This Esquerra Republicana-ETA thing is really getting out of hand. For those new to the blog, here we go with a quick explanation. After the most recent Catalan regional elections, a Tripartite coalition made up a coalition. The PSC (Catalan Socialists) had won by far the most votes, but they needed the support of ERC (leftist Catalan nationalists) and ICV (Communists) to form a government.
Well, Josep Lluis Carod-Rovira, the leader of ERC, went and had a secret meeting with the leaders of the Basque terrorist gang ETA in which he tried to "negotiate peace". This was sometime in January. Now, the American equivalent would be Dennis Kucinich meeting with Al Qaeda, without government knowledge, out there making a deal on his own, with the payoff that Al Qaeda wouldn't attack Democrats, only Republicans. What many people said about the Carod-Rovira--ETA meeting was that Carod was trying to make a deal in which ETA would cease to operate in Catalonia. Well, what do you know. ETA released a video today.
It consisted of two guys in black capes and white hoods with black berets on top of their heads--I swear, they looked like 1950s French existentialists dressed up as Klansmen--in front of an ETA logo with a Basque and a Catalan independentista flag. One of them made this statement:
ETA, the Basque socialist revolutionary organization of national liberation, hereby informs the Basque Homeland and the Catalan people of the content of its revised policy of armed action in Catalonia as well as the decisions taken.
ETA, within the framework of the process of liberation that it carries out with the goal of achieving recognition of the rights that belong to the Basque Homeland as a nation, decided in the 1980s to carry out armed actions against the economic resources of the Spanish and French states, and the armed forces of the occupation and the Spanish political authorities.
This question has always been subject to repeated analyses of the situation that our organization has made at various times. ETA has made a new analysis and has made a new decision regarding its armed actions in Catalonia.
These are the principal items that ETA has taken into consideration.
Catalonia and the Basque Homeland are two nations with many similarities and points in common, we would like to emphasize two: (Comma splice sic.)
--They are two nations, oppressed by the Spanish and French states, territorially divided according to artificial frontiers imposed by force of arms.
--This situation of oppression has caused the development of close and deep relationships of friendship and brotherhood.
--The change made in the last decades in the political situation in Catalonia and the Basque Homeland. There has been a clarification and an important advance of independentista forces and a widespread awareness of the need for the right of self-determination which belongs to the peoples oppressed by the Spanish state.
--The serious crisis that the oppressor Spanish state is undergoing. At the end of the Franco dictatorship, the Spanish state invented the "State of Autonomous Regions" with the objective of drowning the desires for freedom of the Basque, Catalan...nations. (Suspensive points sic.) Today, 25 years later, the crisis in which the political framework of the Spanish reform is immersed is clearer and deeper than ever. And we can affirm that it has been the struggle of these two peoples for their liberation that has caused this crisis: The Basque Homeland and Catalonia are the hotbeds that are breaking down the antiquated system of the institutional and political framework that has been imposed.
--The honest, active and generous solidarity that the process of liberation of the Basque people has awakened on the part of the Catalan people.
At the same time, the armed struggle carried on by ETA against the Spanish state in Catalonia has caused different and opposing interpretations and reactions among the different sectors of independentista and leftist Catalans.
--The importance of reinforcing the willpower and determination of the people in order to defend the right of self-determination that belongs to the Catalan people and to the Basque Homeland, as against Spanish imposition. The necessity of reinforcement, in the cases of the Catalan and Basque peoples, of the foundations that, in our understanding, should support the relationship between different oppressed peoples.
--Respect and non-interference regarding the methods and ways in which the respective organizations may put in practice in the process of liberation that each people is carrying out.
--Solidarity to other peoples who find themselves in a similar situation of oppression.
Considering all these elements of analysis and with the desire that the ties between our peoples become stronger based on the the principles of respect, non-interference, and solidarity, ETA hereby communicates to the Basque Homeland and to the Catalan people its suspension of its campaign of armed actions in Catalonia beginning January 1, 2004.
A revolutionary salute to all Catalan independentistas.
LONG LIVE THE FREE BASQUE HOMELAND!
LONG LIVE FREE CATALONIA!
Long live Jon Felix! Long live Joan Carles!
In the Basque Homeland, February 2004.
Jon Felix Erezuma and Joan Carles Monteagudo were the terrorists who pushed a carbomb downhill, put it in neutral and just let it roll, into the Guardia Civil barracks in Vic, near Barcelona, on May 30, 1991; they had previously murdered six policemen in Sabadell. Nine people were killed in the blast in Vic, five of them children, and twenty were wounded. Monteagudo and Erezuma must have seen that the courtyard of the barracks was full of the families of the Guardias when they let the car go. The image most people remember of the bombing is a photograph of a fireman carrying away a small girl with one of her legs blown off below the knee. I remember taking the bus home from work that night; it took like three hours because the cops roadblocked the freeway between Cerdanyola, where I worked then, and Barcelona. When it came our turn they went through everybody very carefully. It didn't bother me when I heard more or less what was going on. A couple of days later they tracked Monteagudo and Erezuma to a house in suburban Barcelona; I don't think they got much of a chance to surrender. The Guardia Civil ventilated the place and the two murderers were found dead inside with multiple perforations, Ma Barker-style.
