Don Quixote, who crossed the border
7 October, 2017
A virtual unknown when he became president of Catalonia in January 2016, Carles Puigdemont started a battle of life and death. The ex-mayor of the town of Girona has never hidden his separatist tendencies. He joined his predecessor Artur Mas's CDC party in 1980, at a time when it merely wanted to negotiate greater autonomy for Catalonia, far from the idea of breaking away from Spain. But unlike Mas, who implemented unpopular austerity measures during Spain's economic crisis, Puigdemont is more of a social democrat who was better able to seduce the far-left members of Catalonia's separatist faction, who were wary of Mas.
"In Catalonia many people became separatists in an allergic reaction to Madrid's policies. Not him, he always had these convictions," said Puigdemont's friend Antoni Puigverd, a poet and journalist.
Puigdemont always combined his political activism with journalism, another friend of his told AFP. For 17 years he worked for Catalonia's nationalist daily El Punt and later created a regional news agency. He knows how to mediate with public opinion. Puigdemont is in danger to be arrested because the referendum violated the constitution of the country. But it apparently will not stop him to see his dream Republic of Catalonia realized.