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Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez delivers a statement at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Spain Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez delivers a statement at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, June 22, 2021 (AP photo by Paul White).

Spain’s Sanchez Timed His Pardons for Catalan Separatists Well

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

MADRID—Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez made what could very well be the most consequential decision of his time in office last week: pardoning nine leaders from the northeastern region of Catalonia who were serving prison sentences for their roles in organizing an illegal independence referendum in 2017. Speaking a day before the official announcement at the iconic Liceu Opera House in the Catalan capital, Barcelona, Sanchez made an emotional plea for reconciliation to an audience of 300 civic leaders—some of whom erupted into shouts of “independence” as he spoke, while hundreds of pro-separatist demonstrators gathered outside.

“We can’t start from scratch, but we can start anew,” Sanchez said. “We can change the lives of nine people and start changing history.” ...

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