My name is Albert Puigdemont and I’m 41 years old. 41!!!! That’s too much… Catalonia needs to become independent fairly soon if I want to spend more years in freedom than without it. I also want my two kids to get this opportunity.
Well, I live in a little Catalan village called Banyoles, close to the the French border, to Barcelona, to the the sea, and to the mountains. Our village might not feature many tourist sights (except for the nice Lake of Banyoles) but there are many beautiful things really close!! In fact, as you surely know, Banyoles is the center of the world (Salvador Dalí was wrong to say it is in Perpignan / Perpinyà in Catalan). A small village cannot have everything and this is why we just decided to put the rest not far from us. ;-) Family-owned companies are one of my passions since I was really young. And, in my view, big business is one of the worst things in the world. When I was 12 I started my first “export” business selling candies in my boarding school, located 15km from my village. I sold floppy discs and computer components we had previously bought in Barcelona. Later on I worked at the university on regional economy analysis and statistics, at the Chamber of Commerce as a trade analyst and in a town hall helping people start businesses. I started my own business focusing on conjuncture economy analysis for labor unions, trade associations and public administrations. Moreover, I have built 4 houses as a real estate developer and the most exotic one … I set up an import business of African art and handicrafts and a toys shop in Barcelona. Finally … I started the “definitive” business with my cousin: a toys brand company where we make “Original toys for kids from 3 to 103-years-old”. We strongly focus on export.
My other passion, even more than the first one, is the struggle for the freedom of my country. I was involved in this cause even before I started selling candies to my schoolmates. I am involved in it now and I will keep involved until we reach the independence.
Each language and each culture is a microcosm, a way to see life and the world. Forcing a language and a culture to disappear would be as foolish as destroying a piece of art. We, the Catalans, are a small culture that provides diversity to the world. In the same way a small company offers diversity and creativity as opposed to the uniformity of bigger companies. We either reach freedom or the alternative is to disappear as a culture, being absorbed by a ‘big company’… Yes, it’s that simple. Either we become free or we disappear. I don’t want to disappear. So, can you help me to survive? In exchange, we will provide to the world a rich and creative culture. Otherwise, the risk is that in a few years we could only offer you “toros (bullfights) & paella”. The world would be poorer from a cultural point of view.
During this week I will talk about the life of a small Catalan company, the Catalan economy and how to survive the Spanish governments.