A commander in the Spanish army has been placed under house arrest for eight days after he warned he could send troops into Catalonia to defend the country’s unity.
The defence minister is going to propose to the cabinet that Jose Mena Aguado be sacked from his job after the outburst. The Lieutenant General sparked outrage with a speech about a proposal to give Catalonia special autonomous status – a measure currently being debated between the ruling Socialists and parties in Catalonia. He said that if the changes go through without amendement they would trigger a constitutional clause calling on the army to defend Spanish sovereignty. The press was united in condemning Aguado for interfering in politics and most editorials called for his resignation or sacking. El Pais branded his views “anachronistic” while El Mundo argued he had overstepped the line. The role of the armed forces remains highly sensitive in Spain, which suffered a bloody civil war between 1936 and 1939 and saw a failed military coup as recently as 1981. The proposals for Catalonia would see the wealthy region around Barcelona effectively become a nation within Spain.