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Breaking: ETA announces indefinite ceasefire

by Migeru Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 08:50:30 AM EST

El Pais: ETA declares a permanent cease-fire (22-03-2006 - 12:52)

The terrorist gang claims in a communique that its goal is "to propel the democratic process in Euskal Herria [Basque Country] to build a new framework in which [our] rights [as a people] are recognised"

ETA has released a communique this morning in which they declare a permanent cease-fire taking effect this coming Friday. In the document the terrorist gang stresses its "commitment to keep taking steps" towards peace and challenges Spain and France to recognise the results of the [peace] process "without any kinds of limitations". The text ends stating that "overcoming the conflict, here and now, is possible. That is the wish and the will of ETA".

Update [2006-3-22 8:9:6 by Migeru]: Interestingly, El Pais has changed their headline to ETA announces a "ceasefire" (22-03-2006 - 14:01)
The vicepresident of the Government [deputy PM], María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, has said it “is good news for all Spaniards” but called to being “more cautious than ever”.
Update [2006-3-22 9:22:23 by Migeru]: Now it is "Permanent cease-fire" from ETA.


If I were still a student I'd spent 48 hours blogging non-stop. As it is, I'll have to leave it to others to add updates in the comments, and front-pagers can edit my diary to add important stuff if they want

Use Google News.
Update [2006-3-22 7:26:12 by Migeru]: I'm copying here kcurie's diary.

Probably the news of the decade. At least the news everybody was talking about and nobody dared to utter.
ETA, the terrorist group, has declared a permanent ceasefire. The first time ever ETA declares that a ceasefire is "permanent".
There had been rumours all around. President Zapatero hinted it quite a lot of times... and today.. it is all over the place.
I do not have time to a more in depth diary. I take a taxi to the airport in twenty minutes. I have been preparing this trip for a month... and for a month I hardly could read the diaries...and almost no time for comment...Sorry
I wait for the in depths diaries from the spanish troupe...meanwhile....
meanwhile....
let me tell you that today I am little bit happy... well what the hell.. very happy....
As long as it gets!!!!
Anybody is with me???? Like we say .. put the cava in the fridge but do not open it yet....it will be a long ride untill it is over..
Update [2006-3-22 7:41:22 by Migeru]: Political Reactions (none from the government yet)
El Pais: San Gil: "ETA had to do something given Zapatero's continuous concessions."
Maria San Gil is the leader of the PP in the Basque Country.
Update [2006-3-22 10:46:41 by Migeru]: El Pais has also gathered International reactions.
Does anyone have time to translate the comments by the various politicians? Use Babelfish if you must.
Update [2006-3-22 11:1:41 by Migeru]: El Pais: Zapatero: "It is a long and difficult road that all [political] parties shall have to traverse together" (22-03-2006 - 14:09)
The President of the Government [PM] offers his hand especially to the PP "so that this process ends as we all wish"
The President of the Government [PM], José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, has requested “prudence and caution” after the announcement of a ceasefire by the terrorist organization ETA, as in his opinion “any peace process after so many yeaars of horror will be long and difficult”. The Chief Executive has offered his hand to all political forces, and especially the PP, to arrive at a good harbour [this is a common Spanish idiom], “united by our hope”.

Update [2006-3-22 7:54:6 by Migeru]: For press review purposes:

Display:
Sorry for the editing mess... I deleted kcurie's before noting that someone else frontpaged it and moved this down.

In the comments of that thread, whataboutbob and Alexandra also expressed happiness.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 08:51:51 AM EST
You mean my impossibly witty comment about traitorous Cava and cheap Dom Perignon is lost forever?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 08:55:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am back...well sort of
Flight and work...but sometime at home at long last.

but wonderful work... Migeru Dodo.. just great...

My comment-diary fits nicely.. wonderful...

And you know what.. I am still happy.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Thu Mar 23rd, 2006 at 03:00:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
but wonderful work... Migeru Dodo.. just great...

