Basques warn tourists: do not come to Spain this summer

The Basque terrorist organisation, ETA; has issued a warning to tourists that it will not be safe to go to Spain this summer, because tourist resorts are going to be bombed as part of acampaign to force the Spanish authorities to make concessions.

The Basque country is deeply divided between the independence and integration factions. Independent reports state that only around 30% of the total population of the Basque country would vote for total independence. However, these figures are refuted by the pro-independence Basque political parties.

Politically, the Basque country is divided between the national Spanish parties, PP (Popular Party, government) and the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE, Opposition) on the integration side and four political parties who claim for independence. These are the PNV (Basque National party), PSB (Basque Socialist Party), EH (Euskal Herritarok, closely linked to ETA, formerly named Herri Batasuna) and EA (Eusko Alkartasuna).

The PNV holds a position in favour of independence, but rejecting the use of violence. The Lehendakari (the Head of the Basque government), Juan Josй Ibarretxe, leader of the PNV, said :

“You cannot take the life of a human being just because he does not agree politically”.

The PNV and Eusko Alkartasuna enter the forthcoming Basque elections as a coalition. However, if as it has been rumoured, the twio Spanish nartional parties (PP and PSOE) present a common front within the Basque country, although this would be a historical situation for two arch-rivals in the rest of the country, it would mean that PNV and EA together would not receive enough votes.

Juan Josй Ibarrexe has stated that he is not against a coalition with Euskal Herritarok, but that first this party would have to clearly denounce violence. He sais that the Basques did not ask ETA, the terrorist organisation to abandon its campaign for an independent Basque country, but that ETA’s actions should always be within a political framework. He accused Euskal Herritarok of giving political coverage to ETA’s acts of violence, rather than presenting a political programme to contribute to the process.

“When Euskal Herritarok becomes a political force which is independent from ETA and defends its project in an exclusively political and democratic context, it will be able to operate within the framework of a normal political dialogue”.

The Basque country is as deeply divided politically as it is geographically, since not only does it straddle the border in southern France and northern Spain but also, there is an argument between the various Basque factions whether of not the Basque Country includes the province of Navarra.

It is this division which has seen this struggle continue for so long. Certainly there are no signs that the independence movement is dying, quite the contrary. However many arrests are made by the Spanish authorities, the youth movement (Jarrai) steps in with ever-increasing numbers of volunteers.

The Basque question will not go away. The question for Madrid is that whatever it does will never satisfy all the population of the Basque Country. Even if those advocating violence are in a minority, guns speak louder than words.


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