The Basques homeland is located in the French-Spanish border.
They currently hold a population of 3 million (2.5 million in Spain). There is a small number of Basques in BC, Quebec and the eastern seaboard in Canada. The Basque-Canadian population is slim and number no more than 2,000 to 3,000 individuals. The Basques may be the oldest ethnic group in Europe. They are thought to have inhabited the southwestern corner of the continent since before Indo- European people came to the area approximately 5,000 years ago.
The language, also known as Euskera, is Europe’s oldest living language. It is unrelated to Spanish, French, or any other Roman language and belongs to no other known language family. Almost all Basques are Roman Catholic. Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) is a formally armed leftist Basque nationalist and separatist organisation in the Basque country.
ETA was founded in 1956, during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. Its mission was to fight for the independence of the greater Basque country. The Basque country is tiny, it’s just a quarter of the size of Belgium. But it has an awful lot of people in one area where land is considered scarce and mostly taken up by industries. A 29 year old Irma, Blanco had served on the the same council and was a member of the conservative popular party and a life long socialist. He had no reason to be afraid, he believed that he wasn’t important enough to be an ETA target as their targets are profound political leaders. He was wrong, Blancho was abducted by Eta commander in July 1997 and was held for 48 hours while Eta demanded for all its prisoners to be transferred to the Basque country.
His killers forced him to kneel to the ground before firing 2 bullets to his head. Eta has killed hundreds of people and would not hesitate to kill dozens more. Everyone knew that the government would never fulfil Eta demands. In the two days between his abduction and killing about 6 million people took part in rallies and vigils to demand his release. In the Basque country too, ordinary citizens decided it would be time to stand up to the Eta.
The revolution was universal, and would follow the group all the way to 2011. ETA’s continued violence after Spain’s transition to democracy reflected support within a wider community of radical nationalists that believed that the transition had been incomplete. The disagreement on the problem the Eta represented is criminal terrorism or the violent manifestation. Every disagreement on any problem results in a criminal terrorism or the violent manifestation of an unresolved political conflict.
The direct impact was shown through Spain’s difficulties in establishing a clear strategy against ETA. The violence of the Eta was met by their highly effective counterterrorism from the Spanish and French security forces. There were three attempts made to come to a political conclusion, the third, was launched by Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero in 2005.
Each attempt involved an ETA cease-fire that broke down. When Eta’s violence finally ended in 2011 it could be attributed to multiple factors that include counterterrorism and the activism of civil society and changes set in motion within ETA’s political base. The question is what was the problem of Eta and the Basque.
The answer, they enjoyed the power it had over Spain. The complex relationship of its violence and the underlying problem is the differences between the Bawue and Madrid regarding the nature of their relationship, between the Basque country and the Spanish state. Most importantly, the political divisions between nationalists and so- called non- nationalists. The diversity of the Basques is shown through their descent, language (Euskara), social class and the Basque political parties.
Unfortunately, they are stubborn. December 2006 the group broke a so called “permanent ceasefire” with an attack at the Madrid airport. The bomb was planted in the car parking lot at Barajas killing two men, nine months after the group called its truce. “Eta has a distorted vision of reality, and now it is demonstrating the same arrogance with the same language as always. It still clams that the end of the violence has a price” says Zapertero. The search for an agreement from both states were to ignore and deny the confit, for instance every request that the Basques make is denied. France denied the very existence of the Basque country by denying any way of forming its own institution.
Peacemaking soon followed as Spain quickly increased its pressure on ETA. and in October 23 members of the leadership of Batasuna were also detained. ETA returned to killing only two months later, assassinating two members of the Guardia Civil in France but arrests kept piling up. ETA responded in September 5th 2010 and announced a stop to their terrible armed actions. They declared a permanent cease-fire the following January but due to previous events the government remained doubtful.
