During the Spanish Civil War, many loyalist leaders and supporters of the Spanish Republican government fled into exile to wage their battle against the Spanish fascist dictatorship of Generalissimo Francisco Franco from abroad. 2018 is beginning to feel like 1939. After the fall of the Second Spanish Republic to Franco, who was aided by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, Spanish President Manuel Azaña and Prime Minister Juan Negrin fled to exile in France. Following the October 27, 2017 declaration of independence of Catalonia by the Catalan Parliament and the dissolution of the Catalonian government by Franco’s proto-fascist successor, Spanish Prime Minister Manuel Rajoy, key members of the Catalonian government fled into exile. The President of the Catalonian Generalitat (Prime Minister) Carles Puigdemont and four of his ministers fled to Belgium to avoid arrest by Rajoy’s security forces.
Other Catalonian leaders were imprisoned in Madrid, where they await trials on sedition and rebellion charges. The leader of the pro-independence Popular Unity Candidature (CUP), Anna Gabriel, attained political asylum in Switzerland, where she told the Swiss newspaper Le Temps, “I will not go to Madrid . . . Since I will not have a fair trial at home, I have looked for a country that can protect my rights.” As with the loyalists imprisoned under Franco, the Catalan independence leaders, who enjoy a majority in the newly-elected Catalonian parliament, face decades in Spanish prison cells under Madrid’s EU-supported regime.
Rajoy, like Franco, appointed not a Catalonian but a Spanish Castilian, Deputy Prime Minister María Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría Antón, as acting President of the Generalitat in Barcelona. Rajoy, as was the case with Franco, has Galician roots. Franco’s rule was infamous for stamping out Catalonian government, language, culture, and national identity and Rajoy, whose Spanish People’s Party is the ideological and chronological heir to Franco’s Falangists, does his very best to emulate his party’s ideological forbearer. Unlike 1936, when Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini came to Caudillo Franco’s side, in 2018, it is European Union Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk who rally to Rajoy’s ranks.
The Spanish government-in-exile was recognized by only a handful of nations, including Venezuela and Mexico. Although France did not recognize the exiled government, it did provide sanctuary for only a few of its leaders. Overall, France was as opposed to the Spanish Republicans in 1939 as it is with the Catalonians today. Two successive French leftist Popular Front prime ministers, Leon Blum and Edouard Daladier, ordered Spanish Republican military personnel and civilians seeking asylum in France interred at “assembly centers” in St. Cyprien, Gurs, and Le Vernet soon became concentration camps. When the Nazis took over France in July 1951, the Spanish Republican internees were transferred to German concentration camps and their deaths. Ironically, among those transferred along with the Spanish Republicans to Nazi concentration camps at Buchenwald and Dachau were the two French prime ministers – Blum and Daladier – who ordered the Spanish loyalist refugees to French internment camps. In not putting out the welcome mat for Catalonia’s exiled government, French President Emmanuel Macron followed the precedent set by Blum and Daladier. Puigdemont and his ministers were, instead, welcomed in Belgium, where the politically-strong Flemish independence bloc ensured they would be safe from Spanish-initiated INTERPOL arrest warrants.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was one of the few world leaders to support the Catalonian independence cause, declaring, “Resist, Catalonia! Latin America admires you.” However, Mexico, which supported the Spanish Loyalist government, was not as generous with the Catalonians. Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray Caso told the Spanish newspaper El Pais, “If Catalonia goes for becoming independent from Spain, the Government of Mexico will not recognize it as a sovereign state.” The National Assembly of Quebec issued a statement supporting the Catalonian cause, but Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a typical Canadian Liberal Party milquetoast call for Spain’s constitution to be respected, a de facto nod to the Madrid authorities for their actions.
From the Vatican, Pope Francis I, doing his very best to emulate the pro-Nazi Pope Pius XII, who acceded to the papacy in 1939 -- the same year the Spanish Loyalists were driven to exile -- condemned Catalonia’s nationalism and backed the European Union. It is no secret that the Vatican sees the European Union as a modern-day Holy Roman Empire. Pius XII raised no objection when, in 1943, Franco’s personal priest, Josemaría Escriva, founded the pro-fascist Catholic order, Opus Dei. According to his personal assistant, Escriva is recorded as saying, “Hitler couldn't have been such a bad person. He couldn't have killed six million. It couldn't have been more than four million.” Escriva gave the stamp of approval of the Catholic Church to Franco’s policy of cultural extermination of the Catalan and Basque peoples.
Opus Dei has given succor to fascist regimes around the world, including the juntas of Argentina, Pope Francis’s home country. As Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, Francis has been accused of handing over two priests to the security forces of the Argentine junta during the Dirty War of the 1970s. Pro-Vatican propagandists have attempted to whitewash Bergoglio’s dalliances with the Argentine fascist regime. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the current Pope stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the Opus Dei-infested government of Rajoy; his proto-fascists in Madrid, which include Spain’s corrupted Borbón monarch, King Felipe VI; and the modern-day Holy Roman Empire that rules from EU headquarters in Brussels.
Just as was the case during the Spanish Civil War, Breton and Corsican nationalists in France have rallied to the side of the Catalonian independence, just as their forefathers supported the Spanish Loyalists, including the Catalonians and Spanish Basques in the late 1930s. Although Macron’s coalition won a majority of seats in France’s July 2017 parliamentary election, it took not a single seat in Corsica. Jean-Guy Talamoni, the president of the Corsican Assembly, vowed that in ten years Corsica would follow Catalonia’s lead in declaring independence. Catalonia and Corsica are not independent today thanks to deals worked out by European monarchs hundreds of years ago. Today, instead of Spanish and French monarchs solely determining the future of Catalonia and Corsica, it is a Rothschild family creation in the Elysées Palace in Paris and a proto-fascist prime minister in the Moncloa Palace in Madrid who call the shots in suppressing the cultural and political identities of Europe’s aspirant nations, including the Basque people on both the Spanish and French sides of the Pyrenees mountain range.
Just as Franco’s troops patrolled the Pyrenees range during the civil war looking for Loyalists sneaking in and out of French territory, Spain’s current Interior Minister, Juan Ignacio Zoido, an Andalusian, ordered patrols increased on the Spanish-French frontier to prevent Puigdemont and his supporters from clandestinely entering Catalonia from France. Zoido was quoted by the UK’s Daily Telegraph as ordering Spanish security forces to be on the lookout for Puigdemont and other exiled officials returning to Catalonia “by helicopter, microlight, or boat.” Zoido could have been channeling any of Franco’s generals during the 1930s civil war.
Unlike the Rajoy regime, which has misused the Spanish courts and constitution to imprison Catalonian political leaders on arcane and trumped up charges of sedition and rebellion, the Catalonian independence movement has been open and transparent about its aims. A clear majority of the Catalonian people want to be free of the shackles of Castilian imperialism and cultural and political superiority. The Catalonian independence leadership, exiled in Belgium, Switzerland, and other countries, does not have some hidden agenda nor, as some Western lunacy suggests, Russian puppet strings. The Catalonian cause reminds one of the passage by the famous Catalonian poet Joan Salvat-Papassei: “the jailers of this world would not catch my shadow, if I were a thief and a bandit they would not know my flight.”