Well, kcurie, my work was only to kill your diary in a really messy way, at least you aren't angry at me :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Mar 23rd, 2006 at 03:15:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds very good. Anyone have a hunch about how the government will react?
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 08:58:20 AM EST
I don't know, but from the opposition there's this.
El Pais: Rajoy warns that the announdement "is a pause but not a rejection of criminal activity"
The PP's leader shows himself "prepared to help the government so that they don't pay any political price"
...
Rajoy also addressed the government. First, to assure that the PP is still prepared to defeat terrorism in the framework of the antiterrorist agreement subscribed by both major parties. Second, to offer the president of teh Executive [PM], José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, his support so that he "pays no political price" in the process of defeating ETA.


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 09:07:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey this doesn't sound too bad given your earlier concern about PP slandering of the current administration (if I understood correctly. I don't know that much about Spanish politics). If the PP is supportive and seems to want to be associated with any potential benefits from the ETA ceasefire by saying they are helping the current government that's better then putting obstacles in the way.

Can one read into the PP reaction that there is a sense even on their part that this could be more long lasting then a temporary cease fire and that they better position themselves so they can claim so credit if this works out. Then again maybe it's just my optimistic side taking over too much this morning.

Anyway nice news to get first thing in the morning! Thanks Kcurie and Migeru. I'm putting my imaginary (don't have the real thing on hand) cava in the fridge, it may be a long ride until it is over, but I hope to be able to open it sooner rather then later. I know one has to be guardedly optimistic but this is exiting news.

by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 09:41:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I disagree. They are offering their support to "defeat" ETA along the lines of the "anti-terrorist agreement" which Zapatero and Aznar entered into in 2001, excluding other political parties (including the Basque ones).

it's a poisoned pill, IMHO.

They offer Zapatero support to pursue the PP agenda, and they still oppose any dialogue. The Spanish parliament voted to "allow the government to negotiate peace should ETA give up armed struggle" with the opposition of the PP (including street demonstrations). That has been Zapatero's agenda since last May. It was suspected that he must have had some information about movements within ETA, and this confirms all that Zapatero has been implying.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 09:47:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok doesn't sound so good anymore & I need to study my Spanish politics some more and the agreement. However, it seems ETA & the Zapatero government would have excepted that kind of reaction from PP and Zapatero has put himself in a position to maneuver given the negotiation vote obtained in the Spanish parliament.

The short quotes you have above do still sound to be like a way for the PP to position itself to claim partial credit for a positive outcome should one come out of the Zapatero government's current initiatives.

Right now I've got to quit ET and get back to my deadlines but look forward to reading more this evening and over the days and months to come.

by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 10:36:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Le Monde coverage today and photo of the ETA news conference:
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 11:00:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The communique was given with a video tape. El Pais (and, I suppose, most other Spanish media) have links to the streaming video, which should be less than 2 minutes long.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 11:04:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Note the white masks, and the txapelas (berets).

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 11:05:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Was it a news conference? I thought it was a video tape.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 11:06:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Le Monde's caption reads:"Capture d'écran : au cours d'une conférence de presse, mercredi 22 mars, l'ETA a annoncé un cessez-le-feu."

translation: screen shot : during the press conference, Wednesday March 22nd, ETA announced a cease fire.

by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 11:15:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
El Pais: ETA declares a permanent ceasefire
...

In addition, [ETA] recorded a video in which three etarras, their faces covered by white scarves and with txapelas on their heads, read the communique in front of the gang's logo perched behind a table showing the crest of Euskal Herria. The text, red in basque and Spanish by a woman, lasts a munite and 36 seconds. In its turn, the newspaper Gara has announced that they will publish a new declaration by ETA "on the same motive".



A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 11:22:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed bad choice of caption in Le Monde!
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 08:59:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You should be able to find a bottle of Freixenet in good stores. Do you have any companies importing delicatessen from around the world in WMass? In CA there was Trader Joe's and I could get really good Spanish white wine for $4 a bottle.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 09:56:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We do have Trader Joe's 15-20 minutes from here but they don't have a wine section. But no need to despair there are several well stocked wine suppliers around and the Boston TJ off in the east by the Atlantic has a wine section. So can you remember what $4 bottle you would recommend? I seem to keep getting distracted by food & drink in these political threads...
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 10:35:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It was Marques de Caceres, but I believe TJ buy in large bulk to get good deals and it is possible that similar bottles from other years are not as cheap. Here in London the same wine is about twice as expensive, when you can find it.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 10:38:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sunflower foods has a white Marques de Caceres for $6.

