To the editor:
Re “Catalonia’s Challenge to Spain” (editorial, June 23)
I cannot help myself from being shocked by the lack of objectivity demonstrated in your newspaper, and the flagrant omission of facts that skews the reality of the situation.
You state that “Catalonia contributes nearly a fifth of Spain’s gross domestic product, yet the region receives just 9.5 percent of Spain’s national budget.” This is both simply wrong and one of the key tenets of the discourse in favor of independence that politicians like Oriol Junqueras, Catalonia’s vice-president and minister of finance, have created. It is in flagrant contradiction with the official reports published by the department he now leads. The reality is that Catalonia pays in taxes (19 percent) what it contributes to G.D.P. (19 percent) and receives an amount (15.08 percent) close to its share of the population (16 percent). This fiscal balance has been considered fair by politicians of all political parties.
What strikes me the most is that you do not mention that the Spanish government is legally bound by its constitutional doctrine to prohibit a referendum of independence. Such a referendum on secession in Catalonia that you endorse goes squarely against Article 1 of the Spanish Constitution: “National sovereignty belongs to the Spanish people.” Sovereignty pertains to all Spaniards and it is the whole of the nation that has the “right to decide.”
Such provisions appear in every written constitution in the world, with the exceptions of St. Kitts and Nevis, and Ethiopia. In the 2006 case of Kohlhaas v. State, the Supreme Court of Alaska ruled: “Secession is clearly unconstitutional and therefore an improper subject for the ballot initiative.” Courts in Italy and Germany have come to similar conclusions.
As ambassador to Spain, I must articulate my government’s stance, and the facts that I feel have been omitted.
Pedro Morenés. WASHINGTON.
The writer is Spain’s ambassador to the United States.