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Spain Arrests Leaders of Catalonia Independence Movement & They Dare to Claim Russia Does Not Respect Democracy?

The Spanish government has shown to the entire world that it denies human rights and has absolutely no democratic principles whatsoever. The next step is for the pretend elected government to declare a perpetual state of emergency and suspend all elections nationwide to complete what is rapidly becoming a dictatorship. Thousands in Catalonia have now risen up in protest against the Spanish government once again as they arrested the five leaders of the independence movement. The mood in Catalonia is turning more anti-Madrid and based upon the emails we are getting from Spain, many are now beginning to see that how the Spanish government is treating those in Catalonia means that the government views them as well as having no rights.

Clashes with police are being reported with at least 24 demonstrators injured, according to rescue workers. Independent journalists are reporting that policemen in Barcelona were using batons against demonstrators approaching the regional government building. Some demonstrators in Barcelona were even burning pictures of King Felipe VI, which is a crime in Spain. They were also burning photographs of judge Pablo Llarena, who ordered the arrests. The protesters waved Catalan flags and shouted “freedom for political prisoners”.

Spain refuses to respect human rights and Brussels has refused to defend the people because they too seek a dictatorship. The irony here is they have the guts to point the finger at Putin and China as suppressing democracy?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…


“This is Groundhog Day”: Spanish Stocks Battered By Catalan Vote, Bitcoin Crashes

“This is Groundhog Day”: Spanish Stocks Battered By Catalan Vote, Bitcoin Crashes

Spanish stocks and the euro fell, while Spanish government bond yields hit their highest levels in over a month after Catalan secessionists delivered an unexpected blow to the government of Spanish PM Rajoy by winning the Catalan regional election. Meanwhile across the Atlantic, U.S. equity futures and the dollar rose on the last trading session before the Christmas holiday. The MSCI index of world stocks was flat.

Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index traded sideways as Spain’s Ibex 35 underperformed, dropping as much as 1.6%. Spanish stocks dominated Europe’s biggest fallers, confirming analyst expectations that any shake-out from the Catalonia vote would be mostly confined to Spain. Spain’s bonds also fell along with peripheral European government debt, though bunds were little changed after a selloff this week drove yields to five-week highs.  For those who missed it, Catalan separatist parties triumphed in regional elections, outperforming some polls and reigniting Spain’s political trauma. While the Euro has stabilized since, it suffered a mini flash crash in the illiquid aftermath of the Catalan election news, momentarily dipping to $1.1817 before trimming losses to last stand at $1.1853, down 0.2 percent.

“This is Groundhog Day, we have been here,” said Christopher Peel, chief investment officer at Tavistock Wealth. “I just don’t think the Spanish government can do anything other than come to the table now.” He added that thin liquidity due to the holidays could be accentuating what he called a kneejerk reaction on the IBEX. “Likely there’s some hedge funds leaning on it, but in terms of long-only money I don’t think there will be much movement now.”


…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Spain Leaps Toward Political Breakdown

Spain Leaps Toward Political Breakdown

Desperately needed international investors dread it

The dust is not even close to settling after Catalonia’s latest experimental flirtation with nation building. The pro-independence coalition fell tantalizingly short of gaining a majority of seats (62 out of 135). Now it needs the support of the anti-capitalist separatist party Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) to secure a pro-independence majority in the regional parliament.

The problem is that CUP, which advocates a Catalonian exit (Cat-exit) from the EU, the Eurozone, and NATO, as well as unilateral default on the region’s debt, seems determined to play hard ball. After picking up 10 seats in the election – a seven-point increase on 2011’s total — its lead candidate Antonio Baños has refused to endorse the reappointment of the region’s pro-business president Artur Mas, who Baños described as “tainted” by corruption and the long shadow of austerity.

Kingmaker or Kingslayer?

In his role as Catalonia’s new kingmaker-turned-kingslayer, Baños also dismissed the possibility of CUP supporting a unilateral declaration of independence from Spain. Before the elections CUP had pledged that it would only support a unilateral declaration of independence if the pro-independence parties received a majority of the vote. It won 47%.

