July 17, 2024

Puigdemont before his return – a Catalan village awaiting the prodigal son – news

Puigdemont before his return – a Catalan village awaiting the prodigal son – news

Carles Puigdemont has been living in exile for nearly seven years. With the pardon, his return is imminent. A visit to his village.

He is the Leader of the movement that wants to separate Catalonia from Spain: Carles Puigdemont. In 2017, as regional president, he was responsible for the illegal independence referendum. Then, when the Spanish central government cracked down on everyone involved, Puigdemont fled justice and fled abroad.

But his return now must be imminent. The Spanish amnesty law has been in effect since mid-June, promising impunity for everyone who participated in organizing the referendum.

Stained poster

A larger-than-life symbol of the separatist movement hangs on the facade of a house above the village square in Amer. Carles Puigdemont grew up in this village in the province of Girona. However, his massive canvas is smeared with thick black brushstrokes. “They painted on it about two or three weeks ago. They came at night,” complains Jordi, who lives in the village.


The distorted image of Carles Puigdemont above the village square of Amer.

SRF photo/Pete Vogt

But he takes it calmly because it happens over and over again. Then they fix it again. Jordi suspects that people from out of town were behind the graffiti. “Because almost everyone here in the village supports independence.”

Pastry shop of the Puigdemont family

Amer became a symbol of separatism because of Carles Puigdemont. The Puigdemont family is known to everyone in the area, not only because of their famous son, but also because of their business. Pastisseria Puigdemont is very popular.

In the shop, a few meters from the village square, Puigdemont’s sister stands behind the counter. The family doesn’t talk about Carles publicly, she says in a friendly way, but you’re allowed to take pictures of the store.

Among the desserts at Patisserie Puigdemont there are political letters and the Catalan flag.


Politics in the pastry shop: A small display among the sweets supports Carles Puigdemont’s struggle for independence.

SRF photo/Pete Vogt

But abroad, people love to talk about Carles Puigdemont. For example, 63-year-old Mingo. He went to school with him, they were a year older than him, and together they were among the first independent activists in the village.

Neither left nor right, but independent

Otherwise, he will not agree with him politically. But when it comes to the issue of independence, Minju believes everyone should stick together. Puigdemont has always emphasized this. The Catalan Republic should not be left-wing or right-wing, but rather independent.

Independence activist Mingo stands in front of the poster and demands the politicians' immediate return from exile.


Standing in front of the poster demanding the immediate return of politicians from exile: Mingo, an independence activist from the beginning.

SRF photo/Pete Vogt

However, it remains unclear when Puigdemont will be able to campaign for his political goal on the site again. The new amnesty law aims to exempt the former regional president from legal prosecution. But the arrest warrant issued against him has not yet been lifted. Judges close to the opposition are trying to prove that Puigdemont committed crimes excluded from the amnesty.

Mingo says the Spanish judicial system is politicized. It becomes clearer: “Before the amnesty law came into effect, judges were already discussing how to circumvent it. “When it comes to justice, Spain is a corrupt country.”

Election poster by Carles Puigdemont in the provincial capital of Girona.


So far, Puigdemont has only returned to Catalonia on election posters. As is the case here in the provincial capital Girona.

SRF photo/Pete Vogt

Time is running out for Puigdemont

Open the box
Close the box

Carles Puigdemont announced his return to Catalonia weeks ago. He wants to be re-elected as president of the Catalonia region. The newly elected regional parliament must hold elections by the end of August. Puigdemont cannot run for elections unless he appears in person in the council hall in Barcelona. As long as there is an arrest warrant for him, he is allowed to remain abroad – and he is currently in France.

To be sure, delicate legal disputes could continue. Many in Amer are waiting for Puigdemont’s return. This also applies to Maria Teresa from Barcelona, ​​who has had a second home here for twenty years. “There will be a lot of people here and they will welcome him with open arms,” says the retiree.

They were gathering under his large picture, which would surely once again decorate the village square without any graffiti.

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