Josep Lluís Trapero is the man who has embodied all the contradictions of the sovereign process. Son of La Guinardera neighbourhood, in Santa Coloma de Gramenet, he is a career policeman (the first "thoroughbred of the Mossos", according to Ernesto Ekaizer) who, despite not being an independentist, defended the powers and the legal framework of the police body at all costs during the Catalan independence process; both against the timid attempts of interference by Puigdemont's government, which sent Joan Vidal de Ciurana to sound him out, and against the State's recentralising offensive.
Trapero found himself placed between two fires and manoeuvred skilfully to survive, but he was met with the fact that the deep State does not practice clemency when it comes to the unity of Spain. Civil Guard Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Baena and Colonel Diego Perez de los Cobos never forgave him for his pride in being a Mosso and not wanting to give in to the requirements of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Trapero acted with what we could define as "federal loyalty" in a state that is not federal. Nor was he forgiven for turning the Mossos into a top international police force in the wake of the management of the 17-A attacks. For the Guardia Civil and the National Police, the Mossos had always been a second-class police force, and those August days were uncomfortable.
Trapero's bad luck was that he became, for having acted in a professional way, the hero of the independentist movement, and they even printed T-shirts with his answer to a foreign correspondent who complained about the use of Catalan in press conferences: "Bueno, pues molt bé, pues adiós" (translated as: "Well, very well, then goodbye"). Nor did it help him to coincide with Puigdemont at the famous paella in Cadaqués at Pilar Rahola's house.
But it was also Trapero who put himself at the disposal of the Prosecutor's Office on October 26, and who ordered a plan to be drawn up to arrest Puigdemont and his government. Hero or traitor? The independence movement has not made a prevailing diagnosis, despite the fact that the majority of independentists have ended up accepting that he could not have done anything else. The major has now become the best symbol for Spanish judicial arbitrariness.
The drama of Trapero
Trapero's drama is that the very same system he had always defended, the rule of the law, is the system that has made him live through an ordeal characteristic of a totalitarian state. Spanish democracy has allowed him to be accused of rebellion and condemned to live in ostracism during three years, in a self-forced exile. He has been accused by those whom, until four days ago, like Baena, were comrades in the brotherhood of the forces of law and order.
But Trapero was the piece they needed to match the story of rebellion, and they didn't mind lying, manipulating, and hiding information. Ironically, the major has been the victim of a police macromontage concocted from the highest levels of the state, a montage that only honesty and the technical capacities of the progressive judge Ramón Sáez Valcárcel has been able to dismantle.
But the damage is already done. Now Trapero knows that there are judges, whom he has always served, who would like to see him in prison; and comrades from the Guardia Civil and the National Police who would like him to disappear from the Mossos. Now it remains to be seen whether the Catalan authorities will know how to value the man who, according to the sentence, only tried to do his job in a very complicated situation.