We’ve established that it takes 5 to 15 minutes to send an electronic letter to a representative in congress. But that’s just the sending part – writing the letter can take much longer. So here’s a form you can start from:
Dear Senator ______:
I am writing to request your support of the people of Catalonia as they strive for peace, democracy, and respect from the government of Spain. [Alt: I am writing to request your support of the people of Catalonia as they request a vote to determine whether they should remain in Spain or become independent.]
[Insert a few lines about your connection to Catalonia. Did you live or visit there? Did your parents come from there? Tell the Senator why you care.]
[Give a little background on the situation – the senator and his staff may not be familiar with any of it. Here’s an example:] Between 1982 and 2006 Catalonia gradually gained a sort of home-rule through difficult negotiations with the Spanish State. Since 2008, however, things have gone downhill quickly. Discrimination against Catalans, their language, their culture, and their local government has risen quickly with the economic crisis, and the discrimination became institutionalized, as it had been under Francisco Franco, with the right-wing Popular Party’s general election victory in 2011. Not surprisingly, millions of Catalans are contemplating leaving Spain, a kingdom that has forcibly held Catalonia for almost 300 years.
[Say something about what the Catalans want, or what you want for Catalonia.] The vast majority of the Catalan people believe that the appropriate way to determine their future is through a referendum on independence, just as the people of Puerto Rico did in 1998 and 2012. The Catalan government currently is seeking this reasonable objective, but the Spanish government is taking every measure available to oppose such a vote, including measures that clearly violate the rights of many Catalan individuals and groups.
How can the United States help Catalonia? [Insert your list here. Examples: 1. We should demand that Spain use non-violent, democratic, and non-discriminatory means to resolve its problems. 2. We should avoid indicating support of Spain’s constitution. Franco’s people drafted the current Spanish constitution (Spain’s 10th constitution since 1808) soon after the dictator’s death, and it includes a clause requiring the armed forces to defend the territorial integrity of Spain, independent of the will of Spain’s own government. 3. We should support democracy and self-determination, just as we have done in Puerto Rico, and just as the UK is doing with Scotland. 4. We should not turn a blind eye to the xenophobic discrimination the Catalans suffer from, especially when it is the Spanish State, our NATO ally, that is doing the discriminating. 5. We should urge Spain to avoid violence against the peaceful Catalan people.]
Like the peoples of many other lands, Catalans ask for only peace, democracy, and respect. I urge you to help them receive support for these goals from the United States.
[Optional:] I would be pleased to speak with you or your staff about this issue; please feel free to email or call me if you would like to discuss further.