Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Basque Peace process update

by Alexandra in WMass Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 03:31:25 AM EST

Some recent development related directly and indirectly to the Basque peace process in Spain.

Navarra reassured?:

Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero with Nafarroa-Bai, deputy, Uxue Barkos on Wednesday April 26 2006. [update] Important clarification: Nafarroa-Bai (Navarre-Yes) is actually a coalition of Basque Nationalist parties (PNV, EA, Aralar)

From the diaries ~ whataboutbob


The secretary of state for Communication, Fernando Moraleda, has insisted that the future of Navarra will not form part of Basque peace talks, and president Zapatero, who met with Nafarroa-Bai MP Uxue Barkos earlier today, has said that he has not ruled out a meeting with Navarran president, Miguel Sanz, "when he recovers from his anxiety attack." Mr Sanz said yesterday that the peace process should be suspended following last weekend's violent episodes.

Mr Zapatero has now completed his round of meetings with representatives of all parliamentary parties following the announcement of the ceasefire, whom he thanked for their unanimous support and trust.

Meanwhile, Batasuna spokesman, Patxi Urrutia, has declared that Navarra is the "backbone" of the conflict, without which a solution "will not be possible." Mr Urrutia indicated that Batasuna will be organising a protest march in France under the slogan "Reunite Navarra to build a Basque homeland from the left." As far as Batasuna is concerned, "Navarra is the axis, the spinal column of Euskal Herria (the Basque homeland), without it Euskal Herria disappears from the map." Source


Basque nationalist sentenced to 15 months in prison:
 
Arnaldo Otegi

The Spanish National Court on Thursday found the prominent Basque nationalist politician Arnaldo Otegi guilty of praising terrorism and sentenced him to 15 months in prison and seven years and three months banned from voting, and from being a political candidate himself for prising terrorism in the tribute for dead ETA member José Miguel Beñaran Ordeñana, alias Argala on December 21, 2003.

The National Court gave the sentence to Arnaldo Otegi, leader of the outlawed Batasuna party and considered a key figure for possible peace talks between the Spanish government and the armed Basque group ETA, which declared a permanent cease-fire last month. Source


Update [2006-4-27 16:44:45 by Alexandra in WMass]: Thanks to Migeru's comments below here are some more specifics:
Otegi is a former ETA member and his role in the peace process is expected to be negotiating with the other Basque political parties on reconciliation and such like, while ETA negotiates with the National government on disarmament and the status of ETA prisoners. The apparent leader of ETA is Josu Ternera. Otegi (or batasuna generally) is not supposed to negotiate with the Spanish goverment: that's what ETA will do.
For more articles in English here are the google news search results. Le Monde has the French version of this news item.

I wonder what effect this may have on the peace process and how this fits into the internal Spanish politics.

For previous background on the Basque peace process and politics (updated):
* The lies of March 11 and the Basque situation. by ManfromMiddletown Wed Apr 12th, 2006
* Spanish-Basque peace process newsby whataboutbob Sat Apr 8th, 2006
* The Basque Political Spectrum by Migeru Mon Mar 27th, 2006
* Ser: 80% of Spaniards favor dialogue with ETA. by ManfromMiddletown, Mar 25th, 2006
* Basque peace process: from the horse's mouth by Migeru Thu Mar 23rd, 2006
* Breaking: ETA announces indefinite ceasefire by Migeru, Mar 22nd, 2006
These stories are also all in wiki now waiting for future additions...

Display:
And Alexandra is back ! A dull day finishing beautifully...

When through hell, just keep going. W. Churchill
by Agnes a Paris on Thu Apr 27th, 2006 at 12:23:37 PM EST
Thanks for the enthusiasm! ;-)
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Thu Apr 27th, 2006 at 02:02:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and it was genuine, si, si

When through hell, just keep going. W. Churchill
by Agnes a Paris on Thu Apr 27th, 2006 at 02:45:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Waiter, I'll have whatever she's having.

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 Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 05:46:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I recall Migeru or kcurie mentioning how there are still many long ago right wing hold-overs in the judiciary. I hope this decision was not by someone who had ulterior motives. Was it? Or was it a fair decision?

