Catalonia: Events since October 1 and an Activist’s interpretation

Since Catalonia’s unofficial vote to break away from Spain on 1st of October 2017, the autonomous region has been a very hot topic all over the news and worldwide. Not only has this been the biggest political crisis in Spain in the last 40 years, but it also is a major challenge for the European Union. Years of ill-feeling concerning the level of autonomy the region had under the Spanish constitution led towards independence last autumn.

Then, on October 27, the regional parliament, where separatist MPs made up the majority, officially declared independence, no longer recognizing the Spanish constitution. Madrid’s response was to impose Article 155 of the Spanish constitution to dissolve the regional parliament and dismiss Carles Puigdemont and his entire cabinet.

On October 30 Carles Puigdemont went to Brussels with some of his collaborators to escape Spanish justice. Weeks of protests and mass demonstrations followed to “defend the republic”. Mariano Rajoy’s Deputy Prime Minister was appointed to run the region temporarily and new elections were called for December 21.

After being imprisoned, a few Catalan politicians and activists still remain in Spanish custody after a judge denied bail for the separatist leaders — including the erstwhile vice president of Catalonia, Oriol Junqueras, who was campaigning for the elections on December 21 from behind bars. Six other former Catalan ministers were freed on bail by the court.

The first time the Catalan parliament convened again was to elect a speaker of the house. Roger Torrent, from the leftwing Esquerra Republicana party, was chosen as a speaker on January 17. He called for an immediate end of Spanish rule over Catalonia and criticised the Spanish courts’ decision to keep three separatists in detention pending trial.

This morning, Friday March 23, a Spanish supreme court judge has charged 13 senior Catalan leaders, including the region’s deposed president and the candidate chosen to succeed him, with rebellion over their roles in last year’s unilateral referendum and the subsequent declaration of independence.

The charges, announced by Judge Pablo Llarena, carry a maximum sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment and were brought against both Carles Puigdemont, the former president in exile in Belgium, and Jordi Turul, who faces a vote on Saturday to take up the post. Llarena said that Catalan separatists had colluded for the past six years to execute a plan to declare Catalonia’s independence. The court did not give a date for the trial.

What else has been going on?
– Carles Puigdemont criticized the Spanish judge’s decision to charge him and 12 other Catalan separatists with rebellion
– A Spanish Supreme Court judge is requiring the 14 members of the former Catalan Cabinet to pay a collective deposit of 2.1 million euros before an upcoming trial establishes whether they misused public funds for an illegal independence referendum
– Llarena said that 25 Catalans will be tried for rebellion, embezzlement or disobedience
– Also charged with rebellion are Catalan Vice President Oriol Junqueras, former Catalan parliament speaker Carme Forcadell, separatist activists Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart and ERC party leader Marta Rovira, who on Friday announced that she was fleeing Spain
– Catalonia has been without a leader for nearly five months after central authorities took control following the illegal independence declaration

We have interviewed Jordi Vilanova, Translator, Social Media Manager, Radio Producer & Host in Catalunya, regarding the current trends in Catalonia and posed the following questions:

Will there be new elections for a regional president with new candidates and how long do you think Catalonia will be without a leader?
According to parliamentary rules, as the session to appoint the President had been adjourned by the Speaker (the presiding officer) Roger Torrent, the process was frozen, until yesterday. Now, if the candidate Jordi Turull is imprisoned (pending trial) he cannot attend the session tomorrow so he cannot be appointed. In theory. So, if no other candidate is found, i.e. one who will be voted by a majority of members, no government can be formed. This can go on for exactly two months from today. Then, parliament is dissolved and elections are called by the current President. Not Puigdemont, who was deposed by the Spanish government, but by the acting President, Rajoy, 54 days later. So, Sunday 15 July.

Do you think Catalans are losing faith in becoming independent?
Yes. Numbers are declining, according to surveys. But then, the survey was saying the same before the last elections, and more people voted pro-independence candidates than ever!

What has actually changed in the end, apart from politicians in jail and chaos? Will the whole issue just start back from square zero as soon as a leader is chosen?
The issue will not simply go away. The Catalans will want to form a government now as soon as possible, but the far-left radical pro-Independence CUP, who refused to vote for Jordi Turull, will continue to pressure to declare the Republic. The other Independence parties will want to re-establish a ‘home-rule’ (British term for ‘autonomous’) government. They will however not give up and will continue planning for the establishment of a Catalan Republic.

Do you think there can be some sort of compromise?
The Spanish don’t seem to understand the concept of ‘compromise’ when the Nation is concerned. They are extremely nationalist in this sense.