As for Mas, his post-electoral hangover has only just begun. Back in 2012, The Economist’s Giles Tremlett presciently warned that by nailing his colors to Catalonia’s independence movement in a last-ditch effort to salvage his own political career, Mas had jumped on a tiger he could not fully control. Now the tiger, it seems, is in the process of unseating its rider. And the rider could soon find himself barred from public office altogether.

As El País reports, the Catalan premier and two other political officials from his party are an official target in a probe (or in the vernacular of Catalonia’s pro-independence supporters, “political trial”) opened by prosecutors over last year’s symbolic referendum:


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Catalan Secessionists Set To Win Election Amid Record Turnout

Catalan Secessionists Set To Win Election Amid Record Turnout

On Friday we previewed what we said could be the next European black swan.

In short, elections in Catalonia on Sunday were a proxy for an independence referendum.

The outcome is critical for several reasons, not the least of which are i) Spain’s debt-to-GDP ratio could spike to 125% in an independence scenario, ii) Catalonia would likely be forced out of the euro in the event they secede, iii) the impact on social stability is decisively unclear, iv) Catalonia accounts for nearly a fifth of Spanish GDP.

Here are the results, tallied amid record turnout.


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Full preview

Earlier this week, we asked why multiple armored vans were parked outside the Bank of Spain’s Barcelona branch.

The convoy would have been curious enough on its own, but the fact that the vehicles were stationed in the Catalan capital ahead of what amounts to an independence referendum piqued our interest and we asked if perhaps the Bank of Spain was preparing for any and all contingencies. According to the Bank of Spain itself, our suspicions were unfounded as “nothing extraordinary happened [on Wednesday] in the building of Banco de España in Barcelona.”

“By the way,” the central bank added, “there is no gold in this site of Banco de España in Barcelona.”

Maybe not, and perhaps nothing was amiss, but this Sunday’s plebiscite in Catalonia is worth watching closely as it could very well represent the next European black swan.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Thousands of pro-independence protesters rally in Barcelona ahead of Catalan elections

Thousands of pro-independence protesters rally in Barcelona ahead of Catalan elections

© Albert Gea

A massive pro-independence demonstration in Barcelona, Spain drew thousands of people on Friday just two days before parliamentary elections in Catalonia. The Catalan president has promised to break with Spain in “18 months to 2 years” in case of a win.

Huge crowds waving red-and-yellow flags with a white star on a blue triangular – esteladas – filled the streets of Barcelona to show their commitment to Catalan independence, pictures posted on social media showed.

As the mass rally was taking place in Catalonia, Spain’s ruling conservative Popular Party (PP) issued a video in which its senior members, including Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, called on Catalans to reject the move.

“United we will win,” Rajoy said in Catalan.

Parliamentary elections will be held in Catalonia on Sunday. Supporters of Catalan independence regard the vote as a form of independence referendum. They are counting on a decisive victory for the “Junts pel Sí” (“Together for yes”) coalition that advocates secession for the region.

“Clearly, if we get a majority of the votes on September 27, then that’s the referendum done,” Artur Mas, Catalonia’s President said on Wednesday. He also promised to declare independence in 18 months to two years if the “Junts pel Sí” movement wins at the polls.


Mas also warned Madrid that Catalonia, which is Spain’s richest region, producing about one fifth of its entire GDP, will not help Spain pay off its debts if it blocks the referendum on Catalan independence.

“If it does not make an agreement with Catalonia, how will Spain be able to pay back its debts, which will rise to 120 percent of its output, while it loses the most productive part of its economy?” he asked.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…


Spanish Banks Warn of Financial Meltdown if Catalonia Votes for Independence

Spanish Banks Warn of Financial Meltdown if Catalonia Votes for Independence

In Spain’s north eastern region of Catalonia, the fear-mongering and doom-saying is reaching a deafening crescendo. If voters return a majority of pro-independence politicians in next Sunday’s regional elections, all manner of economic disaster will befall the region — according to the defenders of Spain’s established political and economic order.

The doomsayers include the Spanish government, the main opposition party, PSOE, Angela Merkel, David Cameron, Barack Obama, John Kerry, the spokesperson of the president of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas, and just about every business lobby representative in Spain. Some Catalan business leaders have even urged their employees to vote against independence, warning that a yes-vote on Sunday could lead to them losing their jobs — a major threat in a nation with over 20% official unemployment!

