The Catalan government has opened a new delegation office in Mexico. The delegation was first set up in 2019 but the physical office had not been opened so far due to the pandemic. The creation of this office was provisionally suspended by the Catalan High Court (TSJC) in November 2019 following an appeal by the Spanish ministry of foreign affairs, but the Catalan government approved its opening with a new decree in January 2020.

When plans for the office were first announced in 2019, Catalonia’s then-foreign minister Alfred Bosch said that he wanted the office to act as a gateway to Latin America. Current foreign minister Victòria Alsina said in Mexico at the opening of the office that such offices promoting Catalonia abroad are normal, “despite the intimidation of a whole state machinery that would like Catalonia not to have ambition.”

The delegation is led by Lleïr Daban and, according to the executive, will look for new spaces for collaboration between Mexico and Catalonia to strengthen relations and forge alliances between the various administrations and other Mexican institutions, the business world, and various think tanks in the country.

Historical ties with Mexico

Alsina stressed that the inauguration of the delegation represents “another step in the institutionalization of relations” with Mexico, “a key country for historical ties, for its democratic credentials and for its regional leadership in America.” The minister ends her trip this Saturday with an act of recognition for the Catalan exiles who fled to Mexico during Civil War and Franco dictatorship. Thirty people will be honored at the ceremony.

Catalan delegations such as this new one in Mexico City, which aim to expand Catalonia’s influence abroad as part of the External Action Plan, are controversial as they were all shut down when the Spanish government dissolved the Catalan government by implementing Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution following the failed 2017 independence bid.

In 2018, the Catalan government began to reopen some of these offices, but not without objection from the Spanish government, which has repeatedly claimed that Catalonia is overstepping its role as a political entity within Spain.

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