Etas painfully slow movement had come to an end. The Basques should not gain independence from Spain because the clash with the separatist group Euskadi ta Askatasuna (ETA) will harm the Basque culture and language, the political conflict can be defeated and criminal terrorism losses of innocent lives need to come to an end. Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) which stands for “Basque Fatherland and Liberty” had only one goal in mind, the independence of the Basque country from Spain. They were ruthless and would do anything from kidnapping to bombing just to make a point. The group was founded in 1959 to promote the Basque culture and language. The language is entirely unrelated to any possible current or extinct language in the past. This extraordinary language is called Euskera, the oldest european language and unrelated to Spanish or French.
The Spanish government had estimated that ETA killed over 800 people and had over 1,600 terrorist attacks some even civilians. They attack Spanish tourist attractions and they to wipe it all out. This is hurting the culture that the Basques. During the ruling of Franco, resistance striked Spain. Before Eta was created the Basque language was prohibited.
They started promoting the forbidden language alagating for change in the Spanish government. Eventually they received over 200 members to help support and promote the Basque language and culture. This got to a point where Eta turned against their own and killed a young Basque council member. The group just wanted to harmlessly advocate for the Basque culture but it turned into an armed group with fascist perspectives. The former political party, Batasuna, disbanded in 2003 had the same views and pursued the same goals as ETA and did not condemn its use of violence. Formerly known as Euskal Herritarrok, the Basque socialist political party was banned by the Spanish Supreme Court as an anti democratic organisation following the Political Parties Law. The Batasuna political structure was considered controversial because it was seen as a political wing of the ETA. After investigations it was finally declared it illegal on March 18,2003 because the court found proof of their links with ETA.
The new party called Aukera Guztiak asserted the aim to allow Basques to freely voice their political ideas. They claimed to have no ties with ETA but later find out the truth. The Spanish Supreme Court considered it the sequel and banned it. The Basque group laid down its arms on October 20, 2011 after failing to achieve its goal of creating an independent state for the Basques. The main internal cause for the loss was the lack of social support after ETA started using fear and threat of violence to pursuit political change was highly ineffective. They have refused to negotiate on an agreement with the Spanish and French governments. They target national and regional officials and government buildings in Spain.
In 1973 they killed Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, by planting an underground bomb below his habitual parking spot outside a Madrid church. ETA began by carrying out attacks in the Basque region of Spain, and most of its activities still take place there. The group has also conducted attacks throughout Spain, including Madrid and popular tourist destinations, and in France. Spain dealt with Eta by negotiation a few times right before the 14 month ceasefire, they resumed attacks right after. President Aznar took a hard road with the group and since September 11, more than 50 suspected ETA victims have been locked up. He refuses to negotiate with them unless they surrender and forsake violence.
Spain has successfully prosecuted hundreds of ETA members in court. Freedom is the right of an individual that freedom is striped away from us when terrorism strikes. The implantation of fear in the minds of all the how ETA tried to run the Basques. Every disagreement in the Spanish government resulted in criminal terrorism or a violent manifestation. Eta targets expanded from military to police and their families. They victimize government officials. Their tactics include killing by shooting, kidnapping often as blackmail and bombing (car bombs).
These bombs often killed family members of the victim and innocent bystanders. They used charities to announce the threat of a bomb. In 2006 Eta claimed a “permanent cease fire” in the span between 24 March and 30 December. They had taken full responsibility for all their killings and shocked the political party. For the next two years there were questions on if they had a change of heart or tactics. Most political parties welcomed the news of the cease fire. During 2006-2007 was a period of heightened political tension and continuous negotiations.
On December 30th, at 9:00 Eta planted a van bomb in a parking building the explosion caused the collapse of the building killing many innocent people. In 1887 at a Hipercor shopping center there was a car bombing that occurred killing 21 people and injuring about 45, the deadliest attack in ETA’s history. After the end of the violent campaign for independence it took 43 years and claimed 845 with 343 being civilians and carried out 1,600 terrorist attacks. Some of the victims are civilians as they consistently targeted Spain’s tourist attractions, most recently by bombing busses along Spain’s packed tourist busses. In conclusion I don’t believe that the Basques should gain independence from Spain because the Basque language and culture will be lost, political conflicts of ETA and Spain can be overcome with negotiation, and lastly, the massacre of innocent lives can be avoided.