The president of the Catalan government, Quim Torra, starts his agenda of the official trip to Washington today. He is accompanied by the Minister of Culture, Laura Borràs. The president will open the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, where Catalonia is invited together with Armenia. He will also launch the Catalonia America Council, a non-profit organization that aims to strengthen the ties between Catalonia and North America, led by former government delegate to the USA, Andrew Davis.
Torra will spend five days in Washington and these are the only two public events planned. He will also give interviews, to the Washington Post among others, and he will hold private meetings. Today he is expected to meet with representatives of the international Public International Law & Policy Group. Just before, he will visit the headquarters of the ACCIÓ government agency, which promotes the competitiveness of Catalan companies abroad.
The presence of Catalonia at the Smithsonian festival bothered the Spanish government, who tried to veto it. Following the referendum on the first of October, the Spanish embassy in the United States contacted the State Department to try to block the presence of Catalonia at the festival. The director of the Smithsonian, Michael Atwood, opposed to lowering Catalan culture at the level of a regional expression of Spanish culture. However, it was agreed that the Spanish ambassador to the United States, former Defense Minister Pedro Morenés, intervened in the opening act together with the Catalan President.