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The departure - surely more a dismissal than a resignation - of Antonio Cabrales, professor at Madrid's Universidad Carlos III, from one of the two positions on the board of the Bank of Spain, six hours after his appointment to the post had been made official, is scarcely different from the wave of McCarthyism in the United States of the 1950s. If over there senator Joseph McCarthy instigated an anti-communist crusade by sheltering behind the supposed values of American society, here it is those who make lists of independentists, sometimes in secret and sometimes openly, that have removed Cabrales as a member of the board of the Spanish banking system's supervisory institution, because in 2018 he, together with about fifty other economics professors, signed a public letter as a show of rejection of the political persecution of former Catalan minister Clara Ponsatí, exiled at that time in Scotland, and whose extradition was sought.

The list contained signatures from prestigious international economists and together with them, Cabrales, who five years later has suffered in his own flesh a humiliation that is uncoming of a democratic country. The most curious thing is that the name of the new bank director had been the result of an agreement between the PSOE - which proposed Judith Arnal, PhD in Economics and until recently chief of staff of deputy PM - and the aforementioned Cabrales, whose proposal came from Alberto Núñez Feijóo. I suppose that the president of the People's Party took fright when he perceived the campaign he would have against him for having promoted a supposed collaborator with independentism to a position considered to be part of the Spanish state. He, who bases his campaign on presenting Pedro Sánchez as a collaborator with the Catalan independence movement, caught red-handed by Jiménez Losantos, Carlos Herrera, among others, and the trio of far-right newspapers, El Mundo, ABC and La Razón.

When ABC announced the appointment of Cabrales last Sunday, unaware of that letter in favour of Ponsatí, it presented him to its readers as follows: Antonio Cabrales has a doctorate in economics from the University of California San Diego, and is a professor at the Universidad Carlos III. He has been a professor at University College London and Universitat Pompeu Fabra. He is executive vice-president of the European Economic Association, former president of the Spanish Economic Association and honorary member of the Econometric Society. Cabrales was also one of the experts who participated in the preparation of the Spain 2050 agenda and is associate editor of the Journal of Economic Theory. A curriculum that was reassuring for the Spanish establishment until McCarthyism found evidence that could discredit it. Five years ago he signed a letter which, seen from the perspective of the time that has passed, should not be of any importance.

How many years have to go by for Spanish politics to stop persecuting those who from an exclusively professional alignment set out a point of approximation, who knows if exclusively human, and far from any ideological pronouncement, to the pro-independence politicians in 2017? Is the generalized repression able to reach those in academic circles who took a position over the course of these years when they did the same as dozens of international institutions or organizations? It is horrifying that they can react like this and I have no idea what Cabrales must be thinking, someone whom I do not know and had never heard of. For the Catalan independence movement, its leaders and its thousands of persecuted people, it is possible that the news is one more episode in the repression of a democratic movement. For Cabrales, it is a nightmare that allows him to know in his own skin how the deep state acts when it seeks to be the guardian of the unity of Spain.