Catalonia has a new politician in exile. ERC's secretary general, Marta Rovira, has decided to leave Spain and not attend the Supreme Court today as summonsed. The announcement was made by the politician herself by letter (in English), saying that she is undertaking this "difficult path" with "profound sadness".
Oriol Junqueras's right-hand woman took the decision after resigning as a parliamentary deputy yesterday alongside two ERC colleagues: former Parliament speaker Carme Forcadell and work and social affairs minister Dolors Bassa. The three of them, with another three deputies, were summonsed to the Supreme Court for 10:30am today for a hearing on cautionary measures pending the trial over last year's independence referendum. Rovira was the only one of the six to not respond to the summons.
Rovira had testified before judge Pablo Llarena on 19th February and left court on bail of 60,000€ (£53,000, $74,000). The judge didn't order the withdrawal of her passport nor her to be prohibited from leaving Spain, which have allowed her to seek refuge abroad.
In her letter, Rovira says that it is "profound sadness" that she has decided to leave, but that "it would have been much sadder to have lived in silence".
The former deputy sees it as the only way to "recover" her "political voice", suggesting this is part of the strategy to internationalise the independence issue, as seen with the others already in exile: Puigdemont and the ministers in Belgium, Clara Ponsatí in Scotland and Anna Gabriel in Switzerland.
Leaving with her daughter
Rovira goes into exile -where is still not yet known- along with her daughter, Agnès, as she says in her letter. "Every mother knows how much I love her", she writes, and that she feels the need to "give her everything that I can". "Exile will allow me to be a mother to her, and she deserves that. Very much."
Criticism of Spain
Rovira says she had no other option than to leave into exile in the face of democratic regression in Spain, driven by Mariano Rajoy's government, "a Government that is disposed to trample the rule of law and civil liberties in order to achieve its political aims."
Given this complex situation of diminished rights, which has hit Rovira will full force, ERC's secretary general makes a call for everyone to remain calm and not let "rancor" or "resentment" take hold and for the independence movement to remain united in difficult times. "It is only from shared labors that we can achieve a Republic for everyone", she says, before quoting her party's president, Oriol Junqueras: “During the coming days, stay strong and united. Transform your indignation into courage and perseverance. Your rage into love. Think always of others. In what we have to redo. Persist because I will persist. Thank you for your support. I love you.”