I was dismayed by George F. Will’s Jan. 26 op-ed, “Catalans’s fictions and paranoia.” Mr. Will missed that Spain is a conglomerate of nations — Castile, Catalonia, Basque Country, Galicia, etc. — each has its own language, culture and desire to be autonomous. Over the centuries, the central government from Castile has militarily forced the union and has taken away the statutes of each nation. Francisco Franco eliminated any vestige of Catalan and Basque autonomy, forbid the language and ordered the execution of Lluís Companys, president of the Catalan government. After Franco, a new constitution was written that reinstituted the language and allowed for a Catalonian legislator and president. This constitution was written under coercion of the Franco military elite. Catalans voted for it because the alternative would have been to continue the military dictatorship. Catalans voted for a better autonomy, but when this was denied, they declared that the only solution is independence from Spain. And now there are political prisoners in Spain.

Thomas T. Rubio, Washington

George F. Will argued “Catalan secessionists ladle a soup of fiction and paranoia.” Let me disagree. There is no fiction nor paranoia in Catalonia. We are where we are because Spain has been incapable of solving a political issue through politics and democracy and has opted for judicializing the issue and jailing its political opponents — something that several international organizations have criticized, among them the United Nations.

Spanish nationalism and demagoguery are the problem. Listing the unity of Spain over democracy and civil rights is not proper in a modern Western society. Yet it has been the reality in Spain over the past years. Our project is not identity-related; it is not about flags. Catalan identity is in constant redefinition by those who live in Catalonia and those who are yet to come. We want to decide our own future through a referendum. The grounds for such a referendum are inevitably dialogue and negotiation.

The United Nations is asking for that, too. After Spain’s Universal Periodic Review before the Human Rights Council last week, the U.N. forwarded 275 recommendations for improvements, among them to initiate a constructive dialogue with Catalonia. Does this mean the U.N. is paranoid, too? Catalonia has been advocating dialogue for years to solve this political crisis. We have helped Pedro Sánchez become prime minister twice to favor this dialogue. We never left the negotiation table and we insist that, as promised, the Spanish government comes to the table, too. Is wanting a democratic solution a soup of fiction and paranoia?

Alfred Bosch, Barcelona

The writer is minister for foreign affairs and institutional relations and transparency of the Government of Catalonia.