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Thu Apr 27th, 2006 at 02:19:13 PM EST
Otegi has a number of pending court cases mostly about "apology of terrorism". As the Attorney General (and the Audiencia Nacional or National Court) went out of their way to release him on bail two weeks ago after the  ceasefire was announced, I don't think this decision is politically motivated. Batasuna will protest vigorously now, just like the PP protested vigorously when Otegi (and two co-defendants) went free on bail.

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 Apr 27th, 2006 at 04:27:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This just in (El Pais):
The [National] Court sentences Otegi to 15 months in Prison, but the [State] Prosecutor will not request that he actually be sent to Prison

The Prosecutor announces that, for "reasons of prudence", the execution of the sentence will not be requested [...] given that the ruling can be appealed and the imprisonment is for less than 2 years.

Holy shit!

Just before the ceasefire, the Attorney General forced the previous Prosecutor at the Audiencia Nacional to resign, because of their constant disagreements. The timing was retrospectively criticized by the PP as layig the groundwork for releasing Otegi on bail after the ceasefire. This latest decision will only give the PP additional reason to protest.

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 Apr 27th, 2006 at 06:10:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow indeed. Every time I think I follow a new twist emerges.

Here's what I was able to find in English (from the  Basque News and Information Channel web site):

Arnaldo Otegi, who will have a leading role in any peace process with the Basque armed group ETA, because of Batasuna's links to the organisation, will be able to appeal the sentence, sources said.

Under Spanish law Otegi could be jailed pending an appeal but prosecutor Jesus Santos said he would not request this because he believes Otegi does not pose a flight risk.

Whether Otegi now goes to prison depends on whether he is considered dangerous by the public prosecutor while he prepares an appeal, judicial sources said.

Does that match what's reported in El Pais?

by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Thu Apr 27th, 2006 at 06:54:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, that is correct. If the public prosecutor agrees with the defence that there is no risk Otegi will flee, he won't go into prison.

That was exactly the reason given to allow him to go free on bail last time, and the reason why the previous Audiencia Nacional prosecutor was relieved of his duties.

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 Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 04:29:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Navarra has been the source of what I, wrapped in tinfoil, interpret as a campaign to derail the peace process even before it starts. Zapatero is yet to come before Parliament to seek its backing for direct talks with ETA, and is "verifying the ceasefire". In this context, there have been two disturbing developments in the past two weeks.

Two weeks ago, the UPN (Union of the navarran People, the Navarran branch of the PP) denounced that extortion letters had been sent by ETA to Navarran entrepreneurs after the ceasefire. It turned out that the letters were likely sent in February (dated "March") to four entrepreneurs politically close to the independentists, and in a complicit, non-threatening tone.

This week, there were two cases of "street violence" (in one of them, a business belonging to a UPN member was burnt down). The UPN claimed that the attacks had been ordered by ETA (it has long been established that street violence in the Basque country by nationalist youth is often not spontaneous, and is part of a campaign called Kale Borroka or "street fighting"). The president of the regional government of Navarra (UPN) went as far as to say that he had evidence of this from the security forces, but had to retract his statements yesterday after the central government came out strongly saying there was no evidence the attacks had been ordered by ETA. Batasuna even deplored the attacks in public statements (which is unheard of).

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 Apr 27th, 2006 at 04:20:08 PM EST
What does "verifying the ceasefire" entail?

The article I quoted mentioned "Mr Zapatero has now completed his round of meetings with representatives of all parliamentary parties following the announcement of the ceasefire, whom he thanked for their unanimous support and trust." Is that an overstatement in your opinion?

by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Thu Apr 27th, 2006 at 05:09:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, that's exactly what has happened. Zapatero has not med Batasuna as they are officially outlawed. The Basque regional president (Lehendakari: you must learn this tearm if you're supposed to know about Taoiseach) has run a similar series of meetings with basque parties, which were boycotted by the PP because Batasuna was not excluded.

Zapatero is expected to go before the Congress of Deputies in june and claim that "according to intelligence and the security forces" the activities of ETA have come to a complete standstill. He will then seek a vote authorising him to "talk" to 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 Thu Apr 27th, 2006 at 05:34:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You realize this is all carefully choreographed. He just reorganized his government to put people he completely trusts in charge of the Defence and Interior ministries. He has an ally of sorts in the Basque government, and he will seek to remove the only political obstacle which is a PP-aligned UPN government in Navarra.

