Since Donald Trump became the president of the United States, one of the main challenges for the American press has been to keep pace with his contradictory, and frequently outlandish, statements.
With Trump, the news cycle has become smaller and smaller. And the press has had troubles trying to verify, corroborate and even publish Trump’s statements in a timely manner.
Many in North America believe it is a deliberate strategy by Trump to create chaos, since he thrives in that environment.
In Spain, former Catalonian president Carles Puigdemont seems to have adopted a similar strategy.
Chaos and contradictions have dominated the “procés” — the name given to the political process taken by the now deposed Catalonian government to unilaterally declare the independence.
As with Trump’s administration approach to critical decisions, Catalonia’s unilateral declaration of independence has been marred by deliberate confusion and obfuscation. Not even members of Puigdemont’s government were able to explain if there was or was not a declaration of independence, a mere political statement of intentions or none of the above.
Like Trump, Puigdemont uses Twitter every day to advance his agenda using a selection of quotes from friendly media. And like Trump, Puigdemont is having a loud Twitter ally in Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder.
And that confusion continues today with contradictory declarations from the “procés” leaders.
Now more than ever, Catalonia’s former president still applies the Trump doctrine.
Like Trump, Puigdemont loves Twitter and the media. Every day he uses Twitter to advance his agenda using a selection of quotes from friendly media. And like Trump, Puigdemont has a vocal Twitter ally in Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder.
Every day, Puigdemont creates headlines nationally and internationally with outrageous comments. And before the news cycle is over, Puigdemont is back to Twitter and the front pages with a new wave of statements.
In the last few days, Puigdemont has accused the Spanish government of planning a massacre in Catalonia; has insinuated that Spain’s intelligence service allowed the horrendous summer terrorist attack in Barcelona; has accused the European Union of being a club of decadent countries; and has threatened a Catexit, Catalonia’s withdrawal from the EU. All of this without offering any evidence.
And after the pushback is sufficiently intense, Puigdemont simply contradicts his original statement as with his eurosceptic message, which has been criticized and refuted even by his political partners.
Also, like Trump, Puigdemont suffers from acute insecurity.
After complex negotiations to avoid the intervention of the Catalonian government, and after Puigdemont agreed to call elections as the solution to the crisis, the former president unexpectedly reversed his decision and proceeded with the unilateral declaration of independence.
Puigdemont cringed when some of the most radical factions in the independent movement called him “traitor”. He immediately canceled the elections and in so doing, deepened the political and social crisis —and the division— in Catalonia.
Just like Trump.