Photo by Yosh Ginsu on Unsplash

Originally published in Spanish. ‘¿Quién es Quim Torra, el próximo presidente de la Generalitat?’ Manel Manchón. Crónica Global.

10th May 2018

The man chosen by Puigdemont presided Omnium Cultural and brags about betting on secession no matter the consequences.

Quim Torra (Blanes, 1962) is the man chosen by Carles Puigdemont to preside the Generalitat [the Catalan regional government -TN], after a meeting in Berlin with PDeCAT leadership, and after discarding another man trusted by the former president, Josep Costa, vice-president of the regional parliament.

Torra, a commited secessionist since his youth, part of the former predient’s journalism circle, accepted Puigdemont invitation to join the Junts per Catalunya list for the 12/21 election. An editor, he worked for more than 20 years -2 of them in Switzerland- for an insurance multinational, he will be the next tenant at the Generalitat, although tightly connected to Puigdemont, for the time being.

His extreme secessionism has made him utter strongly controversial comments on occasion. “Shame is a word that Spaniards removed from their vocabulary years ago”, he stated. He has also taken on politicians from other national parties, such as the leader of Ciudadanos. “Hearing Albert Rivera talk about morality is like hearing Spaniards talk about democracy”, he declared.

“Under occupation since 1714”

As a founder of the A contra vent publishing house [“against the wind” -TN], Quim Torra has been one of Puigdemont most loyal aides. Among other quotes, this one stands out: “The only thing Spaniards know is plundering”. And others like “Poor souls (members of PSC), they speak Spanish like the Spaniards”, “we Catalans travel in private cars and we pay for everything, unlike the Spaniards”.

Quim Torra was a director of the Born Cultural Center, which in 2014 organized acts to celebrate the three-hundredth anniversary of 1714. “It is evident that we live under Spanish occupation since 1714”, he stated.

An assignment from Xavier Trias

That project, explained as a sort of historical recovery -through the secessionist own lens- created a grave schism among historians and also between the regional government, presided by Artur Mas, and the opposition.

It was an assignment from the then-mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias, who left in his hands the propaganda side of a series of acts that, in truth, were simply setting the stage for the referendum -later turned into a mere consultation- of November 9th in 2014. Terra had the collaboration of two other propagandists for the cause, journalists Toni Soler and Miquel Calzada, more popularly known as Mikimoto.

Making Republic

During the last few months, Torra has attempted to lead the secessionist discourse with two principles, broadening the secessionist support base, but at the same time making the language more clear. His idea, and the reason why Puigdemont chose him, is that the process needs to have some sort of practical expression, this is: “if we say we’re making the republic, we do it. And if we won’t, let’s not say it”.

But Torra has accepted Puigdemont’s plan, which still gives a starring role to the former president from Berlin. In different interviews, Quim Torra has stated that with leaders “in exile” the so-called sovereignty process becomes “international”.

A radical in the use of language, in the sense that what is said must be achieved, Torra will now form a cabinet that, unavoidably, will have to deal with day to day management, regardless of of the pressure that Puigdemont may try to exert from Berlin.