Historical Basque socialist and nationalist political leader Txomin Ziluaga died today, at the age of 72, after suffering a fall injury two days ago.
|Txomin Ziluaga in a recent photo (source)|
Txomin was one of the founders of the People's Socialist Revolutionary Party (HASI) and its secretary general between 1978 and 1987, a never legalized political organization that was the core of the coalition Herri Batasuna (People's Union, which gathered some other parties as well as a growing number of "independents"). The coalition was created in 1978 frontally opposed to the neo-fascist reforms in Spain and with the declared intention of impelling a distinct Basque constituent process.
Previously he had been in jail seven years, benefiting from the General Amnesty of 1976.
|Txomin Ziluaga when he still had all his hair (source)|
In 1980 Ziluaga was among those elected as part of the second political force in the new Western Basque Parliament, semi-autonomously chained to the Spanish legal frame, where they greeted the Spanish monarch with the hymn to Basque fighters Eusko Gudaria. After that and other incidents HB decided to boycott the Western Basque and Spanish parliaments altogether, however working in the municipal and provincial institutions.
|Ziluaga and Brouard (source)|
He was very close to Santi Brouard, who was murdered by the Spanish death squads in 1984.
In a never well explained Stalinist-like political purge, Ziluaga and others were separated from HASI and Herri Batasuna in 1988, only to be welcomed again in 1998 with the formation of Euskal Herritarrok (We Basque Citizens).
I recall that I was attempting to work as door-to-door salesman (totally not my thing, nor anyone's for what I care, I just lasted a few days) in what was maybe 1989 or 1990 and I just happened to knock at his door in the neighborhood of Indautxu (Bilbao). He was not interested in my wares at all but he did invite me to a coffee and some conversation of which I have only fragmentary memories now; I recall I asked him about the division with HB and he tried to explain me his point of view. I don't recall the details but I do remember him as a very accessible and seemingly honest person. Someone you could definitely trust with your vote.
Since his return to politics in 1988 he remained a solid supporter of the Basque Nationalist Left although he never returned to first line. His daughter Haizea Ziluaga is a compromised lawyer and was recently arrested in a political persecution.
Recent video in which Ziluaga ratifies his all-life convictions (Spanish language)
As we say here, gogoan zaitugu, Txomin: we have you in our mind/soul (or just we remember you), Txomin.