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Cablegate: Generalitat to Open Official "Delegation" in New York City

VZCZCXRO9990
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLN RUEHLZ
RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHLA #0086 2541851
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 101851Z SEP 08
FM AMCONSUL BARCELONA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1022
INFO RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 0982
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0015
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHLA/AMCONSUL BARCELONA 1190

UNCLAS BARCELONA 000086

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS
STATE FOR EUR/WE (SAMSON)
STATE ALSO FOR IO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV SP
SUBJECT: GENERALITAT TO OPEN OFFICIAL "DELEGATION" IN NEW YORK CITY

1. (U) SUMMARY: The Catalan regional government plans to open
an official "delegation" in New York city as early as October
30, 2009. Housed in Rockefeller Center, the new offices will
bring together the various Catalan entities in the city under
one roof and will be coordinated by a representative from
Catalonia. In doing so, Generalitat officials hope to raise the
Catalonia's profile in the United States and Canada, as well as
with UN organizations. Catalonia Vice President Josep
Carod-Rovira is expected to travel to the U.S. to inaugurate the
new office. End summary.

2. (U) Roser Clavell, Secretary General of Foreign Affairs told
CG September 9 the Generalitat (Catalonia's regional government)
plans to extend its presence abroad this year by opening offices
in New York city. According to Clavell, the new office will
bring together under one roof the various offices the
Generalitat has in the most prominent capital cities in the
world. Who will head the delegation has not yet been decided.
The Generalitat currently has offices in Paris, Berlin,
Brussels, and London. There also plans to open offices in
Buenos Aires and Mexico City, and Morocco. Catalonia has a
number of offices to promote tourism, business, and the Catalan
culture and art.

3. (SBU) Clavell lamented the fact that the world, in her words,
only knows Catalonia through two ways, the diplomatic corps
resident in Barcelona (good) and the national Spanish press (not
so good). Clavell implied the Generalitat was not happy with
its portrayal in the press and wanted to tell its own story.
The new offices are a way of doing just that. The office in New
York will be located at the Rockefeller Center and it is planned
to be opened on October 30. Clavell will accompany Generalitat
VP and Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) President Josep
Carod-Rovira to New York for the inauguration. While being
there, Clavell said officials are hoping to meet with New York
Governor Patterson, participate in the opening of an exhibit on
Catalan painter Joan Miro organized by MOMA, and attend UNESCO's
linguistic university.

4. (SBU) Comment: Despite falling popularity at the polls, ERC
leader Carod-Rovira is pressing ahead with his strategy of
raising Catalonia's flag in the world's major cities. While it
is not at all clear Catalans are happy seeing their taxes go to
expensive offices in the most expensive cities around the world,
especially since officials have recently claimed lack of
resources to cover rising social and educational programs, the
ERC is hoping regional pride will eventually win the day. One
official close to Generalitat President Jose Montilla told CG
recently the President has made the decision to systematically
cut the Vice President's office out of foreign affairs. This
latest move by Carod-Rovira could be a reaction to the
President. Conversely, Carod's decision to open the New York
office might have been the action that caused the President to
decide to start clipping the Vice President's wings. End
Comment.

ROBINSON

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