ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, “Basque Homeland & Freedom”), the famed Basque separatist party cum terrorist group, has unilaterally announced a “ceasfire that is permanent, general, and verifiable”. Source in English here, sources in Spanish here.
The government of Rodríguez Zapatero is taking it slow and cautious—which makes sense, after Spain has had to deal with ETA terrorism for going on 40 years. RZ is saying, “Don’t let anyone think that the government is lowering its guard.”
RZ couldn’t say anything else: Though there’s been a ceasfire in place since September, this “permanent ceasfire” ETA just announced makes no mention of when—if ever—they will turn over their weapons. And there was a previous “permanent ceasfire” back in 2006 that, well . . . let’s just say that it ended badly (car bomb at an airport).
Bottom line, ETA has to mend fences.
Unlike the Irish terrorists back in The Troubles, ETA has burned its political bridges over the years—everyone outside of Basque country hates them, and a lot of moderates in Basque country hate them too.
Under ordinary circumstances, I wouldn’t have bothered posting anything on The Hourly G about this bit of domestic terrorism/politics.
However, a little birdie in Barcelona told me this latest ETA move is not about politics—it’s about money: ETA’s fundraising has been lackluster to non-existent over the last few years, especially as of late. Unlike the old French-Algerian OAS, looks like ETA are not up for robbing banks to finance their fight. Problem is, the Basque country—the mountainous region on the border with France—is among the poorest of Spain: Money’s not lying around, so . . .
And with a youth unemployment of 40%—that’s right, 40%—Spain’s young aren’t up for revolution in the name of the Basque homeland, much less upsetting the government dole that a lot of them need to survive, so . . .
Money troubles kills nationalism.
However, in other news, the Spanish Communist Party is actively recruiting, so . . .