Warning of a Crisis

The latest chorus of doom and gloom came from Spain’s two biggest banking associations AEB and CECA, whose members include Banco Santander, BBVA, Banco Popular, and Bankia. They warn that the exclusion of Catalonia from the Eurozone will trigger “serious problems of legal insecurity” for banks based in the region. Those banks include Caixabank and Banc de Sabadell, Spain’s third and fifth largest banks respectively, both of whom are also members of AEB and CECA.

In their joint communiqué the two lobbying groups urge the people of Catalonia to honor Spain’s current constitutional order and safeguard the region’s membership of the Eurozone. Failure to do so, they warn, could jeopardize the ability of local financial entities to “protect depositors” (ha!) and “maintain the flow of funds to families, SMEs, and to the country’s productive sectors and job creators” (ha ha!):

The expulsion of Catalonia from the euro zone, resulting from a unilateral breakup of the prevailing constitutional framework (of Spain), would mean that banks based in Catalonia could face serious problems of legal insecurity.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…




Is Catalonia About to Go All In?

Is Catalonia About to Go All In?

An extremely high-stakes game of political poker, not just for Catalonia and Spain but for Europe.

For a nation that doesn’t officially exist, Catalonia sure knows how to throw a national-day party. September 11, approximately 1.4 million people filled the streets of the region’s capital, Barcelona (urban population: 1.6 million), to commemorate La Diada, the fateful day 301 years ago when Catalonia was defeated during the War of the Spanish Succession.

This year’s event was widely praised, even among some unionists, for its near flawless organization, and once again the atmosphere was one of peaceful joviality, resolute defiance and collective hope.

Here are some photos I took in the evening after the march, at an event held in our neighborhood. In the first one, you can see a Castellers (human tower):

QD2015-09-12 Catalonia-independence-Castellers

In the second one you can see the “Arc de Triomf” in the background, with a massive independence flag swaying in the breeze:


But now the festivities are over, and the really hard work of nation building begins. Hope, catchy slogans, and huge demonstrations alone are not enough to create a new nation.

Institutions of State

A nation needs a viable economy, which Catalonia already has; it needs international acceptance and recognition, which could be a much higher mountain to climb, especially given the threat posed by separatist movements in other European countries (France, Italy, the UK, Belgium); and it needs the basic organs and institutions of state. According to Catalonia’s premier, Artur Mas, these are now under development.

“One crucial task for the next government will be to create the state structures that will succeed those of the Spanish state: the tax authority, for example, which we have already worked on for the past year and a half, or social security or the central bank,” he told the Financial Times.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…



Spain Defense Minister Warns Army May Intervene Unless “Catalonia Obeys The Rules”

Spain Defense Minister Warns Army May Intervene Unless “Catalonia Obeys The Rules”

With Spain’s Catalan region on the verge of electing pro-independence parties and seeking autonomy from central rule, the government (clearly worried) has ramped up the rhetoric on what consequences lie ahead. In a rather stunning outburst for a supposed democracy, CNA reports, the Spanish Defence Minister, Pedro Morenés, assured that the army won’t act in Catalonia as long as “everybody fulfills their duty.” The Catalan minister for the presidency exclaimedMorenes statement was “out of this world,” and could only be made by “someone who is afraid of democracy.” The army will “enforce the Constitution,” Morenes concludes, unless “members strictly obey the rules.” As one pro-independence minister opined, “threatening and trying to intimidate means that you are only left with stupidity.”

In Novermeber, Spain got a big surprise… Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has a problem. Despite his best legal and propoganda defenses (and harsh weather conditions) today’s symbolioc vote for Catalonia independence proceeded… and the initial results (with 88% of the vote counted) are in:


The Spanish government is saying the “data is not valid” and is investigating the illegal ballot calling it a “useless sham.” Catalan President Mas says pro-independence parties will meet this week to put pressure on Madrid.

And now, as Catalan News Agency reports, it appears the government is growing nervous of the forthcoming (Sept 27th) vote…

The Spanish Defence Minister, Pedro Morenés, assured that the army won’t act in Catalonia on 9/27 as long as “everybody fulfils their duty.”In an interview with Spanish National Radio (RNE) this Tuesday he recalled that Catalan politicians “have sworn to obey and enforce the Spanish Constitution” and said that he expected them “to do so.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…



Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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