The red is always more, but it's very good (the red.)

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 12:18:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I personally don't like red that much, but the white was great. And, like I said, TJ must have gotten their hands on a few tens of thousand cases of it back in 2003/4 and were selling it for $4.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 12:24:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I personally don't like red that much, but the white was great.

I always know that you were a traitor to the Revolution :)

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 12:53:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The PSE leader has that the ETA truce is "good news that we know should should be handled with prudence and knowing the gravity of the situation", and asked of all the parties "repsosbility" and unity "without division." In any case, the 'road map' is marked by the reolution of the Congress, and "all should run  by this" and what "will be or might be the guarantee of the State of Law and democracy without paying a political price, wining peace and liberty, he indicated.

.........

El líder del PSE ha dicho que la tregua de ETA es una "buena noticia que hay que saber administrar con prudencia y sabiendo estar a la altura de las circunstancias", así que ha pedido a los partidos "responsabilidad" y unidadan y "sin fisuras". "En todo caso, la 'hoja de ruta' está marcada por la resolución del Congreso" y "todos debiéramos discurrir por ella", lo que "será o puede ser la garantía de que el Estado de Derecho y la democracia, sin pagar un precio político, gana la paz y la libertad", ha señalado.

I'm listening to Cadena Ser, the major radio network in Spain, and Zapatero is on now saying the same things that El Pais attributed to Patxi Lopez.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 10:36:10 AM EST
MfM, do you have time to translate ETA's communique in full? It's just one page.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 10:39:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's my day off, so yes.  Do you have a link? The one you gave links to the reply page for my comment above.

Hasta la paz siempre, deberemos discutir todo.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 10:45:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Found it, translating.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 10:47:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Great, thanks.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 10:50:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
here.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 10:47:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Full text ETA statement

ETA MESSAGE TO THE BASQUE PEOPLE

ETA has decided to annouce a permanent ceasefire begining the 24 March 2006.

The obejctive of this decision is to impel a democratic process in the Basque Country to construct a new era in which our rights as a people will be recognized, assuring the we may look to the future with the possibility of developing all poltical options.

At the end of this process Basque citizens should have the word and the decision over their future.

The Spanish and French States should reconize the results of said democratic process, and without any type of limitation. The decision of Basque citizens take for our future shoulc be respected.

We make a call to Spanish and French authorities to respond positively to this new situation, putting aside repression.

Finally, we make a call to Basques citizen that they involve themselves in this process, and fight for the rights belonging to us as a people.

ETA shows its desire and willingness to follow an open process to the end, and to gain a truely democratic situation for Euskal Herria, overcoming the conflict of many and building a peace based in justice.

We reaffirm commitment to take steps in future agreements willingly.

The overcoming of this conflict, here and now, is possible. That is the desire and the will of ETA.

Euskal Herrian, 2006ko martxoan

Euskadi Ta Askatasuna

E.T.A.

.........................................

MENSAJE DE EUSKADI TA ASKATASUNA AL PUEBLO VASCO

Euskadi Ta Askatasuna ha decidido declarar un alto el fuego permanente a partir del 24 de marzo de 2006.

El objetivo de esta decisión es impulsar un proceso democrático en Euskal Herria para construir un nuevo marco en el que sean reconocidos los derechos que como Pueblo nos corresponden y asegurando de cara al futuro la posibilidad de desarrollo de todas las opciones políticas.

Al final de ese proceso los ciudadanos vascos deben tener la palabra y la decisión sobre su futuro.

Los Estados español y francés deben reconocer los resultados de dicho proceso democrático, sin ningún tipo de limitaciones. La decisión que los ciudadanos vascos adoptemos sobre nuestro futuro deberá ser respetada.

Hacemos un llamamiento a todos los agentes para que actúen con responsabilidad y sean consecuentes ante el paso dado por ETA.

ETA hace un llamamiento a las autoridades de España y Francia para que respondan de manera positiva a esta nueva situación, dejando a un lado la represión.

Finalmente, hacemos un llamamiento a los ciudadanos y ciudadanas vascas para que se impliquen en este proceso y luchen por los derechos que como Pueblo nos corresponden.

