By OLIVIA MINGUELA, age 11
For 300 years Catalonia has enjoyed its own separate language, culture and traditions from Spain. Now, many Catalans think it is time for a change. On November 9, 2014, Catalonia took a non-binding referendum (a direct vote on an issue), which was against the Spanish constitution, to become independent from Spain. More than 80 percent of voters said they wanted Catalonia to be an independent country.
Since Catalonia is one of the wealthiest regions in Spain, some Catalans believe that their payments to the central government help other regions more, but they are not getting anything in return. Even though Catalans pay $21 billion a year in taxes, they still see healthcare and education cuts. Now, with the economic crisis in Spain, Catalans would rather tax themselves and decide how much to give the Spanish government, so some Catalans say they would rather be independent.
Indykids interviewed Maite Pérez and Pol Masdeu, both from Catalonia, in order to get their opinion about the election. Pérez, who didn’t vote, fears troubling times, saying, “The Spanish companies in Catalonia would go to Spain to have a wider market and a lot of people would lose their jobs.” Masdeu has a more positive opinion on the vote. He believes “Catalans will have more power to decide what happens around them in a political, social, cultural and economical way.”
Although the people believed they had the right to vote, Spain does not want to lose one of its wealthiest regions and filed charges for disobeying a court order and allowing an illegal vote. In the next months, Catalan parties will hold parliamentary elections in which independence will be an important topic.