9 April 2008


Basque Info 8th April

- Only self determination can bring real political change in the Basque Country, says ETA.
-After 27 years on the run Basque political refugee Patxi Otaegi, aged 87, died last week in the north of the Basque Country from a heart attack.

-The leadership of the largest Basque trade union ELA has criticized the so called Basque Nationalist Party/PNV’s current position.


- Only self determination can bring real political change in the Basque Country, says ETA.

In its last statement ETA takes responsibility for the last 5 actions, including the killing of the Spanish Labour Party member Isaias Carrasco, who was killed on the eve of the March elections. The armed group also takes responsibility for the car bomb attack that destroyed the Spanish police station of Calahorra, as well as the explosions against courts and broadcasting aerials.

According to ETA, as long as the right to decide and territoriality are denied to Basque people there will not be any peace in the Spanish State.

In its statement ETA accuses the Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Zapatero of making a huge mistake by abandoning the negotiation process. It accuses the Spanish government of trying to weaken the pro independence movement, rather than looking for a meaningful solution to the conflict.

By imposing a state of exception against the Basque Country, the Labour government has become as bad as its predecessors Jose Maria Aznar and Felipe Gonzalez.
In the name of Spanish unity, anything is valid against independence.

ETA says that, following Zapatero’s victory in the March elections, he now has to look at the conflict in the Basque Country, because ETA will stay there as long as the conflict is not resolved. ETA makes it very clear that the Spanish state will not have political stability or peace until the right to self determination and territoriality are acknowledged in the Basque Country.

-After 27 years on the run Basque political refugee Patxi Otaegi, aged 87, died last week in the north of the Basque Country from a heart attack.

On Saturday his remains were brought back to his home town in the south of the Basque Country were hundreds of people took part in a popular homage.

At a highly emotional tribute-rally he was remembered for his commitment, developing the pro-independence movement in his home village and then for his firm beliefs and comradeship while on the run in the north of the Basque Country. While in the north he was attacked by the pro-Spanish paramilitaries and saw the killings of many of his comrades in the early 80’s.

During the commemoration, the banner that was put on stage alongside his remains said “Patxi, the best homage is victory”.

He is the second Basque political escapee to die this year away from home.

Around 2,000 Basque people are currently on the run due to Spanish and French repression.

-The leadership of the largest Basque trade union ELA has criticized the so called Basque Nationalist Party/PNV’s current position.

For the last months the PNV has been trying to reach an agreement with the Spanish government ruling Labour Party in an attempt to continue in power as usual, without resolving the political conflict.

The leader of the Trade union ELA has defended the need for all Basque nationalists to stand together in favour of a self determination platform.

In a similar way Batasuna, the pro-independence party that is currently banned, has criticized the Basque Nationalist Party by saying that after 30 years in power in the local government they haven’t done anything to resolve the conflict in terms of self determination. They have added that the PNV has not even responded to the proposal put forward by the pro-independence movement which looks at a united southern Basque Country with autonomy including the self determination right.

According to Batasuna the Basque Nationalist Party is in the middle of a structural crisis and doesn’t have anything to offer to the Basque people.

Pro-independence trade union LAB’s leader has also spoken in favour of unifying forces in favour of independence. He has said that resisting is not enough. It is essential to go further, to advance and to define the steps and strategies.

LAB’s leader has asked the Spanish government to use their new four year govwernment term to solve the conflict through dialogue and negotiation.

-A highly significant example of the Basque Nationalist Party’s current position came up last week. Bilbao’s PNV mayor Inaki Azkuna put up the Spanish flag outside the city hall. A move that has been heavily critiziced by many.

The pro-independence movement denounced that this didn’t happen since Franco times 33 years ago. 26 years ago the Spanish police did the same and every year since then the so called “war of flags” has provoqued huge riots.

Hundreds of people took part at a demonstration in Bilbao last Saturday to protest against the imposition of the Spanish flag.

At the end of the march representatives of the pro-independence movement said that once again it’s been showed that the so called Basque Nationalist Party is nothing else than a puppet in the hands of the Spanish government.

Pro-Spanish politicians said that the same will happen soon in Donostia/San Sebastian.


-Two Basque young people stood yesterday in a trial because they refused to consent to a DNA test. The two youths were arrested in the north of the Basque country by the French police while doing a graffiti in favour of Basque political prisoners.

