Former Greek finance minister Varoufakis on Catalonia, Muslim ban and a sustainable world order


Carles Puigdemont PHOTO/Wikipedia

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. Thousands protested in Catalonia Thursday, after eight regional ministers were jailed and accused of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds, as the constitutional crisis in Spain continues. The ministers had already been fired by Spain’s central government over Catalonia’s independence referendum. They now face up to 50 years in prison. This is Maria Carrera at a protest in Barcelona.

MARIA CARRERA: [translated] This is shameful, because they have committed a coup d’état. They are Francists and Nazis. I want to go to the prison, where our comrades are being held.

JAUME SOLANA: [translated] It is unjust because there is no democracy like this. It is unjust because many politicians that have stolen are free, and today they are in prison, and that is unjust.

AMY GOODMAN: Spanish prosecutors are also seeking a European arrest warrant for Catalonia’s leader, Carles Puigdemont, who is in exile in Belgium right now, along with other members of the Catalan government. This is Carles Puigdemont.

CARLES PUIGDEMONT: [translated] The Spanish government decision to imprison the vice president and the Cabinet members of the legitimate government of Catalonia, elected in the polls of September 27, is a very grave mistake. It is a grave attack on democracy. Imprisoning political leaders with ample citizen support is an act that violates the basic principle of democracy.

AMY GOODMAN: In late October, in just the last few weeks, Spain’s government seized control of Catalonia using Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, which had never been used before in modern Spain’s democratic history. The move stripped the northeastern region of its autonomy in efforts to crush Catalonia’s growing independence movement.

To talk about this and a number of other issues, we are joined by Yanis Varoufakis. He is the former finance minister of Greece. He has written a book called Adults in the Room: My Battle with the European and American Deep Establishment. He served as finance minister in Greece in 2015, before resigning from the Syriza government, just as he was negotiating with the European Union and the IMF, a famous image as he was going off on his motorcycle, and launched the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025, known as DiEM25.

It’s great to continue to have you with us, Yanis Varoufakis. Talk about what’s happening in Catalonia.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: The history of the Catalan independence movement is too long to enter into now. But also it doesn’t really matter, because what we now have is new facts on the ground, caused by the violence by the Madrid government during the independence referendum that the Madrid government did not sanction. Now, there is a debate in Spain about the legality of that referendum, whether it was binding or not. But the moment you have these scenes of Guardia Civil, central government police, beating up peaceful voters in polling stations, injuring 900 of them, those facts on the ground changed the scenery completely. Now the impasse is getting worse. We have competing nationalism clashing.

Democracy Now for more

Comments are closed.