In English Voices From Spain

Estat Català: the sewer

Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

Originally published in Spanish. ´Estat català: la alcantarilla´. Xavier Vidal-Folch. El País. 

14th May 2018

The candidate to become Catalan president, Quim Torra, is an admirer of the leaders of Estat Català and he attends their homages: the Badia brothers are “the best examples of independentism”, he said in 2011. In 2014 he extolled Daniel Cardona as one of the “pioneers of independence”.

Miquel Badia i Cappell, “captain balls”, was fond of violence. He tried to kill King Alfonso XIII in 1925 in el Garraf. In 1931 he organized the escamots (green-uniformed militias), “fascists” and “nazi apprentices”, of Estat Català, for the “violent struggle” against his rivals (Joan B. Culla). Those were “action squadrons of pure fascist essence” (Arnau González Vilalta).

As public order commissar from 1934, he “personally interrogated detainees with beatings, threats or forced confinement” (Eduard Puigventós). In the summer of that year, he arrested the prosecutor of the Barcelona high court without warrant. President Companys dismissed him but later reinstated him.

During the October 6th revolt he remained still while Companys was arrested and jailed. He fled terrified through the Palau sewer, to exile. Along with his counselor and political chief, Josep Dencàs, that had just declared to Italian diplomat Alessandro Masseroni “his enthusiastic admiration for the ethics of fascism, whose essential principles he hopes to be able to apply some day in Catalonia” (Arnau González).

There were other shining leaders, like Manuel Blasi (belonging just like Cardona, to the group Nosaltres Sols, Sinn Féin), who orchestrated a complot in late 1936 against Company’s replacement. They traveled to Berlin and Brussels to visit war criminal Alfred Rosenberg (hanged in Nuremberg) and other nazi big shots (Eric Ucelay) and agreed to hold “training exercises”.

Estat Català was “secretly financed by trafficking anti-republican refugees” (Ucelay): they fleeced them but they killed anyone who stole part of the spoils. Cardona was interrogated in Aragón about contacts with the Auslands Organisation, NSDAP, the foreign branch of the German National Socialist Party.

And Dencàs went to Italy to request the Duce’s support for “a Catalan (fascist?) state”, according to a diplomatic wire in Roma.

(The names between parentheses correspond to the historians who have studied this book of saints)

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