I am sure you will have read in the press what is going on here in Catalunya. On Tuesday evening at my Meetup group, we watched Carles Puigdemont declare independence rather half-heartedly and then withdraw it pending talks. Some hope of that. All parties that are offerig to mediate insist on talks being within the law.
Then two days ago Mariano Rajoy stood up and gave Puigdemont a deadline to say whether he had declared independence or not. We are now inside that watiing period and I am going to Ukraine yet again. For some reason I have made this my second home, I don´t even speak the language. I am writing this at Gate E at Barcelona, a place that I know well. And I am fascinated to see Emirates to Dubai leaving at 3.30 and Avianca to Bogotá an hour after that. Another month and I will be on the Dubai flight going to Bangkok and Manila. And last November I was on the Avianca flight to Bogotá. Today I am going to Kiev and then taking a connecting flight to Kharkiv where my friend Marina will meet and greet me.
I am glad to be escaping the turmoil in Catalunya. I will read about it online of course but I will be able to feel remote from it.
My feeling is that the independistas are on the back foot despite their making huge capital about the police violence. Puigdemont is now under enormous pressure, not only from Madrid where the National Day of Spain was celebrated yesterday but also from the more fanatical parts of his coalition, namely the CUP who want him to declare independence unilaterally.... and now!
I don´t really know why he is taking the 5 day deadline right up to the line. To confirm one way or the other now would be to show that he is sure about what he is doing.
Madrid has made it clear that they will activate Article 155 if Puigdemont insists on declaring independence. Article 155 is direct rule of Catalunya from Madrid.
To add to the pressure on Puidgemont to back down, but risk the wrath of the CU, almost every country leader speaking out is telling him to comply with the law.
A few days ago, an article appeared in The Times written by John Carlin, described as an essay. Then at the bottom, it said, "John Carlin writes for El País". The article, like many in The Times was critical of all the things that El País holds in esteem, the unity of Spain, the King. I imagined that maybe he just wrote for them from time to time because the article would never appear there. I wrote highly critical comments. Yesterday it was clear that he was on the staff of El País but no longer. They took great exception to what he wrote and fired him. I read that news on the train coming from Girona this morning.
The flight will be called soon, it is listed as running 15 minutes late but that will still leave me time to make my connection in Kiev but I have to go through immigration and security again at Domestic Departures. Security here was excellent. They have scanners for reading the boarding passes and there is a huge area to prepare for the baggage scanners. Sometimes that can be rather a pressured experience because, apart from having to remember all the metial biits like watch and belt, all computers have to be extracted and placed in the trays separately.At Barcelona, this was a breeze, there was so much space and time in which to do it. I tried to check my case all the way through to Kharkiv but I always buy two separate tickets because on the return, I have to. Well, I can but it meanns getting up very early and I prefer to take it easy in Hotel Ligena in Boryspil.
The check-in counter would not let me do it, so I have the case with me here. I have to board now!