Rohrabacher Calls on Madrid to Authorize a Catalonian Referendum
WASHINGTON – Concerning the Spanish government’s forceful reaction last weekend to an effort by Catalonians to vote on independence, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats, released the following statement:
People have the right to self-determination. Many Catalonians last Sunday attempted to assert that right in what was an unauthorized referendum on independence. The Spanish government’s use of brutal force to suppress the that assertion was an unwise overreaction.
Because the polling carried no legal status – many Catalonians themselves called it a sham – Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy could have opted to ignore it as a simple show of sentiment. Instead, he sought to show strength. Police resorting to rubber bullets and batons, even dragging people by their hair, may actually have turned more Catalonians in favor of independence than would otherwise have been the case.
It is by no means certain that most citizens of Catalonia, with its economic and cultural vibrancy, would vote to exit Spain. To be clear, I take no position on a decision that is theirs to make. I do know that a country confident of its broad legitimacy would authorize a referendum in which citizens could express their preference.
Kenneth Grubbs, 202-225-2415