22 August 2006


The process in the Basque Country is "in a situation of evident crisis" due to "the mean attitude of the political parties," Basque armed organization ETA said in a statement published in the pro-independence daily Gara.

ETA accused the ruling Spanish Workers' Socialist Party (PSOE) and the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV, in power in the so called Basque Autonomous Region), of "distorting and emptying the process of its contents."

The statement in Gara, normally used to publish claims by the armed Basque group, said that the two parties "are trying to build a process in line with their interests and their needs."

After having observed for nearly five months a permanent ceasefire that it decreed on March 22, the organization considers that the political parties "have not lived up to their responsibility."

"Instead of taking in-depth measures to feed this process and to build a democratic framework in the Basque country, they have acted blindly to wear down the positions of the Basque pro-independence left," ETA said.

A repressive attitude was "incompatible with the development of a negotiating process," it added, referring to the arrests of more than 50 people said to be close to or members of ETA since the cease fire was declared .

"If the attacks against Euskal Herria (the Basque Country) continue, ETA will reply," the group warned.

It claimed that "political, military and economic oppression" against the Basque Country was ongoing and that France and Spain "continue to use all their repressive machinery against the pillars that transform us into a nation."

ETA announced a "permanent ceasefire" in March and Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero three months later said discussions would open soon with the separatist organization.

Well informed sources assured that negotiations between ETA and the Spanish goverment went ahead for 8 months until last February when an agreement was reached. ETA agreed to call a permanent ceasefire while the Spanish government agreed to make public their respect to the Basque citizens' decissions on their future. They also agreed to not to arrest any activist.


The Basque political prisoner Iñaki de Juana Chaos, who was to be released
on the 9th of February because he finished his 18-year sentence, heard on the 10th of January that he would not be released.

De Juana wrote 2 opinion articles in the leftwing Basque newspaper GARA, for which he now is accused of being 'ETA-member' and 'making terrorist threats' being in jail for what he could get another sentence of 96 years.

De Juana was convicted for 'helping' in an attack in 1986 in Madrid were 12 members of the Guardia Civil were killed and because being member of the Madrid Comando
of ETA.

Now when he had to be released after finishing his sentence, Spanish government tries to avoid his release acussing him of being ETA menber and making threats from because he denounces his situation publicly.

In this situation DE JUANA CHAOS decided to start a HUNGER STRIKE 11 days
ago. A hunger strike he sais will be till the end.

He has already lost 10 kilos as his relatives saw in their last weekend visit. They have to travel every weekend for more than 2,500 kilometres to get a 40 minutes visit. Thousands of Basque Political Prisoners' relatives have to do long distances aswell every weekend. This dispersal policy designed by the PSOE Spanish government at the end of the 80's has killed already 16 relatives in the roads. 22 political prisoners have died in prison because of this criminal jail policy.

A similar case is that of the Basque political prisoner Edorta Sainz-
Lobato, who should have been released on 13 January after 17 years, but on
orders of judge Javier Gomez-Bermudez had to stay behind bars until the
'measures of shortening the sentence' are fully investigated.

It is no coincidence; the Spanish juridical system and the Spanish Minister
of Internal Affairs Jose Antonio Alonso look for measures to prevent Basque
political prisoners to be released after serving their sentence. The Spanish
Minister of Justice Juan Fernando Lopez-Aguilar said 'they are not to be
released before they shown remorse'. At this moment there are 100 Basque
political prisoners who can be released according to the Spanish law, after
serving ¾ of their sentence. Also the shortening measures won by working in
the prison or good behaviour work not for them. Another example is Filipe
Bidart, who was due for release in February 2003. At this moment there is a
campaign for his release, among other through the Basque website

As Etxerat, the Basque political prisoners' relatives organization, pointed yesterday the prisoners are political hostages in the hands of the Spanish and French states. Indeed, due to some legal reforms introduced six months ago prisoners who already did their time (18, 19 or even 20 years) have been kept in jail and got new dates of release wich go to 2017 or 2018.

Batasuna leader voices "worry" for socialists' "lack of maturity"

Likewise, outlawed Batasuna spokesman has regretted the attempts of the
Socialist Party to "distort" the contents of a future agreement for
political normalisation. [image: Arnaldo Otegi and Rufi Etxeberria] Arnaldo
Otegi and Rufi Etxeberria

Banned BATASUNA spokesman, Arnaldo Otegi, has voiced today his "worry" for
the development of the peace process due to the "lack of maturity and
responsibility of socialist leaders. In his opinion, they try to "distort"
the contents of a future agreement for political normalisation in the Basque

Otegi, who offered a press conference in Donostia-San Sebastián alongside
party member Rufi Etxeberria, has said nobody can believe that in the talks
with socialists preceding the cease-fire Navarre region was not taken as
part of the peace process, or that leftwing nationalism swore allegiance to
the Spanish Constitution, as some socialist leaders pretend to affirm.

Likewise, he has voiced his will to work for a compromise within the next
few weeks to start a multiparty dialogue that doesn't exclude territories
and respects the will of Basques.

2 August 2006


At a press conference Otegi, Batasuna's spokeman, said that all conditions needed to set a parties' dialogue table on next autumn. He revealed that after having meetings during the last couple of weeks with all political parties (except the pro-Spanish and French right wing ones), trade unions and social organizations in the Basque Country all agree with this analysis.

