Saturday, March 08, 2008

Update on the murder of Isaías Carrasco by ETA: Carrasco had just gotten into his car to go to work at 1:30 PM when the ETA gunman fired five shots at him through the windshield, hitting him in the chest with two and in the neck with one. His wife and daughter heard the gunfire and rushed outside as Carrasco got out of his car, stumbled halfway across the street, and fell, still conscious. The gunman, who was tall, wearing a fake beard, and dressed in black, ran to a silver Seat Cordoba in which a getaway driver was waiting, and they escaped. Carrasco died in the hospital less than an hour later.

Carrasco had lost his city council seat in the last municipal election, and had decided to give up his police bodyguard at the end of last year. Most politically active anti-ETA Basques, especially those who hold public office, need official bodyguards.

The mayor of Mondragón, known in Basque as Arrasate, belongs to the ETA-front party ANV; when she arrived at the hospital, Carrasco's wife told her to get lost.

The political parties stopped their campaigning, calling off their final campaign rallies, which were to have been held last night (in Spain all campaigning is prohibited the day before an election, i.e. today). Rajoy managed to sneak in a dig at Zapatero, saying that no matter who won the election, the government would never negotiate with ETA again.

All parties represented in the Congress of Deputies agreed on a joint declaration condemning the murder and promising to maintain a united front against ETA. The PP tried to get the declaration to include a commitment not to negotiate with ETA and a revocation of the 2005 parliamentary resolution in favor of negotiations, but the other parties refused.

I still think the murder of Carrasco politically favors the PP; though of course I wish that terrorist murders had no effect on voter intention, we know they do. Specfically, the murder is going to bring out citizens who were going to abstain, and who will now vote for the PP. I don't think it's going to change the mind of more than a few voters who were already committed to a party, and I don't think it's going to have the effect of the March 11 bombings, but it will have some effect.

El Periódico of Andorra's latest survey (taking advantage of a legal loophole, as surveys are banned in Spain the five days before an election) was released early this afternoon; it has the PSOE ahead of the PP, 43.0%-39.0%, with other parties getting 18.0%. The PSOE would get 162-166 seats in Congress, the PP would get 154-158, and other parties would get 30-34. 176 seats are needed for a majority.

Other news: Looks like there won't be a war in South America, as Chavez and Correa have made nice with Uribe. Despite Chavez's arms purchases from Russia and Spain, the Colombians have a much bigger US-armed and -trained army, with experience fighting the FARC, and would stomp Venezuela's ass if it came to it. Remember when Chavez ordered ten batallions to the frontier last week? None of them ever moved.

The European Union sent its commissioner for the Third World to Cuba yesterday; he got to talk to human slime foreign minister Pérez Roque, Castro's Ribbentrop, and tomorrow he may even get an audience with President Raúl. The EU wants to "break the ice and open the path to relaunch Cuba-EU dialogue...seeking the full normalization of relations." I say the hell with that. Fortunately the British and the Czechs are going to say the hell with it, too.

The Barcelona court investigating the illegal abortions scandal has subpoenaed nearly 3000 medical histories. Women who underwent abortions at the accused clinics testified that they had not been subjected to any medical tests, not even psychological ones; abortion is legal in Spain for medical reasons, but abortion on mere demand is prohibited, unlike in the US. Six people have been charged with illegal abortion, conspiracy, forgery, and practicing medicine without a license.

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