26 May 2009


Basque Info 26/05/09

-Extensive interview with ETA.

During an interview published by the Basque newspaper Gara on Monday ETA says that “our weapons will be laid down when all political projects will have the opportunity to become reality, including independence.”

According to ETA, the Spanish and French states attack the Basque pro-independence movement in order to stop the engine for political change and sovereignty.

ETA says that a new negotiation process depends on the will of the states to respect equal opportunities and civil and political rights in the Basque Country. Before sitting at the negotiation table ETA believes that all those who are in favour of the Basque Country’s democratic rights should reach a basic agreement.

ETA calls once again upon these forces to come together and put in practice an efficient strategy to achieve a democratic scenario. ETA goes on to state that the current standstill situation can only be overcome in this way.

-Dirty war behind Jon Anza’s disappearence.

Basque political refugee and former prisoner Jon Anza remains missing since the 18th of April. In a statement released last week ETA claims Jon Anza is a member of the armed organization and accuses the Spanish and French police of being involved in his disappearance. ETA says he was on his way to a meeting with other militants but he never arrived. According to ETA the police knew he was an ETA member after they discovered his finger prints on some computers seized in January.

Last Saturday 1,300 people took to the streets in the northern town of Baiona/Bayonne to protest against Jon’s kidnapping and asking for his release.

-Successful general strike.

Despite the bosses and governments’ threats, police repression and media boycott thousands upon thousands of workers took part in the general strike in the southern Basque Country last Thursday. The general strike had been called by the mayority of Basque trade unions. These trade unions are working-class minded, against social partnership and for self-determination.

Large demonstrations were held in the main cities at mid-day and in dozens of towns across the country in the evening. The day’s main slogans were in favour of a fair social and economic model and against the bosses blackmailing. According to the trade unions the capitalist crisis should be paid by those who created it and not by the workers, unemployed, pensioners, women, students, inmigrants...

The general strike was branded as a success by the trade unions and as a first step in a series of fights for different economy policies.

-Internationalist Iniciative will stand in elections.
Despite the Spanish government’s bids to ban the left wing electoral platform Internationalist Initiative late on Thursday night the Constitutional Court ruled against the previous Supreme Court decission and allowed them to take part in the next European elections.

The latter decission came as a surprise move although many pointed out at the lack of evidence against the platform and the possibility the first decission being rejected by the European Court.

The pro-independence left called upon those who want a democratic resolution to the Basque conflict and a socialist Europe to vote for Internationalist Initiative-The solidarity of the peoples.

-End of prisoners protest.

The Basque political prisoners held in the southern Spanish jail of Algeciras ended the dirty protest they started at the end of April. The protests started with a 2-day hunger strike to protest against beatings and isolation and escalated to a dirty protest and locking up in their cells. The prison director responded by transfering some of the prisoners to other jails.

In a statement the Algeciras Basque political prisoners said: “What does a person have to loose when imprisoned at 1,200 kilometres from home, kept in solitary confinment and denied his dignity?”

Now they’ve finished their protests they’ll think over the new situation and take decissions upon it.

-Protest against torture.

Hundreds of people protested against torture in Gasteiz/Vitoria last Saturday. They also showed support for the twelve local youth who are being tried by the Spanish National Court in Madrid this week. All of them were brutally tortured while incommunicado. The pictures of one of the arrested, Unai Romano, were published and pasted on walls all over the Basque Country shocking Basque society.

-Spanish spies expeled.

Last week Cuba expeled 3 Spanish agents who had been doing surveillance work on Basque political refugees in the island for the last few years. News about more activities of this kind being held by the Spanish secret services in Venezuela were also reported.

19 May 2009


Basque Info 19/05/09

- Spanish government bans left wing European electoral platform.

In a historic development, “Internationalist Initiative – The solidarity of the peoples” was launched a few weeks ago as a joint platform of Spanish left wing parties and several pro-independence movements within the Spanish state.

Following in the steps of their repression of the Basque pro-independence movement, the Spanish government has now decided to ban the platform. Internationalist Initiative’s head candidate for the European elections is prestigious Spanish playwright Alfonso Sastre. 83 year-old Sastre is probably the most prolific Spanish language writer alive and has been living in the Basque Country and supporting the pro-independence movement there for the last 30 years.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Esquisavel has addressed a public letter to the Spanish prime minister asking him not to breach the right to freedom of speech and information.

-Basque political refugee missing.

Last Friday the anti-repression group Askatasuna and relatives of Jon Anza held a press conference to denounce his disappearance. Jon Anza was in jail for 21 years and 6 years ago he exiled himself in the north of the Basque Country. He went missing on the 18th of April and worst concerns came up on the 24th when he didn’t attend his appointment with a doctor who is treating him from cancer.

Due to the history of state directed dirty war and the previous disappearance of other refugees in the 80’s there is serious concern about what could have happen to Jon Anza.

-28 years in prison.

Basque political prisoner Jon Agirre entered his 29th year in jail last week. He should have been released several years ago according to Spanish law but the authorities have imposed on him a real life sentence. He is 67 years of age, and is very ill.


Basque political prisoner Xabier Etxeberria was handed over to Spanish police by French police last week after completing his prison sentence. He had been on hunger strike for 28 days previously. This is an extreme but necessary measure undertaken by Basque prisoners in France, to avoid being tortured by Spanish police when transfered to Spain.

-Spanish censorship.

Last Wednesday 50,000 Basques and Catalans attended the Spanish Cup final between Barcelona and Athletic de Bilbao in Valencia. Not surprisingly the atmosphere between both team’s nationalists supporters was amazing. The scandal occured as the teams were paraded on the pitch in front of the Spanish King. The Spanish anthem was then played. The whistles drowned out the anthem but the Spanish state-owned live television hurredly switched off their transmission as soon as it started. At half time they said it had been a human error and they replayed it with the whistles taken out and the music higher.

-Suspicious robery.

The Basque pro-independence party Abertzaleen Batasuna denounced the robery of all its computers and data from their office in Baiona. “Surprisingly” the thieves didn’t take with them any expensive material from next door’s newspapers office.

-Against “black lists” and bannings.

Thousands of people took to the streets of Irunea/Pamplona last Saturday to support 25 local pro-independence young people who are on a police black list. This list was drafted by the Spanish police after the arrests of dozens of local pro-independence activists over the last few months. Over 1,500 pictures were shown to them during the questionings.

The protesters spoke out against the pro-independence parties bannings and torture and denounced the lack of democracy.

-Another arrest in the north.

Well known local journalist Stephane Etxegarai was arrested by the French police last Tuesday and released without charges two days later. The anti repression movement Askatasuna protested the arrest and reminded of the 200 political arrests that had taken place in the north of the Basque Country over the last few months. 140 people gathered to support Etxegarai in Donibane-Garazi/St. Jéan-de-Pied-de-Port.

-When love is a crime.

Last Sunday hundreds of people gathered in Hernani to support their mayor Marian Beitialarrangoitia. She will be tried on Thursday at the Spanish National Court (Diplock Court) because last year she said “We love you” after the arrest and brutal tortures of two suspected ETA members.

-Tried for denouncing torture.

Two members of the Basque human rights association Group Against Torture were tried last week in Bilbao. They have been accused of insulting the feared Spanish police Guardia Civil after organising a press conference to denounce the tortures they inflicted upon a Basque pro-independence youth. There haven’t been any torture related cases investigated by the Bilbao’s courts in the last 15 years.

14 May 2009


Basque Info 5&12/05/09

-Undemocratic new government elected.

After the elections of the 1st of March a new government was formed last week in the three western Basque provinces. For the first time since the creation of this autonomy 30 years ago, a pro-Spanish president has been elected. Despite the pro-independence candidates being banned during the elections 100,000 people voted with illegal ballots in support of them. As a result of this the Spanish Labour Party and the conservatives got a mayority in the parliament.

This newly elected government has been branded as undemocratic by the mayority of Basque political parties and trade unions. ETA has declared the government members primary targets.

-An ETA bomb destroyed a communications station in Santander on Tuesday.

-Massive support to the Basque language in the north.
About 60,000 people gathered around Senpere’s lake on Sunday for the annual festival to raise money and support for the Basque language schools in the north of the Basque Country.

40 years ago Seaska, the association of the northern Basque language schools was created. Despite the Basque language not being official in the north they have gone from a 6 pupil’s school to 22 schools and three secondary education centres they currently have, with one third of the overall student population in attendance.

-Stop High Speed Train.
6,000 people rallied in Irunea/Pamplona last Saturday against the construction of the High Speed Train. This very controversial project is seen as a great danger for the Basque Country’s future as it is going to require huge investements and cause extensive damage to the environment. The protesters have asked to stop the works, and to open a social and democratic debate around this issue.

-Internationalist Initiative launched.
A new political platform has been launched to stand in the next European elections. Internationalist Initiative will present candidates across the Spanish state and has already received support from different nation’s pro-independence movements and left-wing organizations. The main candidate is the prestigious playwright Alfonso Sastre.

A criminalization campaign in the Spanish media has already been launched against this platform and pro-Spanish politicians have asked for its banning.

-Basque workers take to the streets on May Day.

The seven Basque provinces capitals saw rallies attended by thousands of workers, students and unemployed people on May Day. The focus of the demonstrations and speeches were on the current capitalist crisis and the general strike called by the left wing and nationalist mayority of trade unions for the 21st of May in the south of the Basque Country.

-More political activists arrested.

Eight well known political activists were arrested by the Spanish police on the 31st of April. All of them had been previously tried in the macro show trial against social and cultural groups called case 18/98. Most of the sentenced by the Spanish National Court are in jail awaiting the Supreme’s Court decission. Most of those arrested free on bail until now. Their solicitors have protested the arrests as they haven’t been convicted yet. The majority of Basque political parties, trade unions and social movements denounced the detentions as political, and asked for the release of all the accused.

-Basque prisoners on dirty protest.

The eight Basque political prisoners in the Algeciras prison (Cadiz, Spain) have been carrying out a dirty protest since the first of May. They are asking for the end of the prison guard’s attacks, for the implementation of the jail’s rules, for dignified living conditions and the end of solitary confinement.

Protests in solidarity with the prisoners have been organised in their home towns.