Here is Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's official statement:
On the 26th of January the secretary general of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and the chief of cabinet of the Generalitat publicly stated that he had met with members of the leadership of the terrorist gang ETA. That same day said party made a public statement in which it admitted that it had reached an agreement with the terrorist gang.
Today the terrorist gang has announced its contribution to this repulsive strategy promoted by ERC. The terrorist gang will continue killing, but it will not do so in one part of our national territory. We know that the quid pro quo is the political shielding by ERC of the objectives of the terrorist gang and a closing of the eyes regarding terrorism as long as its party interests are not affected.
The Administration of the nation wishes to state, in an unmistakeable way, its rejection of all forms of negotiation which do not consist of the delivery of all weapons to the legitimate authorities and the surrender of the criminals to the courts. Of course, the Administration will continue to pursue the terrorists with the same determination inside and outside of Spain, and I trust that we can do it with the same success as so far, or even with more success.
The only democratic way to put an end to terrorism is its complete defeat by means of police and judicial action and internatinal cooperation. This, and no other, is the appropriate response for a state with the rule of law.
All negotiation with a terrorist gang on the terms we have just seen confirmed is deeply antidemocratic and implies political complicity with the terrorists. We are facing a pact between the terrorist gang and ERC, unless this party expressly rejects the agreement and immediately fires those who negotiated it.
The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party forms a part, at this moment, of a coalition with ERC that governs Catalonia; equally, the Socialist Party forms part of an electoral coalition that is running joint candidacies with the Republican Left in the upcoming general elections. The Socialist Party, as a national party that presents itself as an alternative to govern and as a signer of the pact for freedom and against terrorism, must adopt immediate decisions, faithful to its commitments and to democracy. They can no longer allege lack of knowledge; they can no longer look the other way.
I believe that it is incompatible with the pact for freedom and against terrorism to maintain coalition governments and electoral coalitions with the party of the Republican Left of Catalonia as long as they do not fulfill the conditions which I have outlined.
All we Spaniards have suffered ETA terrorism for many years; we have fought and have been fighting for decades against it; we are not far from defeating it, and in order to do so we have used the legitimacy of our democracy, the strength of our state with the rule of law, and the solidity of our national unity.
The agreement reached between the Republican Left of Catalonia and the terrorist organization ETA, far from bringing us closer to peace and freedom, moves us away from them, because it means no more and no less than an absolutely unacceptable moral surrender and political complicity.
You go, Jose Maria! We're going to miss his Trumanesque plain speaking. I honestly believe that Aznar is the best political leader in Europe as far as honesty, courage, and intelligence goes. He proved he had brass balls when the ETA tried to blow up his car in 1995. The bomb went off and if Aznar's limo hadn't been armored it would have blown him into very small pieces. A passerby was killed. Aznar kept his cool, sort of like Reagan did when that nutcase shot him, and impressed a lot of people.
The general reaction of the editorialists and the columnists of La Vanguardia is that Carod-Rovira is an incompetent, if not worse, and has to resign now and leave the country for several months. One wag, Alfred Rexach, suggested that we should send Carod to Casablanca in order to get rid of him. The joke is that Carod's predecessor as leader of ERC was a guy named Angel Colom. It was decided by the Catalan poliical class, so it is widely rumored, that certain predilections of Mr. Colom's would likely get everybody into very serious trouble if they were made public knowledge. So Mr. Colom was sent as far away as possible, which is the Generalitat's "consulate" in Casablanca, Morocco. Mr. Colom is a former seminary student and schoolteacher, in addition to being a politician.
My wife's Remei's reaction was profane, to say the least. She called Carod a "mamarracho", a "malparit", a "gilipollas", and an "imbecil", among other less printable epithets. She said, resumed, "Look, I'm Catalan not because I want to be but because I just am, so I take it pretty seriously, and I don't like it that this idiot Carod has given that bunch of terrorists a political card to play. This is a disgrace. Carod got a political job and he's supposed to be helping Catalonia advance and trying to make it better, not negotiating with fucking terrorists. All of us Catalans voted for him and he represents all of us, and he's not doing it right. The older I get the more I see that nationalism is stupid because it makes divisions between people and when you take it too far it leads to killing, and I don't want any of that Bosnia shit around here. I speak Catalan and I am Catalan and I do things not because they're Catalan things to do but just because they're the things I do, and I don't give a shit who else does them."
That was a summary, with most of the foul language edited out.