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.
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.
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.