Thursday, March 23, 2006


[News of an ETA cease fire prompts...]
Euskadi Ta Askatasuna or ETA (Basque for "Basque Homeland and Freedom"; IPA pronunciation: [ˈɛːta]) is an armed Basque separatist organization that seeks to create an independent socialist state for the Basque people in the Basque Country, separate from Spain and France. ETA is considered by Spain, France, the European Union, and the United States to be a terrorist organization, with more than 800 killings attributed to it.

ETA's motto is Bietan jarrai ("Keep up on both"). This refers to the two figures in the ETA symbol, the snake (a symbol of secrecy and astuteness) wrapped around an axe (representing strength).

The organization was founded in 1959. It evolved rapidly from a group advocating traditional cultural ways to an armed group. On March 22, 2006, the organization declared a permanent ceasefire stating it will commit itself "to promote a democratic process in the Basque Country in order to build a new framework within which our rights as a people are recognized, and guarantee the opportunity to develop all political options in the future...."

ETA's focus has been on two demands:

  • That an independent socialist government be created in the Basque-inhabited areas of Spain and France
  • That imprisoned ETA members currently awaiting trial or serving prison sentences in Spain and France be released.

ETA's terrorist methods include:

As of the end of 2003, ETA had killed 817 [1] people in the name of their political struggle, 339 of which were not members of any armed or police service. [2]

However, during the 1980s, the goals of the organisation started to shift. Four decades after the creation of ETA, the idea of creating a socialist state in the Basque Country had begun to seem utopian and impractical, and ETA moved to a more pragmatic stance. This was reflected in the 1995 manifesto "Democratic Alternative", which offered the cessation of all armed ETA activity if the Spanish government would recognize the Basque people as having sovereignty over Basque territories and the right to self-determination. Self-determination would be achieved through a referendum on whether to remain a part of Spain.

The organization has adopted other tactical causes such as fighting against:

  • Alleged drug traffickers as corruptors of Basque youth and police collaborators. However, the French Independent NGO L'Observatoire Géopolitique des Drogues pointed their finger at ETA for their alleged drug trafficking in 2000 [3].
  • The nuclear power plant project at Lemoiz
  • The Leizaran highway

1 comment:

Ali La Pointe said...

We really enjoyed your detailed description of the ETA. Thank you so much. You seem like a smart guy. Merry Festivus!!!