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The global struggle for democracy

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People hold the flags of Spain (left) and Catalonia (right) as they celebrate a holiday known as Dia de la Hispanidad.
Courtesy of Manu Fernandez from Associated Press

Catalonia is a small area in the North Eastern part of Spain that has been fighting for its independence since 1714. For this campaign to still be going on is despicable. Each region or state should have the option to secede from whatever nation they belong to, though in this case they are not allowed to, therefore these citizens are having a war waged against them by the government for their independence.

The people in Catalonia see themselves as Catalans, not Spaniards. This region is also highly industrialized and makes up about 20 percent of the national economy, but only holds about 16 percent of the population. Therefore, one could see why the Spanish government does not want them to secede, but this should not be the deciding factor.

Despite government crackdown, the referendum for independence was set forth for Oct. 1, 2017. However, before the referendum had even gone up for a vote, citizens were already having to stand their ground against the Spanish government. Thousands of police reinforcements were sent to prevent the use of public buildings, which would keep people from being able to vote. Public response was to camp out at places like schools so when they would arrive for voting, the school would not be closed and they would be able to vote on the referendum.

The day of the actual referendum over 840 people needed some sort of medical attention due to the violent clash between police and the people. The referendum was declared illegal by the Spanish courts and the government of Madrid, promising that no such thing would take place. Before the vote was even put into place, the government already resisted what the people wanted.

Instances similar to this have been seen in Turkey when they experienced a failed coup last year in 2016 when groups such as the Turkish Armed Forces felt their government was working with terrorist organizations. 300 people were killed and more than 2,000 were injured.

Additionally, venezuelans are still fighting for their lives due to food shortages that came about when the government decided they would control the prices of goods to make them more affordable, resulting in corporations withholding their products. The result has been a starving country with months of dreadful rioting against the government. As of June 12, there have been thousands arrested and at least 66 deaths relating to run-ins with the police, not including those who were killed by thieves and looters. According to a survey done by one of the nation’s top universities, it was found that on average people lost 9 kilograms, or about 20 pounds in weight due to the scarcity of food. Along with that, only 1 out of 10 homes can cover the cost of food to ensure their whole family eats. This is what happens when politicians implement bad policies and the economy backfires.

People within these countries should continue to revolt against these countries as to ensure their future because, for many, it is starting to look darker every day. Though the U.N. could step into these types of situations, it seems only more chaos would be created by this intervention. We must find a way to reprimand governments that choose to abuse the power endowed to them by the citizens who put them in power.

-Katelyn Moriarty is a political science sophomore

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