ETA muestra su deseo y voluntad de que el proceso abierto llegue hasta el final, y así conseguir una verdadera situación democrática para Euskal Herria, superando el conflicto de largos años y construyendo una paz basada en la justicia.

Nos reafirmamos en el compromiso de seguir dando pasos en el futuro acordes a esa voluntad.

La superación del conflicto, aquí y ahora, es posible. Ese es el deseo y la voluntad de ETA.

Euskal Herrian, 2006ko martxoan

Euskadi Ta Askatasuna

E.T.A.



And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 11:11:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Zapatero is on now because, by chance or by design (tinfoil!) ETA's announcement was on a Wednesday, when there is a weekly Government Control Session. I presume they threw out the agreed agenda of questions and just went to discuss the real issue of the day.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 10:40:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm listening to Cadena Ser, the major radio network in Spain, and Zapatero is on now
Live blogging! Live blogging!

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 10:41:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The PNV (Basque Nationalist Leader) opined that the announcemnent that ETA put forward in manifesto the intention to quit arms "goes seriously", for which they have made a call to all parties involved to approve this opportunity for peace

................

El senador del PNV ha opinado que el anuncio de ETA pone de manifiesto que la intención de la banda terrorista de dejar las armas "va en serio", por lo que ha hecho un llamamiento a todas las partes implicadas para aprovechar esta oportunidad de paz.



And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 10:42:06 AM EST
All I have is a bunch of questions.  The talking heads on BBC and CNN have been batting around words like "defeated" and "broken" to describe why ETA would take this step.

What I would like someone who knows more about Spanish and Basque politics to tell me is:  Is ETA really broken and defeated?  Or is there another reason for this extraordinary move?  Will it last?  How much credit should Zapatero get?  What will and/or should ETA do next?  What will and/or should the Spanish government do next?  What will and/or should the EU and other multilateral bodies, or other European countries, do?

Thanks in advance to anyone who tries to shed some light.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 11:05:35 AM EST
Former Foreign Minister Ana Palacio on BBC now:  "ETA is really an isolated bunch of thugs."

She is advocating no financial rewarding of ETA for going into ceasefire, because in her view that would reward ETA for terrorist action, would show that terrorism pays.  (This tactic has, however, been used effectively in Mozambique, among other countries, to give the ex-rebels financial incentive to stick it out in the political arena rather than going back into the bush to fight after they lost repeatedly at the polls.)

A listener e-mail says, "I would not trust what an organization that has been killing for so long says."

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 11:09:47 AM EST
Is that the same Ana Palacio that (successfully) pressed the UN Security Council to condemn ETA for the Madrid March 11 attacks?

She has no credibility whatsoever.

However, ETA is indeed an increasingly isolated gang of thugs.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 11:12:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
However, ETA is indeed an increasingly isolated gang of thugs.

When it comes to violence, yes.  But it's important to note that ETA supposes a demcratic process in which the Basque country will have a referendum to decide whether or not to the Basque country will be independent.  When the you start banning parties because you don't like what they have to say, people question whether the state sans democracy is legitimate.

Batasuna for its links to ETA, wasn't banned because of those connections. It was advocacy for an indendent state that caused that to happen. Remember how Aznar threated to throw Ibarratxe in prision when he refused to unseat the elected representatives of Batasuna?  Or the vitriol launch against the man when he said he wanted a referendum on the status of the Basque country?

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 11:29:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What I mean is that the public pronouncements of everyone except for Batasuna (and PCTV), especially of moderate Basque nationalists, have been sounding increasingly annoyed that ETA did not give up its arms to allow a political process.

Then again, just because you can pass an ad-hoc law making Batasuna illegal with what is basically guilt by association, doesn't mean that they don't retain a hard core of 10% to 15% of voters in the Basque Country. Indeed, just the endorsement by Batasuna's leader when they were made illegal just days before the latest regional election was enough to give the hitherto unknown and tiny PCTV eight (out of 75) seats in the regional parliament. Quite a feat.

So, there is clearly a National Liberation Movement, but people are largely annoyed that ETA kept at it.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 11:36:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
National Liberation Movement

You remembered that, hmm.....

I think what's important here is that the Zapatero's efforts to recognize the validity of the concerns that ETA capitalizes on while condemning violence won out, while Aznar's years of hard repression (banning newspapers, torturing the editors, Jesus Christ.) did not end ETA.  There's a lesson here.

