Senior Hans Helseth reflects on Catalonia controversy

Senior Hans Helseth has grandparents that live in Spain.

Em Paquette

Senior Hans Helseth has grandparents that live in Spain.

With Catalonia––one of Spain’s most valuable regions––calling for independence, tensions are developing in the nation. Significant consequences have already followed this motion in the form of protests, as Spain’s government has attempted to maintain its assets. This state of protest and instability poses impacts that extend beyond Spain and into the rest of the globe. Internal conflict in Spain poses concerns for students in the BSM community themselves with relatives living in Spain.

Every year, senior Hans Helseth visits his grandparents who live all over Spain: from the Logroño region to Girona, a region located in Catalonia. Helseth was able to provide a secondhand account of ongoing events in Spain from his grandparents. “My grandma has seen huge protests in Catalonia. People often fill the streets right below her apartment and voice their opinions on a variety issues like police brutality and economic inequality,” Helseth said.

The conflicts in Spain vary significantly, and will often reach a head on certain days. ”There was a day where much of the population of Catalonia didn’t attend work in order to protest Spain,” Helseth said.  

Helseth finds it unlikely that Catalonia will successfully reach its goal of independence. “The whole movement is very ambitious. It will be very hard for Catalonia to establish itself given that the European Union refuses to recognize it as a country. Without recognition from the rest of Europe, it won’t have an effective currency in the form of Euros,” Helseth said.  

Fortunately, the likelihood that Spain will ultimately maintain stability and consistency in its nation means that tensions in the area will not cut students off from their families abroad. “I’m lucky that Catalonia will likely remain in Spain because otherwise travel between my grandma’s house and my other cousins’ homes would be a difficult, international trip,” Helseth said.