The anti-repression group Askatasuna denounced the fact that these kind of tests were introduced with the excuse of being used in sexual attack cases but it has now being used against political opposition.

- The Basque Spanish police arrests 3 young people in the province of Gipuzkoa for taking part in street riots last October when the Spanish fascists came to Donostia/San Sebastian.

On Saturday 3 young people were arrested in different parts of Gipuzkoa. The arrests were in connection with street riots that took place last 12th of October when the Spanish Fascists decided to come to Donostia / San Sebastian as a show of strength. Basque young people took to the streets and rioted against the fascists causing over 100.000 euro worth damages according to Donostia City Council.

The 3 arrested were brought in front of the judge who charged them with public disorder.

The anti repression group Askatasuna, denounced these arrests and accused the Basque Spanish police of protecting and defending fascists when they come to the Basque Country. Fascists who claim to be racists, xenonophobic and Franquoist.

The Basque Spanish police defend fascists and oppress people in favour of independence, according to Askatasuna.

- The Spanish labour party wants Basque prisoners to rot in prison.

According to the anti repressive group Askatasuna, the PSOE is doing everything in its power to prevent Basque political prisoners from being released and to extend their sentences to spend life in prison.

That’s the case of Fernando Etxegarai, who was released in January of this year after being in jail for over 20 years. The Spanish authorities have now released an arrest warrant against him as they have decided to extend his sentence by 4 more years. According to Fernando Etxeragarai that is pure judiciary cruelty. This new policy has so far been applied to 26 Basque political prisoners.

Askatasuna denounced such prison policies, which aim to destroy the collective of prisoners and physically destroy its members. To protest against such policies, Askatasuna called on Basque citizens to demonstrate and mobilise over the weekend.

On Sunday citizens from Plentzia, Fernando Etxegarai’s home town, demonstrated to demand the end of life imprisonment for Basque prisoners. They showed solidarity with Fernando.

-The pro-independence movement in Leitza, 30 kilometres from Irunea/Pamplona, denounced the last Spanish police occupation of the town last week.

About a dozen of jeeps helped by many foot-patrol took over the town for one hour, harassing and identifying citizens in the streets.

The pro-independence movement said that it is clear who uses weapons to create fear among the civil population.

- Offices of the Basque Nationalist party has been attacked with Molotov cocktails and paints.

On Saturday night in Bilbo the office of the PNV was attacked as well as a cash machine causing material damages.

In Markina a small town in Bizkaia, another PNV office got attacked when strangers threw paint against the office. The attackers also graffitied “PNV let the Basque young people alone.”


- The town of Durango, commemorates the dead of 1937.

71 years ago last Monday, the town centre of Durango was bombed by Italian fascist planes.

On March 31st 1937 after the Spanish fascist coup against the republicans, Italian fascist released by air 11 tonnes of explosives in Durango causing nearly 300 deaths.
In the cemetery of Durango in front of the remembrance garden, citizens of Durango, commemorated the dead last Monday. They held a minute silence and laid reiths.

The mayor of Durango, highlighted the need for peace and reconciliation. Apart from remembering the dead he thought that such events can make young generations aware of past atrocities.

-The French State discriminates against minorities.

In a report carried out by United Nation experts regarding minorities, the commission has noted that the French State does not respect the cultural and language rights of minorities. According to the report, minority communities are victims of serious racial discrimination which is ingrained in mentalities and institutions. Therefore it has demanded to the French government to study the report and to adopt appropriate measures to redress the situation.

Paul Bilbao Director of the Basque Language Rights Watchdog said that this report is a huge slap in the Face for the French government. In the name of the French core values of freedom, equality and brotherhood huge differences are created and the rights of minorities are not respected. Bilbao has seen the report as very positive.

-The last worlwide controversy around the Olympic Games in China and the repression in Tibet has shown once again that the Basque conflict is part of the international agenda.

Hein Verbruggen, the President of the International Olympic
Committee's Co-ordination Commission, compared the issue of Tibetan independence to the independence movement in the Basque Country at a conference in Beijing on Thursday.

The statement was made to illustrate the point that the International Olympic Committee should not be involved in politics, and that it could not rule out a country's application to host the games because the country had
internal problems.

Verbruggen said that "in spite of all the criticism we get, I am not afraid to tell you that we will not speak out on political issues. If we look at the candidates for 2016, would the IOC be forced or obliged to speak out because Madrid is a candidate and the requests of the Basques to be independent from Spain?

No comments: