply.

        Yet, they keep on slandering: "Spain is robbing us" and making campaign all over the world.

        Just because the rest of Spaniards do not complain formally (yet), that does not mean Arturo Mas is right. Quite the opposite. And he sets on fire his people with such lies.

        Is it time for Spanish people to put things clear and bring to justice corrupt politicians (both central and regional)?

        Mr. moderator, should you want evidence of this corruption, please allow me to publish it, so everyone can see there's no lie in what I say.

        June 21, 2014 at 9:57 am |
    • x_chan

      "You are not your own country, you are part of Spain"

      I think they already know that... If they were not part of Spain, they would not seek independence, would they?

      June 20, 2014 at 12:37 pm | Reply
      • marc

        Well, the problem is that catalan goverment act as if Cat were a country. 1.5 million people vote for the CIU+ERC parties (now rulling in Catalonia). This is less than half the people that went to vote in the last regional elections (aproximately 3.2 million people) and about a quater of the catalans with right to vote (about 5 millions). How it is possible that such a big claim (Independence) supported by such a low proportion of catalans can be the only issue in the agenda of this low lever politians? Can this be called a proper democracy?

        June 21, 2014 at 10:43 am |
  2. Joe O'neill

    A large part of Catalonia’s citizens have been claiming, for the past few years, the right to decide its destiny, with the support of 77 % of the Parliament of Catalonia, which had already declared in favour of the Catalan people being consulted, although the Spanish government has blocked the possibility of a referendum being held by the 7.5 million Catalans to vote democratically on their future. The Catalan government has found five different ways to legally channel the demands of the Catalan people to exercise their right to vote, but the Spanish government is not willing to discuss any of them.

    The official poll by the Opinion Study Centre (CEO) from March 2014 reveals that 74% of citizens think the future of the country needs to be decided on a referendum, and that 60% support the Independence of Catalonia.

    The year 2014, during which the Scottish referendum will be held, also marks the commemoration of 300 years since Catalonia lost its freedom.

    June 20, 2014 at 12:25 pm | Reply
    • lunis

      THE SITUATION IS VERY SIMPLE, IN A NUTSHELL: ANYBODY CAN REPORTED YOU IF YOUR POSTER SHOP IS IN SPANISH, THEN A FINE CAN BE APPLIED, I THINK UP TILL 3.000 EUROS. THAT´S THE FREEDOM FOR THE PEOPLE DON´T THINK/ACT/BELIEVE AS THE APPARATUS. GOEBBELS WOULD BE PROUD.

      June 25, 2014 at 2:15 pm | Reply
  3. Antonio Catalán (Barcelona)

    Amanpour asked 2 times to Artur Mas about the benefits of independence and he did not answer, why?

    June 20, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Reply
    • t.

      Els beneficis son tan obvis que no cal dedicar-se massa a dir-los de moment, només cal ser un pel intel·ligent per saber-los... Vamoooooos Antonio !!

      June 20, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Reply
      • Raimon

        I as Catalan am ashamed to be represented by Arturo Mas, that the only thing that wants is to cover the corruption of her politicians and her bad political management. Though the price that be necessary to pay is the division of the citizens and the break of the most ancient nation of Europe, Spain!!

        June 21, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
      • V.

        That's the key : If you want to be taken seriously, you should answer those questions. Yes , "cal fer-ho" . You are been interviewed by an international media for international people that surely has no idea about the subject. The benefits are not so obvious if American interviwer are asking you about it. By the way, you are the only one that not answer in English but in Catalan, I suppose you don´t want be understood by other people. Well done, Mr. T.

        June 22, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
      • Elizabeth

        to Mr or Mrs t, please make your comment in English or Spanish, so we can understand what you write, or maybe you don't want your comment to be understood?

        June 26, 2014 at 5:25 am |
      • Ricardo

        The basic "benefits" are very simple;
        Catalans, like me, feel they are disrespected and robbed economically by Spain. At first, all we wanted is to be treated fairly and respectfully but they NEVER listen to us. The only actual way to do change that is by becoming independent and making our own decisions.
        And, let me ask you a question: if it is so clear that there are no benefits to Catalonia's independence, why can't we vote? For me the answer is very simple, they KNOW that YES would be the answer and then, they could not rob us anymore. They are scared because they are certain of the answer, if not, they would let us vote, which I think is quite ridiculous, we live in a "democratic" country yet they don't reflect that. And don't say that the whole of Spain should vote, that would be the samenthing all over again, what we are trying to avoid, them deciding for us.
        We are being forced to stay in Spain!

        June 30, 2014 at 9:59 pm |
    • Efraím

      I'd say because he doesn't really know them. The way I see things, ever since the campaign for the last autonomous election this whole independence story has been a smoke screen to try and cover Catalonia's actual problems

      June 29, 2014 at 12:19 pm | Reply
      • Ricardo

        I think it is an "actual" problem, of course it is not the only one and perhaps Artur Mas doesn't know the benefits (he probably does), but as he said, his job as the President is to reflect what people want, and right know what people want is to vote

        June 30, 2014 at 10:03 pm |
  4. Kb

    The thing is, we are at a point where Europe should be focused on ways that help us become a stronger unified block. The potential independence of Catalonia and Scotland are regressive actions, not progressive. At best, they are distractions, but at worst, they can trigger collapse of what is the most revoluionary political project in the history of the world. We should all strive for unity, not divisiveness. Divisiveness is a very short sighted posture.

    June 21, 2014 at 4:13 am | Reply
  5. Pere

    The benefits of being independent are being outside Spain. So simple.

    June 21, 2014 at 5:35 am | Reply
    • Marc

      Oh yes, in this way the rich and powerful in catalonia will have the absolute power to manipulate the justice system and the communication media (even more, if possible). If that moment arrives (I hope no), everything will be wonderful but only according to the TV and newspapers. Corruption will have no impartial judges, the poor will be poorest, education will be even worse (now among the worse in Spain).

      June 21, 2014 at 9:45 am | Reply
  6. indigenus catalan

    catalans only want the freedown and have the posibylity to create a new state and a new democracy for the better times , where the people autovernement themself not for the elits in every conuntry want governament and manipuled the economi and the civill sociaty .

    June 21, 2014 at 8:10 am | Reply
    • Marc

      I hope you don't believe your own lies.

      June 21, 2014 at 9:39 am | Reply
    • Not in my Name

      The leader of the independence process in Catalonia has no answer concening the aim for an independent Catalonia. No answer, no explanation, no content. Enough said.

      June 23, 2014 at 11:40 am | Reply
      • Ricardo

        Don't you think that all those people asking for it are enough? He is the president and his job is to do what people want him to do, to represent them. Also, he does have answers, he has actually explained them in other interviews, debates...

        June 30, 2014 at 10:08 pm |
  7. DONT BUY LIES

    Mr. Mike Crever – a journalist must always serve the truth. Unjustified censorship (whoever makes it) of truthful comments on very grave matters is like serving evil. On your head be it. For now, it depicts quite well Amanpour's current intent (or whoever is behind her). You can lure catalonians, but not the whole world. Mind that. – Farewell, US empire.

    June 21, 2014 at 8:48 am | Reply
    • DONT BUY LIES

      Maybe my original comment yesterday was not in fact censored, but not published due to exceeding a word limit I was unaware of, in which case I'll try to post it again splitted in parts and respectfully beg you to accept my apologies.

      Here's my last try:

      Arturo Mas is an absolute liar. And a Göbbels-like, mass-manipulator too. (Just because corrupt monarchy in Spain allows him to do so):  

      1. Catalonia was never a kingdom or a state on its own. 1, 000 years ago it was just part (as a couple of counties) of the kingdom of Aragon. 2 centuries earlier, those counties had been invaded by the Carolingian Empire, hence the resemblance of their tongue to French. It has always enjoyed economic, financial and liberty privileges in the modern ages, but always wants seamlessly more.  

      June 22, 2014 at 2:53 am | Reply
    • DONT BUY LIES

      (Continued)

      2. With the hope of appeasing this ever lasting greed, recent corrupt Spanish Governments have been unfairly shovelling huge sums of money (belonging to all Spaniards, i.e. an absolute swindle) to corrupt regional Catalonian governments (Generalitat).

      This has been going on as of the times (+30 years ago, 1982) of premier Felipe González and "honourable" Jordi Pujol – whose family, involved in economic scandals, happens to have more than € 120 million in Swiss banks accounts, but are untouchable because the greatest bank in Catalonia, La Caixa, has harboured as a very well paid employee king Juan Carlos's daughter, Cristina, the very one who fled to Switzerland when her husband's scam of € +20 M became known to the people. (She pleaded unaware of the origin of this fortune, pretending, a well-grown graduated in Politics, to be naive, but she enjoyed it all right).  

      June 22, 2014 at 3:00 am | Reply
    • DONT BUY LIES

      (Continued)

       3. Arturo Mas has fired up Catalonian desires on false grounds: "Spain is robbing us" ("Espanya ens roba") was his main motto, when actually it's the other way round, or, more accurately, out of cowardice, Spanish governments steal away money from all Spaniards NOT for the Catalonian people itself, but  mainly for the Catalonian corrupt politicians (which is entirely different). Naturally, these also corrupt Spanish politicians get their share out of that legal theft, too.  

      June 22, 2014 at 3:13 am | Reply
      • Locasta

        Wise words yours. I just wish all Catalans could put everything you say in their minds but they have been brainwashed. It starts at schools.

        June 22, 2014 at 9:28 am |
  8. Marc

    Ms Amanpour, a very fair interview. I just would like to point out one thing. There were not a million of people in the independentists marches.The CNN experts can count the área of the streets and the people that fit in this área. No way it can holds 1 million people Please, do not trust the Catalan information sources, these are closely followed by the catalan goverment (Mr Mas, etc) and are never impartial. I know that. I am a Catalan and I have to cope everyday with these false statements.

    June 21, 2014 at 9:38 am | Reply
  9. John

    The point is Catalonia don't deserve a guy like Mas, he's a liar and the history has shown a reapeted lie a million times end up becoming a true. Catalonian people has been indoctrinated from their childhood telling this kind of líes...we all know no long ago how fascists did the same.

    June 22, 2014 at 8:47 am | Reply
    • Ricardo

      Actually, Mas is the person they want and he got elected democratically. Politicians in Spain in general are not very good but I think Mas is actually a pretty good one, considering he is the first to actually listen to the people, which is the most important trait in a President.

      June 30, 2014 at 10:22 pm | Reply
  10. ivan

    Can somebody explain what exactly would happen to Spain if Catalonia gained more independence? I am Czech and Czechs separated from Slovaks about 20 years ago without any problem and they are on excellent terms still. If a nation within a country strongly feels that it would be better of separated, why not let them?

    June 22, 2014 at 1:37 pm | Reply
    • De Gueb

      Words of wisdom and experience.

      October 1, 2014 at 7:29 am | Reply
  11. Noelia

    Ms Amanpour, first of all Catalonia didn't exist 1000 years ago, in that period of history existed some counties that where depending on the frenchs and afterward on the kingdom of Aragon so it is not the same situation than Scotland that this was a real kingdom. Second, not only Catalonia is the economic motor of Spain, there are other regions as Madrid or Vasc Country. Third, in Catalonia there are also lots of people, I would say the majority (not in the villages but yes in the cities) that feel catalan and spanish. And the last thing to say and the most important is that nobody has explained how are they going to get Catalonia independent for the rest of Spain (the oldest country in Europe and all the public organisms as Tax Department and Justice are statelized) and which are the beneficies. Nowadays what is true is that all these politicians are creating tension between the catalan people for this matter.

    June 22, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Reply
  12. Guti

    We must say one thing that nobody said.And this is that the only that Spanish people want is vote,in the case of the posible referendum in Catalonia ALL must have the right to vote,because the final decission involves all spanish people.
    Arturo Mas wants that the referendum takes place only in Catalonia.
    He speaks allways for the right to decide,well,I think that the rest of Spain have something to say about it.
    I also wanna say that catalonia NEVER has been a nation or something like it,and thousand years ago neither.TCatalonia was part of the kingdom of Aragón,Aragón was who free them from arabians.
    And is to easy say "Spains robs Catalonia" but don't show any proof about it,but allways recall the help of the state to pay Catalonia's bills.
    Ms Amanpour,I like a lot your work.I would like that you and your great team do a good story deepening on the subject with the independence that characterizes your work.Thank you very much.

    June 22, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Reply
    • Rafael Oreiro

      Guti , let me ask 1 thing . If someone invades your home , your nation . Do you ask them to take part in your own decisions . If I well remember if we follow your line of thinking , then the irish as the indians would have asked for the english to decide for them . Recovering independency is pretty much a circunstance , a fact that is only observed as a "problem" by invaders , by those that occupy and exploit hat nation on this case the spanish .

      August 27, 2014 at 2:28 pm | Reply
  13. luisfedez

    The reality is that Catalans with the advent of democracy in Spain have twisted and inveted the histry in their benefit. It is not tue that Catalonia was a State because it was never more than a county under the Aragon Crown or French rule. They have a language with a disntinct cultura as it happens every 100 kms in Europe as an old continent. Spanish Centrel Governmemt turned a blind eye for years while in the Catalan Regional Parlament politicians ruled effectively to indoctrinate 2 generations in the School. Catalonia is not a State and no matter how thousand times a lie is said that it won't ever become a truth.

    June 22, 2014 at 2:36 pm | Reply
  14. Joaquin

    We have a public debt in Catalonia of more tan 60.000 million €, almost half of all the Spanish debt, and the group of politicians in favour of this process openly argument that benefits of the independence is to get rid of that debt by breaking away and leave without paying.
    They also openly threaten that the central government will have to bend to our demands if they want to get some of the money back, at the same time than more money is being borrowed through the Liquidity Fund for Autnomous Regions (FLA in Spanish) for regions that cannot borrow from financial markets.
    I am ashamed of our region making noise by that, ruined by our government, infested by corruption cases, and spending even more money to create internal confrontation.
    I do not thing we could get away without paying our debt, but if so, the internal schim that would follow would certainly dwarf that debt figure.

    June 22, 2014 at 4:21 pm | Reply
  15. ivan

    To be saying that a referendum on greater Catalan autonomy or independence would require the vote of all Spaniards sounds like requiring that a husband must vote on his wife's desire to divorce him. Doesn't it sound a bit strange, especially because the Spaniards writing here don't seem to like Catalans much?

    June 22, 2014 at 5:25 pm | Reply
    • First, truly illustrate yourself

      Do not propose similarities without investigating a bit by yourself. Spanish law does not allow its territory to change without the consent of the majority of the Spanish citizens. I do not know about divorce laws in your country, but in Spain it is allowed when one of the members of the couple wants the divorce and some other conditions are met. So, how can you compare both situations?
      If somebody wants to separate from Spain, all Spanish have a saying. It may sound strange to some disinformed individuals, but it is true. As is also true the bankruptcy economic situation in Catalonia, the brainwashing in their schools, the lack of support of independence from the majority of Catalans and some other things that have already been exposed.

      June 22, 2014 at 6:28 pm | Reply
      • Ricardo

        If you really believe that, I don't think you're getting the whole point of being independent. They want to be independent basically so Spain doesn't make desicions for them. If they all vote, then it wouldn't really make sense to vote. It would be pretty funny actually, the ones that would want to separate would be in Catalonia, why?
        Catalonia is being forced to be part of Spain, before this time, Catalonia has already tried to become independent but Spain came with the tanks (correct me if I'm wrong). Now they can't stop them with force and that is why I think they will eventually become independent in a very close future. You can't stop people in a "democratic" country to speak and to build their own future.
        I honestly can't believe some people still think Catalonia can't vote for themselves, it is ridiculous! They are part of Spain, not property of Spain. I don't think some people should control others.
        I live in Catalonia. I had a friend that lived here and moved to Andalucia what was going to be a 1 year experience, but he didn't come back because he told me, and I quote:"I work half of the hours I work in Catalonia and I get paid double". In a country where this happens, I don't think people like my friend, who get that money from Catalonia, should get a vote since they obviously don't want to work more to get paid less.

        June 30, 2014 at 10:44 pm |
      • De Gueb

        Catalans never ever wanted to be part of the crown of Castilia!! Can´t you get that in to your tick heads. The have fought them several times over history. Catalunya was part of the crown of Aragon correct, but had full independence with their own Genaralitat laws and courts. Consider an arrangement similar to what we have now with the UE and NATO. Countries join voluntarily under mutual agreements. When the crown of Aragon married into the Crown of Castilia the Catalans fought against the Bourbon dynasty!!! Time and time again the Catalans have tried to free themselves from the crown of castilia, to win back what the lost through war. Gibraltar was handed to the British in exchange for the Brits pulling out they army that was helping the Catalans fight the castilians, get your facts right for christ sake!!! they lasted nearly to years before Barcelona fell.

        October 1, 2014 at 6:30 am |
    • Not in my Name

      I love Catalonia – in fact I have chosen to live there. I do not like the pervading Catalan-government-fuelled pro-independence pensee unique and the penchant for disqualification over real debate when dealing with the issue.

      June 23, 2014 at 11:54 am | Reply
    • marc

      Many of the spaniards that are posting comments here, are catalans. That is my case. Your reasoning about the husband and divorce is so simple and low leveled. It doesn't surprise me, it resembles the low level of reasoning of most of the pro-Independence statements

      June 24, 2014 at 5:03 am | Reply
  16. vancitydissident2

    Ivan has a very good point. A better analogy might the emancipation of US minors.
    In the US, it is taken for granted that parents oppose emancipating a sixteen-year old, so the main thing a judge looks at is whether the minor possesses the skill-set to make it on his/her own.
    If the parents' consent were the primary criterion, there would be no emancipation hearings.

    As for the EU, I would contend that two more member-states will not cause European disintegration.
    West Virginia split from Virginia, New Mexico Territory was split to form Arizona and New Mexico, and the USA still exists.

    History is also no criterion. Every person who became an adult was previously only a child and not an adult. The United States, Canada, Australia and South Africa were previously part of the British Empire, yet each became a Nation unto itself.

    June 22, 2014 at 6:16 pm | Reply
    • Not in my Name

      Cantabria and La Rioja split from Castilla la Vieja; the latter joined León, forming the autonomous community of Castilla y León. That's more similar to Virginia and West Virginia. Virginia is a state within a federation of states, not an independent country. The similarity to the Catalonia case would be if California decided to separate from the USA and become a different country to the USA because California feels the federal government are stealing from them. Then we would have two independent countries and a 49-state USA. I wonder whether most Americans would gladly OK that.

      June 23, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Reply
    • Not in my Name

      Plus: Unlike the USA, the European Union is made up of independent countries. One of the issues in Catalonia is whether an independent Catalonia would have to apply for EU membership. In principle, that would be the case.

      June 23, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Reply
  17. Mbasa

    Actually, what’s in stake here is the very essential meaning of words such as democracy and freedom. Of course, we can discuss eternally whether Artur Mas is the right man or if this is truly the right time. However, I am afraid that many people are missing the point if they only focus on an irrelevant subject like this. He is only a person, nothing more, let’s be clear: all those who are pushing this process forward will continue until getting a crystal clear answer to their demands. I’m one of them, just one amongst many. The “problem” or “conflict” will not disappear by taking Mas out of the formula. On the contrary, it will increase exponentially for sure. Anyway, again, to me, as a separatist (I am not ashamed to scream it out loud), there is at least one reasoning that the world should never accept, and that is keeping people from voting on no matter what. It’s exactly the opposite to the soul of any democratic will. Even if it is by law, then this “law” needs some serious adapting process to current reality. Democracy comes first, always. I am ready to lose my vote against anyone who does not think like me because before being a separatist, I am a democrat. Everyone should be prepared to lose democratically. And please don’t get it wrong: Catalans don’t hate Spanish, we don’t, really, but sometimes a friendly divorce is the best way for the both sides to achieve happiness and mutual respect.

    June 23, 2014 at 4:49 am | Reply
  18. Poole

    The same guy who din´t clap the new king at his coronation, asks him now for mediation...

    June 23, 2014 at 7:47 am | Reply
    • Jordi

      What's extrange in don't claping a coronation and asking for mediation?
      Do you give tips to the Taxi driver before arriving destination?

      August 11, 2014 at 4:03 am | Reply
  19. DONT BUY LIES

    Should the Catalonian people still wish to be dragged to disaster and bluff by their deliberately misleading politicians, then let them do so.

    But first, they have to settle their economic accounts with the rest of Spain and give the unduly received money back. Back to the Spaniards, who were detracted from it against their will by their own central Spanish governments.

    Let an indepedent, honest organism audit the accounts between regional and national governments, and bring to trial all politicians involved in fraud against their people, either Spanish or Catalonian, and you'll see what you will see (i.e. who is the impostor in all this affair).

    June 23, 2014 at 3:15 pm | Reply
  20. Gustau

    Please don't use the past to justify the future. If so the USA would still be part of the Great Britain, they were never a country before 1776.

    Catalans want to hold a referendum. Whoever wants to stick with Spain can vote no; and even that will be the outcome, like it happened in Canada. But what if the outcome is 'yes'? Can you prevent a majority (50%+1) against its wil?

    It's all about democracy and you can't stop that. People won't step back.

    June 24, 2014 at 5:23 am | Reply
  21. Brian

    How pathetic! This guy cannot answer why he wants the independence from Spain. Who is he trying to convince without arguments?

    June 24, 2014 at 11:07 am | Reply
  22. John Q

    I had the idea that Spanish politicians were more serious. This phony doesn't even know what he wants!

    June 25, 2014 at 11:33 am | Reply
  23. Jaume

    It´s a matter of DEMOCRACY!! The scottish are gonna vote, because David Cameron is a democrat.
    We, the catalonian people want to vote and we will accept what the majority decides in a free and peaceful referendum. But Mariano Rajoy and the Spanish State are NOT democrats. The won´t let us vote. They are afraid of the will of the people. They are afraid of democracy.
    Som-hi !!! WE WANT TO VOTE, WE WANT DEMOCRACY, WE WANT A FREE, DEMOCRATIC AND PEACEFUL STATE!!!
    We want to be an independent state just like the U.S.A. or Ireland. We just want to be a normal state, the Republic of Catalonia.
    Let us vote.
    Mr. Obama let´s hope that DEMOCRACY will prevail. YES WE CAN!!!

    June 25, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Reply
    • marc

      Dear Jaume, please, let me correct you. YOU WANT TO VOTE, YOU WANT A CATALAN INDEPENDENT STATE. ! Not me or other catalans. Don't try to mislead people. They are not stupid. WE ARE ALREADY IN A FREE, DEMOCRATIC AND PEACEFUL STATE.
      A suggestion: What about to vote on the possibility to learn also Spanish at the schools, not only Catalan. You know that Spanish is the language that is spoken by half of the catalans but that that cannot be taught at schools because of political reasons?

      June 30, 2014 at 10:24 am | Reply
      • Ricardo

        What the hell are you on about mate??
        As you corrected him (you were right to do that), I correct you, YOU think we are in that state, but that is not really true is it? Since we are not free to vote for our own future we are not really free but that is MY opinion.
        About the Spanish in schools you are more or less right, maybe we should vote, but to me, just as to you (I respect your opinion), we are already in a peaceful state, I, as most of the catalan population know fluent Spanish and Catalan and changing that probably wouldn't change anything (I suppose you are refering to be taught in Spanish because we do learn Spanish), but, most people in Catalonia prefer to be taught in like now. Actually, I don't remember the exact amount of people that asked to be taught in Spanish last year, but the amount was so ridiculous it made me laugh. To me it is obvious that the answer would be to continue as we are, in the other hand, most of the statistics tell us that most of the catalan population want to become a country.
        Spanish is NOT spoken by half of the catalans, I do not know where you got that from but really that is not accurate at all. You probably saw it in some place that only took in account the people in Barcelona (where I live), here, it is roughly that, or actually maybe catalan is spoken more but that isn't the point. The point is being an independent country is a lot more important than that.
        I know that the answer to that would be to be taught like now and they know that the answer to a referendum would be to separate that is the reason why they are not being democratic, but we will find our LEGAL way of becoming independent (YES, THERE IS A LEGAL WAY), which will take more time, but time has shown to be running in our favour.

        August 30, 2014 at 9:04 pm |
      • Ricardo

        And, by the way, we do get taught some classes in Spanish. What do you mean by "it cannot be taught". Of course it can be taught or else I have gone to 3 ilegal schools. And for political reasons? Do you even know what Mr. Wert wants to apply in Catalonia? After you learn a bit of that, we can talk. If that guy had the chance, he would ban catalan to everybody and would destroy our whole culture! And I am not even exagerating... And is he asking anybody? Are we voting on that? He wants to do whatever he wants in Catalonia as if Spain OWNED us, they do not OWN us we are a PART of Spain. God, if people know how they have treated us and how they still want to treat us, they would understand...

        August 30, 2014 at 9:14 pm |
      • De Gueb

        You have no idea what you are talking about. I have lived in Catalunya until I was 30 and I speak manly Spanish although I can read I speak Catalan, my written Catalan is no so good. When I go back to Catalunya with my wife from Malaga she has no problem at all. She look after my nice when we are there, takes here to school, talks with the other mothers and teachers in Spanish, she has all her Catalan friends on facebook and surprise surprise they can write in Spanish also. The linguistic issue is a load of Bull S created but far right fanatic that are too stupid to learn a second language. FYI I studied in Girona where there is majority of Catalan speaker and never had a problem, my Andalusian friends sister has just gone to Tarragona to study and she has no problem either. I always did my exams in Spanish, so does she. My Sister is a teacher in Catalunya and she teaches in Spanish, nobody as complained in 8 years.
        The guy who runs the bar next to my office had lived for 40 years near Lieida and was proud to say he couldn't speak a word of Catalan. I only wish he had gone to Germany.

        October 1, 2014 at 6:53 am |
  24. Héctor

    Hello everyone,

    I think that Catalonian leaders could request permission for Catalonians to vote. However, they have a responsibility to provide all possible information to the voters so they can decide based on true information. The scenery is the opposite. Politicians and other local movements, are making up information and history.
    Here it is a good example of how they are bending history so people believe Catalonia was a county in the past. According to a government supported association, the American flag is nothing more than a cheap copy of the Catalonian flag. By saying this, they make Catalonians believe that in the past they were a powerful nation that others wanted to imitate. They also claim that Christopher Columbus, Americo Vespuchio o Leonardo Da Vinci were Catalonian (and these are just three examples of what they are doing with history and historic people)

    http://www.inh.cat/articles/Sobre-l'origen-de-la-bandera-dels-Estats-Units-d'America

    July 2, 2014 at 8:06 am | Reply
  25. WE THE PEOPLE

    We the people, want to be free. Despite all that interested comments, some of them full of contempt and hatred. We, the majority of the catalan people WANT TO VOTE.
    It's suposed we are living in a democratic country, and we decide everyting by votations... except autodetermination?
    Some comments here are written by suposed Catalans... let me boudt about it.
    Mr. Mas is not a visionare, Mr. Mas was forced by We the People, to ask for a referendum.
    Mr. Mas today is our president but have not the majority, at present a littel more tha 20% support him as a president, but the majority of Catalans wnat to be independent and the great majorit¡y of Catalans want to be consulted in a referendum.
    We the Catalans, have nothing againts Spanish. In fact, most of us have blood links with Spanish... fathers, grand fathers, husbands, wifes have born in other regions of Spain. These ties will be nave broken. We are brothers forever.
    Anyway, Catalans never in the history os the Peninsule Iberica have been part the Spain managed by the Castillians.
    Spain was a wide empire from South America to Philippines and steep bey steep the people from the colonies have fight for their independence... no one of this now more than 30 new independent countries have asked to return to be Spanish.
    Catalans don't want to fight, Catalan WANT TO VOTE. This is a international right defended by the UN. We want to exercise our fundamental right. The majority of the people will decide the future pacificaly, democraticaly.

    August 8, 2014 at 9:07 pm | Reply
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