In December, I spent nearly three weeks in Barcelona reporting on the parliamentary elections ordered by Madrid after the central government fired the Catalonian government in the wake of the October 1 independence referendum. What emerged was a more complex story. Deeply suspicious of a Spanish political system that they believe is racially and culturally biased against Catalonia, some Barcelonans question what Spain’s real agenda toward the Catalan people might be. There is skepticism about the value of the European Union to the ordinary person. And always –always – there are historical ghosts that still haunt Barcelona and all of Catalonia because of the legacy of a dead tyrant who still shapes Spanish politics to this day: Generalissimo Francisco Franco. Here is my article on Catalans’ hopes and fears regarding independence in the National Interest.