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Spain - Hysteria on Steroids: Will Catalonia’s Regional Elections Lead to the Breakup of Spain? -  Bécquer Seguín and Sebastiaan Faber

 When Pep Guardiola, a former star player for the Spanish national soccer team and now one of the world’s most successful club managers, announced in July that he’d joined the electoral coalition in favor of Catalan independence, Spain’s interior minister couldn’t hold back his excitement. “When they take off their masks,” said Jorge Fernández Díaz, “we see that the [Catalans] who played and triumphed with the Spanish national soccer team surely did not do so out of patriotism, but out of greed. Some people have money as their god.”

With a single salvo, Fernández Díaz managed to question Guardiola’s integrity and invoke the age-old stereotype of Catalonia as a region of calculating money-grubbers. For many Catalans, the statement confirmed the central government’s utter lack of understanding of and respect for their culture and identity.

On September 27, for the third time in five years, Catalonia will be holding regional elections. Many have defined the elections as a de facto referendum on independence. The interior minister’s candor showcases the bull-in-a-china-shop approach that the ruling, conservative Partido Popular (PP) has taken to Catalonia’s demand for self-determination. Spain’s federalist center-left hasn’t fared any better.

 In late August, former Socialist Prime Minister Felipe González published an open letter in El País, unambiguously titled “To the Catalans,” comparing the pro-independence movement to Italian Fascism and German Nazism, implying that the Catalans had allowed themselves to be seduced by devious political leaders.

Read more: Will Catalonia’s Regional Elections Lead to the Breakup of Spain? | The Nation

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