Basta. Enough. This word exemplifies the growing attitude toward the violence in the Spanish nation caused by the cultural differences between its Spanish and Basque inhabitants. The 2.1 million people of Euskadi, the Basque area of Spain, speak a different language than typical Spaniards, have a separate culture and society from that of Spain; and have a history of their own. Throughout the decades, these major cultural differences contained within the borders of Spain have continued to cause conflict between the Spanish people and the people of the Basque area. Many within la comunidad autónoma del país vasco, the autonomous community of the Basque country, have long been seeking to free it from the confines of Spanish borders and have proceeded to do so in a terrorist fashion, although recently there have been attempts by the Basques nationalists to work towards more peaceful relations with the Spanish government.
ETA is a Basque separatist organization in Spain that has taken up many violent practices in its efforts to gain independence for the Basque state. Standing for Euzkadi Ta Azkatasuna, meaning “Basque Homeland and Liberty,” this group grew out of the Partido Nacionalista Vasco, also known as the Basque Nationalist Party or PNV. Since the PNV was outlawed by dictator Francisco Franco, ETA retained its headquarters secretly in Paris during his reign. For the past 31 years, it has been the origin of numerous terrorist attacks, bombings, protests, and murders. It is the key player in the violence that has plagued Spain and its Basque area.
The Basque region of Spain jumped back into the world arena most recently beginning in late 1997. By this time, the regional government there had gained partial autonomy from Madrid. It had been permitted home rule by the Spanish Constitution and elected its own Parliament with taxing power and a 6,000 member regional police force. The elected Assembly and administration there controlled education, cultural affairs, social services, and created jobs for its people. It was in December of this year that the 23 leaders of Herri Batasuna (HB), the political voice of ETA, were arrested and sentenced to seven-year jail terms for making a video extolling the terrorist acts of the ETA. This decision by three Spanish judges marked the first time a direct link was recognized between the terrorists and their political allies. Unrest was an expected result of this, marked by the fact that approximately 180,000 Basques supported HB, a party whose abbreviation stands for “popular unity” in Basque. At the time, they had won 12%of the votes in the last general election, down from 14% from the election before.
The violence of the ETA remained backstage for a few months until February, when it continued its violence in the shooting of Alberto Jimenez Bercerril, the deputy mayor of Seville, and his...