Many of us already warned, a few years ago, when the sovereignty process was just beginning, that the price that would be paid for not channeling the Catalan demands for national recognition and more political and financial power would be the degradation of democracy in Spain. The so-called “Catalangate”, uncovered by the NGO CitizenLab and which has had enormous international repercussions, is its latest expression. go beyond the limits set by the Constitution, particularly in the sphere of the State model.From this point of view, and on the merits of the matter, there are relevant questions that have to do with What means is the State willing to use to prevent the Catalan sovereignty demands from prospering? and what are the limits to social mobilization and citizen protest.

These are not minor discussions when today’s technology can become so intrusive. Is it justifiable that the CNI, under judicial protection and appealing to the defense of the territorial integrity of the State, spy on the mobile phones of the pro-independence elected officials? Can the fundamental civil rights and liberties of citizens in a liberal democracy be violated in the name of defending the territorial integrity of the State? All this is even more relevant if possible when we are talking about espionage practices after October 2017, when the independence movement had made the mistake of the DUI and the application of article 155 of the Constitution, the imprisonment and exile of the group leader had liquidated any real threat to the state, if it had ever existed. But this case also challenges us, once again, about the functioning of the State intelligence services. Shouldn’t the intelligence services be subject to the democratic control of the Congress of Deputies, especially when there are at stake the rights and freedoms of citizens? Is the current regulation of Commission on Official Secrets of Congress the appropriate instrument for this effective political control of the CNI? These are pending issues, which repeatedly break into the political debate, but have not had an adequate response over the years.

The so-called reason of State prevails. From this point of view, we confirm again that in the name of reason of State, many Spanish democrats forget the minimum democratic reasons that a State must preserve in order to order coexistence in plural and complex societies. All this is also the expression of the enormous weaknesses of Spain to address the Catalan question and the paranoia that in certain circles of the capital dominates Catalonia. And it is that when the lack of an idea about the assembly of Catalonia in the Spanish project dominates, the repressive and authoritarian option ends up imposing itself. This is nothing new either, and the fact is that, as we also said some time ago, the Catalan issue has also always been the issue of democracy in Spain. When democratic reason has prevailed in Spain, ways have been found to accommodate the majority demands of Catalan society.

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On the other hand, the political consequences of the espionage scandal involving democratically elected politicians, social activists, defense attorneys and journalists, among others, they are putting at stake the continuity of the legislature of Pedro Sánchez and the credibility of thawing process that the Madrid and Barcelona executives had initiated with the pardons, the dialogue table and the resumption of bilateral relations between the institutions. It makes no sense that the CNI, which has a dependency of the Spanish Government, spy on the parliamentary allies of this same government, when this same government is trying to redirect the political conflict between the Catalan institutions and the State. It is monumentally stupid.

All the explanations must be given in the parliamentary seat and someone needs to assume the corresponding political responsibilities for this nonsense. Spain is risking its democratic credibility, clearly weakened and affected by all the dynamics that have been open since October 2017. The Government of Pedro Sánchez, the political and social majority that since the 2018 motion of censure has allowed him to govern. And the path of dialogue and the will to agree on its solvency. If this very serious episode does not end well, only the extremes on one side and the other will win and only Spanish democracy will lose.


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