10 December 2008


Basque Info 9/12/08

Main news :

ETA kills a businessman involved in the construction of the High Speed Train.

Inazio Uria owner of the Altuna and Uria construction company was shot dead on Thursday in Azpeitia, Basque Country.

The 71 year old is one of the owners of Altuna and Uria one of the biggest construction companies in Gipuzkoa which owns many construction projects in the province, including the construction of the train tracks for the future high speed train.

The construction of the high speed train has created huge controversy in the Basque Country. This new project aims to connect France and Spain with a high speed train going through the Basque Country. Although politicians and business men believe that this would benefit the Basque Country, it would destroy the landscape, and would have huge negative socio economic implications.

This project has been rejected by a big section of Basque society and has been heavily criticized in the past by ETA. In fact the Basque armed organisation, has attacked the offices of the construction companies as well as their equipment involved in this project several times.

The killing has been condemned by politicians, trade unions and other institutions and have come out defending the high speed train project. Many protests have also taken place to condemn the killing.

Following Uria’s killing, the Spanish government has agreed to proceed to the banning of the remaining pro independence councils in the Basque Country.

Pro independence councils have refused to condemned the killing of Inazio Uria. Using this excuse, The Spanish right has been putting pressure on the government through the media to ban pro independence politicians from participating in councils in the Basque Country.

1,000 people rallied in Durango, near Bilbao, last Saturday against the High Speed Train. Two people blocked trains in Durango by locking themselves inside barrels of cement on Monday while supported by another 50 people. Basque-Spanish police charged against them and arrested two.

- The pro independence movement calls on all sectors of Basque society to look at ways of opening a new political cycle.

30 years after the Spanish Constitution was imposed upon Basques, the pro independence movement notes that it has no credibility what so ever in the Basque Country. On 6th December 1978, the Spanish Constitution was rejected by the majority of the Basques.

The pro independence movement, also acknowledges that they have a responsibility to propose an alternative and have called on all sectors of Basque society, specially the pro-independence ones, to debate and think about a common strategy to achieve a democratic scenario in the Basque Country.

-Etxerat, calls to unite forces around three basic demands.

The Basque Prisoners’ relatives group Etxerat, want to unite forces around three basic demands: the release of terminally ill prisoners, as well as the immediate release of the prisoners who have fully completed their sentence and still remain in jail. Finally they have demanded to repatriate all the Basque political prisoners to the Basque Country. Currently the over 750 prisoners are scattered over 100 French and Spanish prisons.

Culture News :

Thousands of people attend the annual Basque book and music fair.

All Basque music and books were present in the Durango fair. More than 300 stalls and over 150 participants took part in it.

This year was the 43rd edition of the fair and it has been hugely popular. This is a demonstration of the strength of Basque culture which suffered persecution and it’s still ignored by Spanish and French authorities.

The historic singer Mikel Laboa was remembered. The unusual but very popular Basque singer died earlier in the week.

According to the organizers the credit crunch had very little effect on sales.

You can listen to the music of one of the biggest sellers of this year, Gatibu, by logging here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdRVtiS1cWI

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