#Catalexit: Rohrabacher Calls for Catalonia to Secede from Spain

Catalan Independence (Josep Lago / AFP / Getty)
Josep Lago / AFP / Getty

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats, declared last week that he supports the secession of Catalonia from Spain.

According to Politico, the news was first reported in Spanish newspaper El País, which described the California congressman as “the best friend of Catalonia’s Independence in the U.S.”

Catalonia is an autonomous region in the northeast region of Spain that has been trying to for years to achieve independence.

The U.S. Embassy in Madrid issued a statement in response to Rohrabacher’s remarks to calm any fear of intervention  into Spain’s politics: “From the promotion of mutual economic growth to the fight against ISIL and the prevention of violent extremism, Spain is a vital ally, partner and friend of the United States. We want to reiterate that, as we have said on previous occasions, the position of the United States government over Catalonia is that it is an internal matter of Spain. We are deeply committed to maintaining the relationship with a strong and united Spain.”

Politico notes that Rohrabacher’s “position contradicts official U.S. government policy. Washington has steadfastly maintained it will not get involved in the independence movement roiling the political landscape in Spain, a key European ally.”

Spain’s central government stands firmly opposed to Catalan independence and some Spanish officials have even called the move illegal and unconstitutional. In 2015, Spain’s King Felipe warned the region to respect the law and issued a warning in Barcelona, saying, “Abiding by the law is the source of legitimacy and the essential requirement for a peaceful and free democratic coexistence.”

Politico notes that in 2015, Rohrabacher likened Catalonia’s quest for independence to that of the American colonies in the Revolutionary War.

Thousands have taken to the streets of Spain and Catalonia to rally both in favor of and against Catalonian independence from Spain.

A poll in El País last year suggested that 47.7% of Catalans are in favor of seeing an independent Catalonia compared with 42.4% who were against it. Another 8.3% were undecided.

El País reported that Catalonia’s Vice President Oriol Junqueras i Vies said Spain’s constitutional court could not prevent the vote. According to the publication, a date for the referendum on the Catalan independence vote will be announced in June.

California is also in the process of working towards a vote that could wind up separating California from the United States. The movement is known as #CalExit.

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