Expect the Navarran campaign in 2007 to be vicious, with UPN running on a single point: that the rest of the parties intend to for a coalition to sell Navarra off to 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 Thu Apr 27th, 2006 at 05:37:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"You realize this is all carefully choreographed."

This is modern dance at it's best now all more comprehendible with your deciphering!! Thanks Migeru.

by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Thu Apr 27th, 2006 at 05:51:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some are even claiming that the coreography has already been decided. The peace process is just each one doing in the dacing what has been already agreed upon.

I think ZP is very smart and he would not get into it unless he knows exactly where he is going...and by the way, he has ver good intelligence...spanish intelligence on terrorism is brilliant...better than what the US could ever imagine...so I think he already knows what moviments will be harder for ETA and for Batasuna to make. Accepting a new confederal statute as the maximum aspiration is probably not the toughest thing for them to accept, since this is the maximum they are going to get.....filtrations that the status of Navrra could be the toughest pill to take for ETA may explain this movement of pieces in Navarra....but after all Navarra is the only  confederal territory in Spain..what would they like to change their status?

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 Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 06:51:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even if nothing has yet been decided, everyone is doing exactly what anyone would have predicted they would do, so nothing is surprising even if I still get infuriated by the PP and UPN and they get infuriated by the Attorney General. That is what I meant by choreographed. Almost like Intelligent Design ;-)

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 Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 06:56:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yes...and it looks like as if it has already been decided. Probably some hings have already been agreed upon...now we just have to expect that they will keep what they agreed.

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 Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 07:01:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not like we can't put forward reasonable guesses as to what ETA and ZP will agree to once they actually sit down to negotiate. It's the "negotiations" around the "Party table" in the "Basque scope of decision" that Ibarretxe will be "organizing" that are a complete crap shoot.

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 Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 07:23:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nafarroa-Bai (Navarre-Yes) is actuallya coalition of Basque Nationalist parties (PNV, EA, Aralar: see my diary on the basque political spectrum). Running together is the only way they could get one seat from Navarra in the national parliament. I would say their position on the status of Navarra can be at best ambiguous. Coming explicitly for Navarra being incorporated to the basque country is political suicide for them, though, and that position is taken by 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 Thu Apr 27th, 2006 at 04:23:45 PM EST
Thanks for all the comments I was hoping to get you and/or Kcurie to participate! I've updated the diary with some of your clarifications.
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Thu Apr 27th, 2006 at 05:02:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You could make the list of precious Basque diaries a little longer (look at the bottom of my political spectrum diary).

I'm thinking I should try to make a similar politcal spectrum diary about Navarra.

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 Apr 27th, 2006 at 05:07:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Er... 'previous', not 'precious'.

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 Apr 27th, 2006 at 05:08:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You must be reading my mind. I just noticed that I had missed the other Basque related diaries and was going to add them to the list on this diary & in wiki.

As for Navarra, as I looked over the political spectrum diary again I came to the conclusion that I need to understand the Navarra situation some more. I didn't realise when I posted this diary the first time that  Nafarroa-Ba was a coalition of Basque nationalist parties (sort of changes the context once you understand that!). So if you write a Navara political spectrum diary I can guarantee one avid reader here.

by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Thu Apr 27th, 2006 at 05:14:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ManfromMiddletown is fond of mentioning the fact that Navarra retained self-government until the 18th century, and that the fueros (royal charter) were allowed to stand by Franco. This is because Navarra was a hotbed of Carlism (Traditionalist Royalist Catholic nationalism) and sided with Franco during the Civil War (unlike Biscay and Guipuzcoa).

The leading party in Navarra is UPN (Union of the Navarran People), originally (around 1990 I believe) a splinter group of PP but so much more successful that it is again the PP's branch in Navarra but now under the name UPN.

Just today, at the same time as reassuring Navarra that they won't be "a token of exchange" in the peace process, Zapatero stressed that the PSOE will seek to unseat UPN from the regional government in 2007, for which they would need a [government, not electoral] coalition with both Na-Bai and the Navarran United Left (Communist).

