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Spain's Popular Party (PP) is making its own views clear ahead of the Supreme Court's report on the proposed pardons for the pro-independence political prisoners. The party machine has swung into action as the court's recommendation is awaited. This morning it was current leader Pablo Casado and, later, the former Spanish president José María Aznar who took charge of putting threats on the table.

On the one hand, there was Casado' affirmation that he will appeal against the pardons if the imprisoned Catalan leaders do not show any remorse; on the other, there was Aznar: "A coup is taking place, they want to destroy the unity of Spain and those who carry out the coup, it turns out that the government of Spain decides to pardon them," he retorted before proposing his own alternative: "Anyone who wants to destroy the Constitution and the unity of Spain, pays for it."

Two weeks ago, the criminal chamber of the Supreme Court gave a five-day deadline for the presentation of arguments to the 12 pro-independence leaders convicted in the 2019 trial and all of them refused to make any submission. As an example, the president of Òmnium Cultural, Jordi Cuixart, described the call to give explanations to the court as harassment: "What have they been thinking? We won't accept any humiliation. No repentance, no pardon. We have said it to the Supreme Court, on the street and around the world: the defence of democracy does not accept blackmail."

Right now, to be seeking a remedy for their situation through the Supreme Court, and to place any real hopes in that, is hard to believe for all of them. It should be remembered that Spanish public prosecutors have reiterated their opposition to the pardons and the prosecutors in the Supreme Court itself go further, and have also opposed the pardons to the three other convicted ministers who did not receive jail sentences, Carles Mundó, Meritxell Borràs and Santi Vila.

Criticisms of the new government

Aznar didn't stop at the political prisoners. Speaking on the fourth day of the Madrid congress held by Ibero-American business association CEAPI, he also had time to divine the future of the new Catalan government with Pere Aragonès at the helm: "Nothing good will come of it, poor ploughing can only lead to a bad harvest".

And on the current migration crisis, with the irregular arrival in the last day of thousands of migrants who have swum from Morocco to Spain's enclave of Ceuta, Aznar noted that the border is "seriously threatened" and called on the government to respond, and not abdicate its responsibility. In fact, he affirmed that he "already saw it coming."

Internationally, the former president spoke out against international cases such as that of Chile, where he denounced a "huge foreign intervention" from countries like Russis, Cuba and Venezuela, while he linked the Colombian crisis with a supposed threat from the Spanish left: "The tactics to destabilize Colombia are the same," he warned, and criticised the "populism" of the left in Spain, with a government "in favour of populist and radical movements" in Latin America.

Cover photo: José María Aznar at the IV CEAPI Congress

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