On 16 October 2017 morning, Carlos Puigdemont answered Madrid’s ultimatum (see 前一个信号) through a letter (as displayed below).
The letter shows a resolve to remain on the positions expressed on 10 October, while trying to abide by all external actors’ wishes to see negotiations. It did not bring much change to what had been said on 10 October.
It fails to directly answer the question of “declaration of Independence or not” and was written with a style that shows, most probably willingly, refusal to bow to Madrid. Indeed, Puigdemont asked as gesture of good will, a reversal of the policy of repression against Catalan People, notably the release of the two separatist leaders.
This was unlikely to satisfy Madrid and Prime Minister Rajoy’s government. A few hours later, Spain High Curt jailed, pending investigation and without bail, the two said leaders, which may be seen as a first answer from Madrid to Barcelona.
— Catalan Government (@catalangov) October 16, 2017
Catalonia now has until Thursday to stress it does not declare independence, and short of that Madrid will use art. 155 of the Spanish constitution to take control of the Catalan government.
Escalation is thus at work, both sides having irreconcilable positions. We are progressively but surely moving towards “civil unrest”, to use words that are less frightening than civil war.
The two major questions and uncertainties are now the willingness of the Catalans to fight – i.e. to use violence – to obtain their independence, and the capacity of Spain to deter and stop any use of violence by Catalans.