|Border delays are part of the new cold war over Gibraltar, and Catalan nationalists are siding with London.|
|The Esquerra Republicana leader, Oriol Junqueras i Vies,|
drapes himself in the E.U. and Catalan flags.
(Union Jack not pictured.)
Ongoing territorial claims on Gibraltar are popular in Spain, despite the fact that they violate the Treaty of Utrecht and despite the fact that in two referenda, in 1967 and 2002, Gibraltarians voted nearly unanimously (98.6% and 98.97%, respectively) to remain British. And of the minuscule number of dissenters, most were opting only for some sort of shared condominium with Spain, not annexation. But Spain’s political mainstream and even the royal family are adamant. Queen Sofía even gave Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee a miss last year in anger over Gibraltar (as reported at the time in this blog).
|Pope Francis would like to dislodge Protestant infidels from Argentina’s near abroad.|
Catalonia’s ruling nationalist party, the Convergence and Union (Convergència i Unió, or CiU) coalition, is also wisely staying out of the Gibraltar dispute while it heats up. The E.R.C., keep in mind, is a far-left party. It has only 21 of the Catalan parliament’s 135 seats. It is also the one Catalan nationalist party which pushes for reunification with traditionally Catalan lands that lie within France (the so-called Northern Catalonia, in the Pyrenées-Orientales département).
|The Catalan-speaking areas (shown in grey) extend into France.|
|Catalans also involved themselves in the first Anglo-Spanish tussle over the Rock, in 1704.|
|Relations between England and Catalonia have not always been warm,|
but they may be improving.
[Also, for those who are wondering, yes, this blog is tied in with a forthcoming book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas to be published by Auslander and Fox under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements, Independence Struggles, Breakaway Republics, Rebel Provinces, Pseudostates, Puppet States, Tribal Fiefdoms, Micronations, and Do-It-Yourself Countries, from Chiapas to Chechnya and Tibet to Texas. Look for it some time in 2013. I will be keeping readers posted of further publication news.]