If you are serious about peace you have to be willing to recognize seperate the sympathizers from the pathological core, and recognize that in democracies sometimes people disagree ferociously , but that doesn't give you the right to make their opinion illegal.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 11:52:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They do call themselves MLNV (Movimiento de Liberacion Nacional Vasco or Basque National Liberation Movement), don't they? Just because I disagree with them doesn't mean I am not aware that they perceive some unsolved grievances. In these matters perception is as important as reality.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 11:56:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No my diary, with the harshness.

Moving on.

This puts the PP in a real bind.  

Is the problem the PP has with Batasuna and Basque nationalists that they have resorted to violence or that they favor an autonomy or independence for their regions?  The ETA communique makes clear that they expect that there will be a referendum  a la Ibarratxe in which independence is an option.  That's going to be a very close vote if it happens. And it only validate the hardliners story that only through violence can they have their voice heard.  

On the other hand agreeing the the consituent peoples of the Iberian peninsula have a right to self determination undermines the position of the PP.

"One, Grand, and Free"  Maybe 2 out of 3 ain't that bad.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 12:17:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a real chance that the PP with trainwreck any peace process. My sister points out that the PSOE may be able to make agreements with the Basque nationalists, but that these may have to be implemented by the PP in the future.

The PP will run a panic "Spain breaking up" campaign in 2008 and probably lose the elections badly, but after as little as 4 more years, especially if the Catalan estatut is generalized, there may be a backlash. And then the PP may be the ones in charge of the Basque peace process.

Hopefully by then the Aznarite wing will have imploded under its own weight and someone civilised, like Ruiz Gallardon, will be at the helm. One can always dream...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 12:36:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
National Liberation Movement

You remembered that, hmm.....

I think what's important here is that the Zapatero's efforts to recognize the validity of the concerns that ETA capitalizes on while condemning violence won out, while Aznar's years of hard repression (banning newspapers, torturing the editors, Jesus Christ.) did not end ETA.  There's a lesson here.

If you are serious about peace you have to be willing to recognize seperate the sympathizers from the pathological core, and recognize that in democracies sometimes people disagree ferociously , but that doesn't give you the right to make their opinion illegal.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 11:53:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, for those who might need a little more background on the Law of Political Parties that MfM and I are talking about, here is a recent thread on it, including a link to (in Spanish) the infamous 'Article 9' which is used to ban Batasuna.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 11:40:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is this something comparable to the IRA leadership recognising that they can do more to advance their objective by politics than by armed struggle?

What are the chances of this ceasefire ending the use of violence for political purposes in the Basque Country?

Again drawing an analogy with Irish history there is always the potential of a small fringe group taking up the gun the mainstream leadership has laid down and over time replacing one terrorist threat with a comparable one. Is this a realistic scenario in the Basque context?

by Gary J on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 10:44:28 PM EST
Personally I worry most about the reaction of the Spanish nationalists within the Basque Country, basically the Basque PP, which are the equivalent of the Unionist.

We haven't had any anti-ETA paramilitary activity since the early 1980's (the GAL, scroll down to the section on State Terrorism in Democratic Spain), and I hope nobody gets any funny ideas.

In the immediate short term, two things will happen.

  1. The Spanish government will negotiate with ETA on disarmament and prisoners;
  2. The Basque political parties will negotiate among themselves a new statute for the Basque Country
We can discuss the legal and constitutional framework within which these negotiations will be carried out, and probably will in subsequent diaries by myself or others.
The PP is, however, squarely against both negotiations taking place.

Today a new ETA statement will be published by Gara, and next Tuesday Zapatero will start political contacts, first with PP national leader Rajoy, then with Lehendakari (Basque regional President) Ibarretxe and then with the rest.

A return to violence by an ETA faction will not be tolerated by and large, even in the Basque country, as long as the negotiations alluded to above are ongoing. Give it at least 6 years: 2 to the next elections which Zapatero is now set to sweep nationally and a 4-year term after that. By the way, Basque regional elections will also happen inside of 2 years, and will have the flavour of a constitutional assembly election.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 23rd, 2006 at 02:55:57 AM EST
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