He criticized PSOE for being the only one disagreeing and asking Batasuna to move and legalize. Batasuna says the main debate now is how to go ahead with the dialogue table and that it's not time to set conditions and obstacles in this way. We must remember that Batasuna is nowadays an illegal political party after PSOE and PP launched the so called Political Parties Law. That law was set to ban Batasuna. This is why, as many parties have claimed, is up to the Spanish government to sort this antidemocratic situation. Batasuna has denounced once and again the continues bids from PSOE to delay the process.

Otegi added that the pro-independence movement's goal in this political process is to achieve a situation where the Basque Country will be able to decide about her future in a free and peaceful way.

When he was asked about the PP's position attacking the process he said that they don't have the veto right and compared them to the unionists in Ireland.


On June 29th President Zapatero made a statement in one of the lounges of the Spanish Parliament. It was spread at length.In this information we compile the different reactions to this statement and its different interpretations so that our readers can drawn their own conclusions.

Zapatero's statement in the Parliament lounge

It was a relevant eagerly waited and largely announced political act.On June 29 Zapatero announced in a Parliament lounge his readiness to dialogue with ETA.The message touched two important questions: on one hand, the government officially announced the beginning of the talks; on the other hand, he assured that "the government will respect the decisions taken by the Basque citizens ". The statement was bound to be said with the usual dressing: defence of the current political frame, the high degree of self-government that we Basque people enjoy, disqualification of the violent response, the Constitution as the limit to any change, there will not be any political price for peace. In order to reach what he called "great political agreement on coexistence"Zapatero fixed three criterion: maximum possible consensus , respect to the political plurality in Euskadi and equal opportunities". Then he detailed three rules: "democratic will, subject to legality and a wide political agreement which includes the pluralism of the Basque society ". He directly addressed to this society when he stress that "peace is our common task; peace will be strong if it has deep social roots; political, social and union agents must reach agreements to establish a coexistence frame based on dialogue".

Reactions to the statement Basque Autonomous Government.

It express its satisfaction at the Spanish president statement and on its opinion is to be regretted that the Spanish president was no as receptive as now when the Basque president present his conflict resolution plan, the Ibarretxe Plan, in this same Spanish parliament.The parties that take part in the tripartite Basque government positively received the statement, but with some nuances: "the terminology and the concepts are calculatedly ambiguous. At the end of this process the recognition of a new political subject -the Basque people- has to arise" (PNV). "It means implicitly recognizing the Basque citizens right to decide their future". (EA) "The wish to promote a political agreement is a big advance. There is no reason for not starting the parties table on next autumn" (Ezker Batua). The socialist family addressed to all the Basque parties: "It is time for responsibility. It is generating expectations. I hope the political parties rise to the occasion in order to look for a common factor " (Socialist Party of Euskadi). "If we do not try to find a solution now the society would never forgive us" (Socialist Party of Navarra). "France is also engaged because there are prisoners in France and because the issue affects French institutions" (French Socialist Party). The Basque trade unions: "It is a good new. The government must take steps in key of easing of tension so that the process gains credibility " (ELA). "We receive very well the start of dialogue with ETA because it is another sep towards the political normalization inEuskadi" (CCOO de Euskadi). "It is a very important sep. We are prepared and we engage to contribute to it " (UGT of Euskadi).The independentist trade union LAB assessment is that "Zapatero's statement is a very important qualitative sep forward; since the transition we have never listened this kind of words from a Spanish president. Nevertheless, it has to be very clear the any legality should be the containment wall of the Basque's will" The bellowing of the right wing who reacted at once: "ThePP can not give its support to the government so that it talks with ETA or withBatasuna. Talking with Batasuna means talking with ETA, and therefore the terrorists should have won" (PP). "The president of the government has gone today much more far than we expected, he has given his approval to the right of self -determination and to independence. In the History of the Basque country today starts a black moment. Future is not hopeful at all" (PP of the Basque Country). "This is a very sad and fateful day; we have witnessed today the capitulation of Spain. Terrorist have won because we the democrats have been defeated" (Unióndel Pueblo Navarro). "The terrorist today are having a wonderful day; 38 years of crimes, threatens and blackmail have given them the fruits they wanted" (Victims of Terrorism Association).

The international scene applauds the statement.

Many and varied voices gave their support to this step: "We express our hope that this dialogue leads to a definitive arrangement" (Jaques Chirac). "Only through dialogue and keeping the cease-fire it would be possible to find a lasting solution" (Tony Blair). "It is now essential that the Basque left has an electoral political tool to defend its position at the polls" (ERC)) Batasuna. On June 29 it made its first assessment: "this is a positive statement and has a big political importance. The Spanish president promised to respect the will of the Basque people. This is a basic concept for the ongoing political process".

On June 30 Batasuna makes its own solemn statement that in a wider and more precise way shows its position. Batasuna considers that "president Zapatero's statement is extremely important. His statement is a democratic triumph of the Basque Country and its citizenry as a whole. After long years of conflict, Madrid recognizes that negotiation is the tool to reach the solution and that solution has to be based on the world and the decision of the Basque people. The engagement, the generosity and the capacity for the fight had turned out to be basic. Batasuna thanks its militants for their steady answer to aggressions as well as for their defense of the Basque prisoners and against ilegalization. Towards the future, the key to reach the eagerly awaited solution lies in the work of the Basque agents, and this is the reason why Batasuna underlines that it is necessary that the citizenry gets involved".