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 Apr 27th, 2006 at 05:25:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Zapatero stressed that the PSOE will seek to unseat UPN from the regional government in 2007"

I now follow the resulting complications!

by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Thu Apr 27th, 2006 at 05:44:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let me give you his words... (paraphrased by La vanguardia)
It's a different issue [from Navarra being at stake in the peace process] that the socialist atempt to unseat UPN from the [regional] presidency at the next [Navarran] Autonomous [Community elections].

... but this [agreement against the nationalist demands] does not mean that they [the Government] will attend to the demands of [Navarran president] Sanz: a constitutional change is not foreseen and, even less, will they give up on ruling Navarra if possible.

Sanz has demanded that the Spanish Constitution be reformed (there is a provision allowing Navarra to change its legal status via popular referendum, which Sanz is insinuating could be used to annex Navarra to the Basque country). I expect UPN to claim that Zapatero's refusal to undertake this reform is evidence of nefarious intent.

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 Apr 27th, 2006 at 06:02:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ManfromMiddletown is fond of mentioning the fact that Navarra retained self-government until the 18th century, and that the fueros (royal charter) were allowed to stand by Franco. This is because Navarra was a hotbed of Carlism (Traditionalist Royalist Catholic nationalism) and sided with Franco during the Civil War (unlike Biscay and Guipuzcoa).

Hey now ;) you get your kicks from prime numbers, for me its the protoconstutionalism on fueros that gets me excited.  The UPN is a seperate party from the PP in the same way the the CSU is to the CDU in Germany.  Navarra is extremely unique in the extent to which it retained political autonomy even while Franco was in power.  The thing about Navarra is that in the mountains in the north it's basically an extension of th Basque country, being heavily Basque, and basque nationalist voters.  

In Pamplona, there's more since of Navarra(Nafarroa) as an identity, while the Ribera, the souther part of the province near the Ebro is heavily Spanish and is similiar to La Rioja.  Navarra is a distinct identity seperate from the Basque identity, althought Pamplona has been a hotbed for Batasuna and ETA as the Basque country proper got too hot to handle.  I don't think you can understand the seriously militaristic overtones that lie just below the surface in Navarra, until you been there for a while.  Security is much, much tighter around government buildings in Pamplona than in Madrid or even San Sebastian.  The always have armored vehicles outside the regional parliament, or at least did when I was there.  24 hour guard, with Kalashnikovs no less.  

Distinctly unsettling.  

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 Thu Apr 27th, 2006 at 11:02:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The UPN is a seperate party from the PP in the same way the the CSU is to the CDU in Germany.
Yup, the interesting thing is that after the initial split the PP tried to compete with UPN in Navarra and failed miserably.

I see the Catalan Socialists (PSC) moving ina similar direction with respect to the PSOE [which is already a "federal" party, by the way]. In fact, the Catalan senators were not elected for PSC/PSOE but for Entesa Catalana de Progrès (Catalan Progressive Entente) which includes ERC and IC/Verts, the same parties making up the Catalan government right now.

The thing about Navarra is that in the mountains in the north it's basically an extension of th Basque country, being heavily Basque, and basque nationalist voters.  
Navarra may well be, like Batasuna says, the backbone of the Basque question, because it has strong Basque nationalism of the PNV/ETA variety (still only about 10% of the vote, though), strong traditionalist Basque nationalism (Carlism), and then Spanish parties. The UPN situation is an alliance of convenience where the Spanish centralists join the Navarran right-wing foralists because they can't beat them.

YOu know more than I do about Navarra since you actually lived there [right?], so maybe you should be the one to write the Navarran diary. Or maybe we should keep the current successful format where I write the diary to inform myself and you poke holes in it desde la barrera.

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 Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 04:42:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This
Arnaldo Otegi, leader of the outlawed Batasuna party and considered a key figure for possible peace talks between the Spanish government and the armed Basque group ETA
is wrong.

Otegi is a former ETA member and his role in the peace process is expected to be negotiating with the other Basque political parties on reconciliation and such like, while ETA negotiates with the National government on disarmament and the status of ETA prisoners. The apparent leader of ETA is Josu Ternera. Otegi (or batasuna generally) is not supposed to negotiate with the Spanish goverment: that's what ETA will do.

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 Apr 27th, 2006 at 04:30:44 PM EST


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]