IT is difficult to sum up, in a few words, the history of a nation that became stateless in the 18th century and that has been systematically repressed by a state that, since then, has been trying to de-nationalise it.

I propose to do so, using the biographical data of Catalan presidents, from the restoration of an autonomous government in 1931 to the present day.

Of the last nine presidents, five have spent long periods in exile, two have been imprisoned for their democratic ideas, eight have been subjected to administrative repression and one – after being handed over by the Gestapo to Franco – was shot in occupied France (regarding which the state has always resisted apologising or annulling a judicial process plagued with irregularities). Only one, José Montilla (2006-2010), who acted in accordance with Madrid’s instructions, has remained unscathed ... for the moment.

The treatment of these presidents represents the systematic repression of 7.5 million Catalans, simply for being Catalan. Spain has not changed so much since the time of the Duke of Alba.

Xavier Diez Rodríguez