The president of Esquerra Republicana writes a letter from jail, as a political prisoner, to party members at the very beginning of the campaign, in which he encourages pro-independence activists to give their all to win the Spanish elections for the first time
We are at the gates of a fresh election campaign. Elections that I will face anew, like my colleagues and my dear Marta Rovira, from a distance, without having the opportunity of doing one of the things that I like best, that is to address you directly at the hustings and in the street. We will live through it again from Madrid, far from all of you and our families, in what is yet another attempt at silencing us. I do not say this with resent, but with longing and with the peace of knowing that you will work hard once more during the coming 15 days. Given this [Spanish] state and this situation, there is no room for excuses, only victory.
I am so very proud of presiding this historic party, of having taken up the relay from all those who came before, those who gave their all for Catalonia, for democracy and for freedom. And I feel that not only have I done nothing that I should regret, but I feel legitimately proud of what I have done, because being loyal to the citizens’ mandate is our duty as public representatives and the essence of any democrat. And have no doubt, I would do it again.
If jail is the price for defending democracy and freedom, I am ready to pay that price, but we will not cease nor will we give up any of our convictions, however much repression is imposed upon us. We are well on our way, as we have said so many times, we have come further than ever, but we are not yet where we want to be and we have the opportunity of defeating repression, injustice and cowardice in our hands once again. For the first time, we can make independentism win in the Spanish elections in Catalonia. Let us not squander the ballot, nor the messages we can send with our votes. Let us work, hear, convince, and colour the map of Catalonia yellow.
You can be sure that the future of Catalonia will only be resolved by voting, and we will make it happen
I have spent all my life working for the freedom of my country. First from civil society organisations like the Plataforma pel Dret a Decidir —the Platform for the Right to Decide— collaborating in the exercise of the people’s consultations that were carried out throughout the country, or in every corner of Catalonia as a historian; Then from the heart of Europe as an MEP, working with our colleagues Raül Romeva and Ramon Tremosa. Also as the mayor of Sant Vicenç dels Horts, but especially from Parliament and the Government of the Generalitat, where we set independence at the core and the referendum as the best tool to decide on the future of the country.
I shall never ever desist. We were told that it was impossible for independentism to ever win elections, and we did. We were told that we could not close the Modelo prison or that we could not square the accounts of the Generalitat and carry out social policies at the same time, and we did. We were told that it was impossible to hold the referendum on October 1st, and we did. And now they tell us that we can never be independent, but we will. Have no doubt.
I do not believe there is anyone more for independence than me and the party I have the honour of presiding, though there are those who are as resolute as we are, but not more. And at the same time I tell you that there is no one who is more for dialogue than Esquerra Republicana. And that is the way forward today, to maintain absolute resolution in our convictions and our aim at our goal of becoming a Catalan Republic in order to continue advancing, along with holding out our hands and talking. We have always done so. The problem is that we have often found ourselves at a table, and there has not been anyone facing us. Or even, as the last time, when our interlocutor got up and left, in fear.
We are not afraid of defending the independence of Catalonia, the right to self-determination and, at the same time, the need to sit at the table to find a political solution. Many world leaders have shown us that we must talk, even with those who have locked us up in prison.
For the first time, we can make independentism win in the Spanish elections in Catalonia. Let us not squander the ballot
For days I heard just one question, time and time again, everyone wants to know what will happen the day after the elections. It is difficult to answer this question, first because we do not know what the election outcome will be and the correlation of forces that will result at the Congreso, but especially because it was not we who left the negotiating table. The question will have to be answered by Pedro Sánchez. What will he do? Will he want to work for a solution, or will he want to continue imprisoning ideas and democracy?
In any case, no one should make the mistake of setting red lines that, when the moment of truth comes, will become a blank check for a far-right-wing tripartite government. Nor can blank checks be given to the PSOE, as they would act as red lines for true democracy in Catalonia, which everyone knows will inevitably mean a referendum.
You can be sure that the future of Catalonia will only be resolved by voting, and we will make it happen. We have right on our side and we will gain the democratic muscle. We are ready to win.