Basque Separatists Vow to Keep Bombing Spanish Civilians, Government Divided on Response

LIAM DALTON, The Guardian

The terrorist organisation Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) [Basque Homeland and Freedom] has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Spanish subway, with promises of further bombings if complete independence of Basque from Spain is not achieved.

The violent conflict between ETA, an extremist socialist organisation, and the Spanish Government has arisen following the death of the Spanish King Francisco Franco on Nov. 20 1975. Franco came to power following the Spanish revolution in 1939 where he subsequently established a military dictatorship which governed Spain until his death. Franco selected Luis Carrero Blanco to succeed him in this military regime; upon taking office, however, Blanco initiated the process of transitioning Spain towards a democracy. Separatist movements such as the ETA in Basque have capitalized on the uncertainty generated by the transition, driving home their political objectives in an increasingly violent manner.

The ETA has been financing their terrorist activities by robbing banks, kidnapping Spanish citizens, and extorting money from Spanish aristocrats. These methods in conjunction with terrorist attacks in civilian spaces have produced notable disarray amongst the Executive Spanish Government on a proposed solution. As of the end of the first committee session, nine directives of the 16 proposed failed, with the remaining seven yet to be voted on. The directives ranged from legalising the languages of Basque, Catalonia, and Galicia, to militarising the Basque region, initiating independence referendums, and investigating claims of corruption by the interim Prime Minister. The range of these failed directives reflect a lost Spanish Executive with no clear direction for a prosperous future.

Uncertainty as to the future of Spain has heightened in recent days, as the Spanish military threatens to defect unless they are paid fair wages in a time where military demands are heightened. If the Government fails to meet these demands, the ability of the Spanish government to control the ETA will vastly diminish and pave the way for the emergence of an independent Basque.

The direction of 1975 Spanish society is truly at risk. If the members of the Spanish Executive fail to create a radical bipartisan strategy to suppress the ETA, safeguard Spanish citizens, satisfy calls for Basque and Catalonian independence, and prevent the military from defecting, then a Spanish democracy may never come to fruition.

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