Monday, July 9, 2012

New ETA communication underlines that the peace process is feeble in spite of the determined commitment on the Basque side (only)

Basque guerrilla Euskadi ta Askatasuna (Basque Country And Freedom), ETA, self-styled as socialist revolutionary organization for Basque liberation, has issued a new communication in which it express its annoyance with the pace and details of a solution process that never was anything beyond unilateral wishful thinking on their side, apparently.

Image of the Conference of Aiete, whose participants' seriousness is questioned in some cases

Notably ETA complains that the Spanish and French states are actively working against peace, notably by means of:
  • Reinstauration of the de facto life prison for Basque militants
  • Political persecution with harsh sentences against activists of the Basque Nationalist Left
  • Keeping the dispersion of Basque prisoners and not giving benefits to those who are seriously ill
  • Police raids against political exiles
  • Restriction of civil and political rights
  • Imprisonment of Basque citizens, two of them tortured
  • Attacks against international agents showing some compromise with peace
  • Endless aggressions by police and other armed forces
  • Threats of renewed legal ban for the Basque Nationalist Left 

We must not forget that the Basque Nationalist Left is one of the major political parties in the Southern Basque Country, not any lesser force at all. In fact, in its latest coalition (Bildu) it'd be nearly tied with the conservative Basque Nationalist Party at circa 22% of the popular vote (see here), or more likely first force after counting Aralar (reaching maybe 25%), so each election where it cannot run it is a false poll in which the democratic will of this people is hijacked by the occupants, resulting in unrepresentative institutions.

But back to the communication...

ETA considers most worrying for the process the attitude of the states and the abuse of the unilateral ceasefire on their side to inflict arrests and cause situations of danger. It also denounces the persistent attempts by many Spanish and French agents to sabotage the process. 

Among these agents, they mention the secret services of both states, many judges, fanatic victim associations and many mass media, who continuously cast doubt on the compromise by ETA sabotage any attempt move ahead in the process.

ETA also criticizes the cowardly and petty attitude of the Basque Nationalist Party (conservatives) and the Socialist Party (center-left unionists), who in spite of signing the Declaration of Aiete, of support to the Peace Process, only seem able to resort to shallow unilateral endless demands to ETA and never seem to be able to demand anything or almost from the states. 

In spite of all that ETA acknowledges (or wishes?) that the Basque People wants a solution to the armed conflict that has lasted for more than 40 years already and therefore makes a declaration of five points that closes the communication. Briefly:
  1. Trust in the possibility of peace and freedom for the Basque Country/Peopl/Nation in spite of all the obstructions.
  2. This is a historical opportunity that should not be missed, appealing to all agents to persist in their efforts.
  3. Appeal to the Basque Nationalist Party, including its grassroots members, to be at the height of the responsibility, appealing to their patriotic duty.
  4. Appeal to the Basque People to keep impelling the process.
  5. Reaffirmation on the compromise of ETA in all this time and in the future for the process.
Source: Naiz Info: original communication in Basque, journalist article in Spanish.


In my life I have known several peace processes, negotiations or whatever you want to call them, and never before I have seen such a committed ETA and such a lack of interest by the Spanish state.

It would seem that the state is convinced of ETA being effectively defeated by police means (yet police means are costly and the state is running out of money in general) and that they can force them to surrender unconditionally. I'd say that is extremely naive: the sociological support for ETA (or in general armed organizations that defend the dignity of the Basque People) remains as strong as ever and you can't really defeat a guerrilla that has the support of much of the people, as is the case.

This is something that seems to be missing in so many analysis, which consider ETA as a mere police problem, instead of being a social and political one. 

But even more worrisome is those, like the secret services or some other agents, who surely know all this I am saying and prefer to extend the low intensity conflict, maybe because they have been getting benefits from it and expect to keep them. For example police and spy forces, as well as private security corporations, get more workload if ETA exists than if it does not. So far ETA activity has only on occasion killed high profile cadres of the regime, so the risk they get is rather low, while the profits are high. 

In general it seems clear that ETA and the Basque Nationalist Left are making a huge effort and the Spanish state is not doing anything at all. This asymmetry in a peace process can only end badly. Unless the situation changes radically soon, the question is not if it will collapse into further armed confrontation but when will that happen.

I understand that all relevant actors in the process must know this: they are politicians, not idiots.

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