Therefore, it remains exciting to wait and see what will happen next. While some Catalans might have lost the motivation to fight for independence, others believe in it more than ever, although Madrid is very eager to undermine their power. Stay up to date with Barcelona City FM!

Laura Kabelka
[email protected]

Spread the love

Exploring The Exotic World Of Supercar Rental And Experiences With David Jane (Drive Me Group)


David Jane gives us the low down on the exciting world of supercar rental and driving experiences right here in Barcelona. Formed in 2015,  Drive Me Group now offers a range of services designed to help almost anyone try the supercar lifestyle. From its short driving experiences to full membership of its supercar club Drive Me Group also offers the raw and visceral challenge of taking on the race track.


Spread the love

How to secure your data on Facebook

The scandal about Facebook and their misuse of personal data of about 50 million Americans means a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with it. Mark Zuckerberg finally broke his silence yesterday, saying that he is sorry for what happened and that he does not oppose stricter regulations.

While it is becoming popular to delete Facebook accounts (#DeleteFacebook), you might want to take the following advise on how to secure your data on Facebook into account:

(There are in fact settings to control who knows what about you, but these are not easy to find and it will take some time. )

Apps: Over the years, you have probably given various apps the permission to get all your data from Facebook. In doing so, you grant developers deep insights into your profile. So time to clean out who you want to creep on your Facebook account.

Ads: Turn off Ads based on my use of websites and apps, because they will haunt you forever. Also say no to Ads on apps and websites off the Facebook companies. And if you want to know what Facebook thinks you are interested in, click on Your Interests. You can clear out any that bother you by clicking the X in the upper-righthand corner.

Remember that none of this will in any way change the number of ads you see on Facebook or around the web. For that, you’ll need an ad blocker.

Friends: Quite possibly, you do not have 1,000 friends. But Facebook says you do, right? So who are all these people? Why are they liking your picture with your new pair of trainers? Or why aren’t they?

To get a handle on who can see which of your posts, head to Settings then Privacy. Start with Who can see my posts, then click on Who can see my future posts to manage your defaults. You’ve got options! You can go full-on public and share with the world, or limit your circle by geography, employers, schools, groups, you name it. Whatever you pick will be your default from here on out. Whatever you pick, immediately go to Limit the audience for posts you’ve shared with friends of friends or public? to make that choice retroactive

Here are some further ways to secure your Facebook account. Should you decide to pull the plug altogether, remember that Facebook owns Instagram too!

Laura Kabelka
[email protected]

Spread the love

The Cambridge-Analytica Affair and Mark Zuckerberg

The whole world is reporting on the scandal of data breaches, only the founder of Facebook remains silent. Five days have passed since the release of the data breach by Cambridge Analytica and it was announced that this is about 50 million Facebook profiles. The world is now waiting for a statement from Mark Zuckerberg. Only yesterday, the company announced that he is dealing with it around the clock and therefore had no time to comment yet.

Both companies are under enormous pressure. The CEO of Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix, was suspended yesterday and at the same time, the Facebook stock has fallen by almost seven percent. Everyone is waiting for Zuckerberg, but the last public post of the otherwise active manager shows him and his wife Priscilla baking on March 2.

On Monday, US Senator Ron Wyden sent a detailed list of questions on the case to Zuckerberg, which he should answer by April 13. Two members of the Judiciary Committee of the United States Senate called for a hearing with the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter and Google.

The hashtag #DeleteFacebook, which gained popularity in 2015 is now being used again and also #WheresZuck is becoming popular.

What happened?
The privacy of 50 million Facebook users has allegedly been violated and their personal data, used without their consent for the election campaign of Donald Trump. This happened two years ago, but those affected have not yet been informed and possibly have not even been identified by Facebook.

The scandal, whose complete repercussions are not yet known, has opened an immense crisis of confidence. Washington, London and Brussels have demanded explanations. Cambridge Analytica is shifting more and more into focus: A company that was considered the great prodigy of electoral alchemy for years and now, after an investigation by The New York Times and The Observer, threatens to disintegrate everyone involved. A time bomb that is equally capable of blackmailing politicians and fiddling with the demons of the Russian plot and its great protagonists. From the fallen National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, to Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and presidential son-in-law, Jared Kushner. 

Spread the love

Mobile App Developer Spira Dreams Drops By To Reveal Whats New In Mobile Software Development.

Forward thinking and at the cutting edge of their expertise, Spira Dreams offers its clients a comprehensive service to bring their mobile app ideas to fruition.

