Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and minister Meritxell Serret travelling to Switzerland for several days next week, temporarily abandoning their exile in Brussels, has hit the Spanish government like a ton of bricks. That, moreover, this trip should take place under certain coverage from the official Swiss institutions and that among the events scheduled there is nothing more or less than a debate in the UN's headquarters in Geneva about the regression of human rights in Spain has mobilised the Attorney General, the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Interior Ministry. Now, so far there's no apparent result, now the spokesperson for the Swiss Federal Office of Justice, Folco Galli, has spoken, denying that Puigdemont could be arrested or extradited during his trip, an idea Spanish public prosecutors had wanted to play with hours earlier.
Everything suggests, as such, that the Spanish government will end up left with little more than posturing. And, perhaps, in this sense we have to understand the holding/arrest for a number of hours of the Catalan government's secretary of Communication and Broadcasting, Antoni Molons, looking for documentation about the cost of the campaign for last year's referendum for the government. Or the Civil Guard bursting into the headquarters of Òmnium Cultural with the same objective. Although it's more than five months since the referendum and Òmnium's headquarters have already been searched, this was about, supposedly, obtaining new documentation. Whilst that was happening in Barcelona, in Madrid, PP and Ciudadanos were losing their tussle with the opposition and the Congress was driving to abolish life in prison as a sentence. A stumble by the Spanish government, although one more following the protests by pensioners and, above all, the government standstill over the budget which cannot move forward without support from EAJ (Basque Nationalist Party), which refused today as article 155 is in force.
But let's return to Switzerland. If the the round table at the UN which the Catalan Ombudsman, Rafael Ribó, former Supreme Court judge José Antonio Martín Pallín and relatives of the political prisoners will take part in will be uncomfortable, the fact that during three days the spotlight on human rights and self-determination would feature different Catalan actors has caused great unease in the Spanish government. It remains striking that with the Catalan government's diplomatic legations closed by the Spanish Foreign Ministry and with all the strength of a state targeted at preventing the conflict moving into the international arena, the result would be that various events related to Catalonia would be held during the last week of the 37th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations.
Sometimes, seeing the miseries at home, one can lose sight of the fact that things happen in Madrid and abroad too.