16 January 2007

STEP BY STEP,ASKAPENA's Informative Service N. 161

(In www.askapena.org you can see more information about Iñaki De Juana's letter, the FRIENDSHIP GROUP's Open Letter to the European Union "TOWARDS THE PEACE PROCESS IN THE BASQUE COUNTRY", and about the demostration in Donostia with images of the violent police repression)


For the last three months there have been crossed declarations between the Spanish government and Batasuna, being both completely different. From August the Basque left separatist party has been continuously declaring that the process was in crisis. On that very same month ETA itself had made clear that the agreements that had made possible the cease of fire were not being respected, and as a result of this situation the agreements were not being fulfilled.

In the same way ETA declared that it would answer any aggression made by the Spanish state. This speech did not coincide with the messages of the Spanish government and its partners, the Basque right wing. These last ones repeated once and again that the process was on the right path. It is not possible to consolidate a peace process when one of its parts respects the cease of fire, while the other one is doing just the opposite, by pursuing its interlocutors.

At the beginning of December, it was obvious that something very serious had happened: even the Basque right wing did accept that there was a crisis going on. The pro independence Basque left wing was more explicit: in a tone of great preoccupation, warned once and again that the process was failing, or had already failed. Being so close to a clash, new initiatives and voices started to ask loudly that the dialogue should be restablished.

The Government answered making use of its usual repressive ways. ETA answered with the aggression in Madrid to the multiple aggressions that an wide sector of the Basque society was suffering. On the 30th December, a high power bomb made explosion destroying the Terminus number 4 at the airport of Barajas in Madrid.

Even if the ETA activists informed once and again of the situation one hour before the explosion, in order to avoid unnecessary victims, two Ecuadorian immigrants died as a result of the explosion.The armed action by ETA originated a miscalculation on the plans by the Spanish government, since 24 hours before, Zapatero had explained that there had been some kind of contact with ETA, and he officially commented that things were going all right and that after one year everything should be much better. It was evident that the pretended optimism did not coincide with the previous confrontation that had happened at the back stage. The kind of the action has also put an end to the modus operandis by the armed band itself, since ETA has usually communicated the end of the cease of fire.

The first reactions.

First time political reactions were both confusing and contradictory. From Spain the right wingers were asking to stop any sort of contacts and to go back to the Anti-terrorist deal between the Spanish PSOE and PP. The government from Madrid changed its speech: at a first moment showed its intention of cancelling the contacts with ETA. The Spanish right wing understood this reaction as a defeat of the government, since it meant that there was a chance for the continuation of the negotiation process.

In the Basque Country the message was not so catastrophist. The Basque pro-independence left wing made very clear that the process was not broken and that it was more indispensable than never before. Some other open minded sectors within the Basque society were of the same opinion and asked to take action immediately in order to active the process.

Change of strategies.

The Spanish right wing reassured itself in its appeal for a "crusade" against the pro independence Basque left wing, in the meantime the Basque left wing asked to behave with responsibility, establishing new and solid bases in order to re-establish the dialogue.

The PSOE has once again been influenced by the pressure made by PP. As the time went on PSOE's initial strategy: it did start to declare that the process was not valid any longer. The Basque right wing, as it has been doing for these last months aligned itself with the belligerent speech of PSOE. A sector within the Basque right wing PNV presumed that there was nothing to be talked to Batasuna, and even less to ETA.The PSOE had designed a mass media campaign in order to spread a message that could not launch earlier, because ETA had not announced the end of the cease of fire. This strategy has meant that the PSOE has been overshadowed by the circumstances and the image of control of the situation. In the same way PSOE has suffered an electoral setback in relation to PP.

The bases of this mass media campaign are the following ones: the peace process has been definitely broken off and ETA is the only responsible for this situation. The time for dialogue has come to an end and repression and isolation have to be reactivated. The methods for this mass media campaign are the usual ones: the using of the deaths caused by the attack against Barajas in the media in order to call for people's demonstrations in order to condemn those ones making use of violence, to take advantage of the fact that both victims were immigrants in order to discredit the Basque left wing at a national and international level by making influence on the immigrant federations asking them to position themselves against the Basque left wing, to group all the political parties so that they should agree the aggression that they are planning, to demand that Batasuna and the Basque pro independence left wing should be illegal as long as they do not condemn violence.

They are ready for anything, but not to reflect calmly on the situation, trying to change its direction. The PSOE has clearly shown its intentions: as it has been impossible for it to seduce "the beast" now it wants to use violence against it, in this way PSOE wants to let clear to all the Basque citizens what kind of future they may expect if they do not follow the path for surrender.

It has been shown that PSOE has no political will in order to find a solution for the conflict, on the contrary, it has mere political interests, since its only aim is to win the next elections, even if they have to forget peace and democracy.

A crusade full of disagreements.

At the time of punishing the Basque left wing there are important disagreements between "the crusades". The government's intention is to reach an agreement between al the so called "democratic" parties, but PP does not accept any other consensus that is not within The Deal against Terrorism, according to its point of view any political party interested should sign on that deal.

On the other hand PSOE wants to reach a new agreement previously agreed by the rest of the parliamentary forces. Those political parties do happily agree to take part in the crusade. In the former days the demonstrations called to reject ETA have clearly shown this internal confrontation.

Between the political parties in Euskal Herria the internal division is pretty evident. Within the PNV, the sector under the control of President Ibarretxe has decided to organise a demonstration in support of "peace and dialogue". The Basque PP has declined the invitation to go to that demonstration. The Basque PSOE has criticised the way and the content of this call but it has confirmed its presence. The sector within the PNV closer to PSOE has finally but reluctantly accepted the proposal, since this sector would have preferred more explicit condemnations. The so called democratic parties want to change the motto of the demonstration including a repudiation of ETA, in order to avoid that Batasuna itself should assume and take part in the demonstration.

In this complicated context, on the 8th January Batasuna asked ETA to fulfil the cease of fire. ETA in a press release on 9th January accepts the invitation by Batasuna, criticises the attitude of PSOE and of part of PNV and makes clear that it does not give up its right to answer any aggressions against Euskal Herria.If this all had happened in Ireland it may have been said that the Sinn Fein had an influence on the armed organisation. Here, since we are pretty special, it has been understood just the opposite, this is that Batasuna is under the control of ETA.

Euskal Herria, 10th January 2007. info@askapena.org // www.askapena.org

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