Their mission statement is to maintain the highest levels of quality without losing sight of the simplicity and functionality of the end product.

The three main members of the Spira Dreams team joined us today to explain more about how they work and tell us a little about themselves too.

Spread the love

Country Star Jacob Bryant Joins Going Deep on Monday

Jacob Bryant’s music video for his powerful single “Pour Whiskey on My Grave” has garnered attention wide and far, the video now has over 5 million views.  The Jasper, Georgia native has shared the stage with Craig Morgan, Eli Young Band, Luke Combs, Easton Corbin, Gene Watson, David Allan Coe and others.  Mr. Bryant is quickly becoming one of the hottest names in Country Music, we will discuss his rise to fame, coping with his inner demons and growing up in the North Georgia Mountains.  On Monday at 3:45pm he will go live with Billy Harfosh on Barcelona City FM 107.3.   To learn more visit: Jacob’s Website

Spread the love

One third of Spanish pensioners charge below the poverty line

About 3.1 million pensioners, which is an equivalent of 32.6% of all retirees, charge less than 8,200€ per year, therefore earning below the poverty threshold. This data is derived from a report by the Technicians of the Ministry of Finance (Gestha).

The need to increase minimum pensions is highly urgent for Gestha. The revaluation of the pensions is contingent upon the Government’s approval of the General State Budgets for 2018.

Canarias, Galicia and Murcia, with a percentage close to 40%, are the communities in which there is a greater proportion of pensioners who receive pensions below the poverty line. At the other extreme are Madrid and Aragón, with percentages close to 26%, and Asturias (23.8%). The region Catalonia, with 521,763 (30%) also has a great number of pensioners receiving below the poverty line.

According to Gestha, there is also a huge gender gap: 60,4% of pensioners receiving below the poverty line are female, an equivalent of 1,9 women. Women over 65 receive a pension almost 49% lower than men of that age group. Specifically, this gap is 5,770 euros.

Spread the love

Quality International Insurance and Service From Ibex

Started by three friends living in Spain in 2000, Ibex Insurance now has 12 retail offices throughout the country. In this interview Paul Hopper explains why many people can misunderstand the workings of consumer insurance and the benefits of their international and personal service.

Ibex plans to further increase access to their portfolio of insurance services in the Barcelona and Catalonia region.

For more information or if you are interested in becoming a local agent for Ibex, you can contact Paul Hopper directly on 0034 628 725 629





Spread the love

Venezuela ranks unhappiest place on the continent

Venezuela,  a country entangled in a deep economic and political crisis, ranks as the most unhappy country in Latin America. On the other hand, Costa Rica is placed as the happiest on the continent, followed by Mexico, Chile, Panama, Brazil and Argentina.

When looking at the happiest countries worldwide, Finland ranks first, according to The World Happiness Report, which was released by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations on March 14. Finland is followed by last year’s winner Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland.

For this report, countries are ranked by six key variables supporting their well-being: income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support and generosity. Interestingly, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway and Finland have been placed in first place since the first report in April 2012. Finland also shows to have the happiest immigrants, another focus of the study.

The report reveals that 25% of respondents in Latin America would be willing to emigrate to another country. The nations with the highest proportion of potential emigrants were Honduras (47%), El Salvador (42%) and Peru (33%).

Spain is ranked 36th in the general ranking.

Laura Kabelka
[email protected]


Spread the love

Uber is back in Barcelona… But not as we know it!

Back In Town

For three years Barcelona has been one of the very few major cities in Europe where you can’t simply ‘call an Uber’. This was caused by a suspension of the Uber in 2014, which forced the unlicensed out of Spain.

However, Uber has now returned to Barcelona with new, upgraded system. News agency Reuters quotes Uber General Manager for Southwest Europe Carles Lloret: “We are changing the way we do business, putting integrity at the core of every decision we make and working hard to earn the trust of the cities in which we operate. Barcelona is no exception.”

Hoy tenemos algo que contaros: #HolaBarcelona

A post shared by Uber España (@uber_es) on


So what’s new? 

The new Uber system UberX will replace previously used UberPop. According to UberBlog „all the drivers on the Uber app will own a professional driving license B121 […]. This change will allow uberPOP drivers to become professional drivers and use the Uber app as a source of revenues”

Citizens of Barcelona will be, therefore, able to use Uber again, this time without the risk of unverified, inexperienced or simply unlicensed drivers. The question that remains is, how will other taxi services in Barcelona react to this change.


Spread the love