Seven doors and two long corridors later, Oriol Junqueras (Barcelona, 50 years old) appears in a black shirt and jeans. He greets behind the double pane of the communications room of the Lledoners prison and starts with a hard, stiff, impenetrable speech. Dark beginnings, clear endings: throughout the interview you will leave threads where to throw. Almost all of them end up in the same place, the negotiating table agreed between ERC and the PSOE, on which the budgets and, therefore, the legislature depend. The classics said that in politics the difficulty is not in saying, but in not saying: Junqueras does not say that he will support public accounts, but affirms that if the table is on the right track everything will go; It does not guarantee the support of ERC to exhaust the legislature, but it maintains that trust is earned on a daily basis and for that reason it is referred again to the aforementioned table. The classics also said that politics consists of civilizing the emotional and preventing the instrumentalization of passions, but Junqueras prefers the romantic: “We will do it again.”
Question. Would you do it again?
Reply. Yes. From the strictest democratic principles, what we did in autumn 2017 was well done. In a normal country there would have been no problem. But Spain cannot be a normal country if those who are going to vote are beaten, innocent people are imprisoned, governments are dismissed and parliaments are closed for putting up the polls.
P. Is that the lesson you get from the last two and a half years?
R. The lesson is that we did it to be able to do it again.
P. That 27-O of the unilateral declaration of independence was seen with a face of concern, or of fright, or both. Really that day did not occur to him that he would end up in jail?
R. We knew that the state apparatus could not withstand that democratic challenge, but I repeat: it was the way to earn the right to try again.
P. Puigdemont fled, won the European elections and is already MEP; You are in jail. Don’t you feel that you have won the legal and political hand?
R. I was always willing to go to jail for the rights of my country. In my family there have already been accused of rebellion; Spaniards should ask what happens if generations go by and this continues, with a judicial system and a state apparatus of marked Francoist tics.
P. The current Government, with a party that sympathizes with some of the demands of independence and the other agreeing a table with ERC, does not dismantle that account of the oppressing State heir to Francoism?
R. No. The State strives daily to demonstrate that it is worthy heir to the dictatorship.
R. The prosecution launches false accusations and nothing happens. The Ministry of Interior invents false evidence and nothing happens. Justice condemns innocents and nothing happens.
P. If so, why does ERC allow investiture?
R. Because the alternative, a PP and Vox government, was much worse. We abstained as any European democrat would have done. That said, the parties we have negotiated with continue to show amazing doses of inhumanity: they know we are innocent and keep quiet. Catalan socialists have applauded the prison of innocents.
P. That is not what the Supreme Court says.
R. The Supreme is not right at all. It will be a pleasure to meet the Catalan socialists when I leave here and see if they hold our eyes.
P. Is the Supreme right when he points out that you were bluffing?
R. I repeat myself: the Supreme is not right at all.
P. What do you expect from the dialogue table? Would ERC accept to vote on a new Statute that collects part of its claims?
R. Esquerra has always talked: we did it even with the PP, we do it even in prison.
P. But do you think Pedro Sánchez has enough strength to yield to where you intend?
R. I don’t know if 120 deputies are enough, but I defend the dialogue from prison. Does Sánchez have less strength than me in here?
P. No answer: would a Statute be sufficient with part of its requirements?
R. That conditional is a way of misleading: conditionals are suggestive when literature, theater, poetry is done, but not when politics is done. In politics they are distracting maneuvers.
P. Are you worried about Vox?
R. I am not afraid of Vox. The governance of Spain at this time is quite strategic for ERC: I am convinced that if we and the PSOE do things right, the extreme right will have little space.
P. A deputy from her party said that the governance of Spain does not give a damn. Does that help? Do you share it?
R. And so much! Put yourself in the shoes of a person who has his sister in jail: anything will give a damn.
P. Does the agreement with the PSOE go beyond the dialogue table? Are they going to support the Budgets?
R. Let’s sit down, see if it is possible to reach agreements.
P. That is a yes?
R. Budget support is conditional on advances in the dialogue table. Let’s go step by step. You cannot ask Quique Setién the alignment he will put in seven games.
P. What is the lowest common denominator to pave the way for the legislature?
R. The PSOE only dialogues when circumstances demand it. Pedro Sánchez has not felt the need to do so for months and even had an attitude against it, so he has to show that he really wants to dialogue and that he is willing to give in. Our position will depend on the attitudes we see and so far nothing has changed.
P. Have you not detected any signal that allows you to be optimistic?
R. None. Nothing.
P. And the time has not come to change the independence-non-independence axis for the left-right axis?
R. ERC has been approving social measures for a long time. We have won the last two elections as well.
P. Do you see upcoming elections in Catalonia? Does the era of convergent hegemony come to an end?
R. We have demonstrated what we do in our areas of Government, and we aspire to enlarge our support base. From there, may the best man win.
P. Do you see social polarization in Catalonia?
R. It is very difficult that there is no polarization when there are innocents in prison. And it is I who most call for dialogue, from jail.
P. In April he said he would support the Budgets and did not. Is ERC reliable?
R. The PSOE did not want to negotiate the Budgets. Sanchez chose to go to elections. Attributing to ERC that responsibility is imprecise
P. Talk again and again about dialogue: there can be no cessation. What assignments will ERC make?
R. If I confess what assignments we will make, I lose negotiating capacity. But the goal was and is independence. And it will fall by its own weight: you just have to work to convince more people.
P. They declared independence with less than 50% of the votes: Isn’t that running over the other 50%?
R. Thanks to what we did we have earned the right to repeat it.
P. But you don’t need much more support for that?
P. And if you don’t get them?
R. If the Catalans decide no, it won’t be.
P. Is the unilateral way left behind?
R. That route was imposed by the State saying no to everything.
P. That does not answer the question.
R. Any complex process must necessarily be multilateral. And in this case it requires Catalan, Spanish, European and international political institutions, private companies, and having sufficient support.
P. Didn’t you deceive the Catalans by promising an impossible independence?
R. And crap. And a fucking shit. We told the truth: that the you process It had to end in independence. That was prevented with beatings, jail, dismissing governments and closing parliaments.
P. He is in prison and disabled. Will you take a step to the side?
R. That will be decided by ERC. If there is an option I do not give up anything.
P. What do you expect from the future state attorney general?
R. Nothing. I do not see any gesture. And I don’t expect anything at all.