Spain sets up campaign to discredit the process abroad

Two special ambassadors are using linguistic immersion and corruption against the independence movement

The Spanish government has designated two embassies to combat the independence argument around the world. And the two elements that they are being spread among officials and economic and media players all over are very clear: the hypothetical Catalan State would not respect the rights of Spanish speakers in Catalonia, with the argument that currently Spanish cannot be studied in schools or that the Catalan government imposes "linguistic fines", and that the whole independence process is nothing more than a manoeuvre by the political classes to avoid corruption trials

That is what sources have told El Món that know about the message being spread by the ambassadors María Bassols -a career diplomat- and Cristina Ysasi Ysasmendi -a high level State civil servant. According to what they say, the independence movement has no more political basis than an attempt to avoid justice from a series of corruption cases principally related to the Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC) party. And, in the hypothetical case of independence, the Spanish ambassadors insist that the situation of Spanish speakers in Catalonia would be compromised. They are now providing the example that schools "only" teach in Catalan and that this would be extended to all spheres of society in the case of independence. 

This thus explains why two weeks ago a specific article about so-called "linguistic fines" was published in the weekly magazine, The Economist, without any direct link made to the current Catalan policy and in which appeared the authoritative voice of the president of Convivencia Cívica Catalana, Francisco Caja

According to El País newspaper, Ysasi Ysasmendi and the Catalan Bassols, have already been to Austria, Switzerland, Brussels, London and New York -the same countries, in fact, in which the Catalan government has foreign delegations. In these places, they have had meetings with both embassies and consulates. Thus, in a such a serious context as the State's official buildings around the world, the people they speak to are more likely to be convinced by their message. Whether it is to commemorate October 12 or simply to hold a specific meeting on a particular issue, the two ambassadors meet all the interlocutors who they think can play a decisive role in the independence process and give them their version of what is happening in Catalonia.

However, when asked the reasons why the Spanish government refuses to authorise a referendum in the style of Scotland, the only answer they get is that the Constitution prevents it. It is a response that, often, sounds limp. 

Nevertheless, the message is beginning to make itself felt. Thus, when one of these people go on to contact the Catalan government to check the information, the point of view relating the reality in Catalonia is completely conditioned by the previous perspective.


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