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70 North American academics pen open letter condemning political crackdown on Catalonia

Noam Chomsky and Saskia Sassen are among the professors who have signed the manifesto

Political and judicial repression against Catalonia to stop the referendum on independence slated for October 1 keeps receiving attention from media all over the world, as international condemnation over the Spanish government’s actions in the last few weeks is on the rise. The latest outrage has come from the US, Canada and Mexico, where a group of about seventy academics has signed the letter published in The Guardian last week by about one hundred British and Irish professors who denounced that what is happening in Catalonia at the moment “was not experienced since the Franco dictatorship”. This newspaper has printed the letter and the list of all the professors working in American universities who have signed it.

Among the personalities who decry Madrid’s crackdown is Noam Chomsky, the scientist, linguist and philosopher. Chomsky had already voiced his views on Catalonia when, at a press conference in 2014, he stated that he understood the Catalan referendum as a struggle for cultural identity against the State’s imperialism.

In the letter —the same that was published by the British and Irish professors— the scholars denounce that “as the referendum draws closer, the political repression is intensifying” and that “the Spanish government has stated that it will physically prevent people entering polling booths to vote on 1st October and has threatened to arrest Catalan Premier Carles Puigdemont and more than 750 Catalan Mayors”. They also list the “repressive measures” taken in recent days: shutting down websites, taking over the Catalan government’s finances, threatening news outlets and seizing material for the vote.

The letter ends with one final call: “We demand that Spain immediately ceases the political repression in Catalonia and enables the people of Catalonia to be allowed to freely express their political views”.

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