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SPAIN: Catalan autonomy

Hank Levin of Columbia University calls our attention to a proposal for Catalan autonomy. He says: "Part of this is that all residents need to speak Catalan. Pilar [Hank's wife] and I are now searching for a class in Catalan to at least speak socially in that language". RH: This is an old story. The proposal would eliminate most non-Catalan government and possibly other employees, who protested loudly in the past. I have not seen the latest proposal, which is related to a plan to proclaim independence of Catalonia in association with Spain. There is a similar proposal for the Basque provinces. The Madrid government opposes both proposals, simply saying that it wants to preserve the present constitution. My feeling is that the proposals would cause trouble, anything ranging from an exodus of Spanish-speakers from the two regions to a renewal of civil war. Neither prospect is encouraging.

Ronald Hilton - 3/29/03