EUSKAL HERRIA Step by Step
ASKAPENA's information service, Nº 186
The previous phase is over. The Spanish government neither wanted to negotiate nor knew how to do it. They put the process under so much strain, and so many times, that they managed to broke it. Two negotiating sides (PSOE and PNV) left the negotiating table letting the third one down. Unilaterally ETA decided to finish the truce unilaterally declared by them. The government get back in the failed path of repression, and they dream about reaching a new Anti-terrorist Pact.
The ones who conspire to block the process see their aim reached. The ones who worked hard to get a solution are already suffering the breaking-off consequences. The ones who dreamt about new times feel disappointed and frustrated. Some essential questions raise in this context: And, now? The opportunity we had is definitively lost? We will go back to the starting point in order to start again?
In the following lines we will try to answer these questions. The path we have walked during these year is not useless. It is not possible to go back to the starting point. Even though the phase ended without reaching an agreement, the process keeps on and will keep on. The solution is still far, but more and more closer. Our aim is not short term, we have not give up hope, and these are the information our conviction is based on.
The Spanish society
It fells more and more less motivated in keeping endlessly the confrontation. Due to the long years of the conflict and the different repressive failure strategies, it become convinced that something must be done. According to opinion tolls, more and more Spanish people agree to try new ways leading to resolution. The ones who supported a total war (PP) did not get during the last elections the good results they expected to get. The ones who supported a combined war (PSOE and their servants) did not get good results either. Nobody won; it was their rotten democracy that lost more as it gets more and more abstention.
The Basque society.
The Basque soceity is also very tired seeing that the years pass, and the conflict is unsolved. ETA's violence is strongly criticized by the Basque society, and more and more, State violence too. The ones who support State violence (PNV) were punished by the electorate. The Basque society increasingly think that the so-call transition was a deception and that the autonomic model was a trap; they feel that it is necessary to advance towards a new frame, that our lives and our future is being decided in Madrid regardless of the choice of our people, they feel that there is not separation of powers in Spain, that Euskal Herria is not able to choose.
The number of people who agree to talk with ETA in order to reach an agreement is growing, and so the number of people thinking that it is a political problem that needs political solutions; many people think that the Parties Law means coming back to Franco times and the illegalization process is absolutely unfair. There are also people who hope to recover the Anti-terrorist Pacts against the Basque left, but they are fewer and fewer, and less convinced: previous experience confirmed that these pacts are useless.
The Basque left
They have showed themselves to have an unimaginable capacity to survive. Their leaders are in prison, their headquarter are closed down, their funding are cut, their party is illegalised, their demonstrations are repressed, their activists are marked people? Their predictions and wills are not fulfilled. It is not a majority force, but it is not unimportant either. This force has shown capacity to survive, to regenerate, to renew its leadership, to have a bearing on the political life, to adapt to new situations, to offer political alternatives...
The reason for its strength is clear: the people belonging to it are coherent, and its proposals agree with the will of the people. Anoeta's Proposal (two negotiating tables as a resolution method) any the Anaitasuna Proposal (a self-government for the four territories [within the Spanish State], where the will of the citizens is respected and the pro-independence possibility is not rejected) are ratified. The Basque Left repeat that dialogue and acceptance of the majority's will is the only alternative.
Internationalisation of the conflict
Important steps have been taken in this field, and this conflict has more and more space in the international agendas: the Vatican, the European Union, UN General Secretary mentioned the situation we are living. Many important international voices established guidelines: "It is necessary to pass from the dialogue phase to substantial negotiations" (Nelson Mandela); "Only if all the sides, in equal conditions, are present at the negotiation table, fruitful negotiations are possible" (Gerry Adams); "Dialogue and negotiation are the only tool able to resolve political problems and to build a real peace" (Statement made by six personalities who supported the process); "Conditions must be created so that all the sides take part in the process...It is necessary to deal with the roots of the conflict in order to reach a lasting solution" (Roelf Meyer, South Africa Ministry of Defence during the years when apartheid was overcome); "Try to end up a conflict by repression means to make it even harder" (Matteo Zuppi, San Egidio Community, specializing in mediation).
The meetings that marked the end of negotiations took place at the end of May, and at the same table where ETA and the Spanish government were seated, a large international representation was also present.
In this crucial moment, sad and tense moments too, there are some facts that become more and more clear for the Basque society: The only alternative to process is more process. We are in one point where the dialogue process relies on a more and more solid social base. These months of intense political dialogue have been extremely important for all the ones who take part in it. The agreement has not been reached, but the work shared with the adversary has not been useless.
Even though PSOE had a negative attitude, they know that there is not another way to solve the conflict but to initiate it again. If in a time they though that superficial solutions would work to solve the conflict, now they know that it is useless. The ones committed to the process we need perseverance and courage to keep on persisting with it despite all the opposition and aggressions. The present breaking-off is neither an irreversible end nor a back to the starting point.