Julen de Madariaga lanza severas advertencias a Zapatero

April 19, 2006

En Londres, el Guardian publica un artículo de Julen de Madariaga, uno de los “patriarcas” fundadores de ETA, que avanza varias advertencias y dudas sobre el proceso defendido por Zapatero, de quien el antiguo dirigente etarra dice tener cierta “desconfianza”.

Madariaga insiste en que en el proceso negociador debieran participar “todas las provincias de Euskal Herría”, incluida Iparralde, que es la denominación nacionalista para las provincias francesas que ETA y los independentistas radicales incluyen en la “negociación”.

Madariaga afirma que Zapatero está comportándose con “insostenible parsimonia”, corriendo el riesgo que “la situación se nos pudra entre las manos, con todas sus consecuencias”. En el texto de Madariaga, tales “consecuencias” tienen una importancia capital, ya que, a su modo de ver, ETA podría “romper el alto el fuego”, si las negociaciones no progresaran.

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Este es el artículo de Madariaga publicado por el Guardian.

From Belfast to Bilbao

With Eta's ceasefire in place, Basques should look to Northern Ireland for inspiration in their drive to establish a nation straddling the Pyrenees, writes the group's founder Julen de Madariaga

Julen de Madariaga
Wednesday April 19, 2006

Guardian Unlimited

Eta placed no conditions on its ceasefire announced on March 22, and certain media focused on the fact that the armed political organisation described the end of its campaign as "permanent". I believe that word was chosen for two reasons. Firstly, the group wanted avoid the term "definitive", which it concluded would be inappropriate having been used to describe previous ceasefires that did not endure. Secondly, it wanted to make clear that as long as negotiations continue, there will be no unilateral move by Eta to break the ceasefire. Any breakdown in negotiations would be mutually agreed as such.

It seems to me that the majority of media – especially in France and Spain – took the line that Eta was forced to take this course because campaigns by the French and Spanish police had left it weakened. That is not my opinion. Police offensives may account for 10-15% of the group's decline, but the principal factor has been the loss of its public trust and support. Since the end of the 1980s, successive leaderships of the armed group of national liberation distanced themselves from our people and turned a deaf ear to their desires, leading to a complete divorce by the end of the 1990s. Basque society is in large part responsible for last month's historic announcement.

I believe that Eta, and the leftwing "abertzale" [a nationalist youth movement allied to group] are serious in their intentions and sincere in their desire for a just and lasting peace. I do not see the same approach from the French and Spanish authorities. (Paris does not intervene directly but its interests are safe in Madrid's hands.) Perhaps heavily influenced by scandalous experiences in the past, my distrust of Spain's prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, is considerable, and particularly considering the enormous pressure he is under from both within and outside his own party. We still feel a keen sense of deception after the lamentable events surrounding the negotiation of the new statute of autonomy with our Catalan friends, in which Zapatero's crime was to publicly and solemnly declare that he would respect the Catalan parliament before going back on his word to negotiate deals with the opposition rather than the government of the day. It is highly likely he will try the same approach with the Basques in a dubious attempt to divide and rule.

The ceasefire will do much to brighten the political outlook of our nation. Political parties, unions and social groups will be able to develop in complete freedom now the sword of Damocles hanging over them has disappeared. The different social groups will be able to move spontaneously and naturally. There will undoubtedly be changes and regroupings, but we will be able to dedicate ourselves 100% to politics.

It is clearly a transcendent milestone and "sine qua non", but we should avoid triumphalism and acknowledge that nothing has actually been resolved so far. The moment of truth is only beginning, and the process will be drawn out and challenged by more than one trap, trick and worrying setback.

It seems Eta delayed the announcement of its ceasefire for several weeks, maybe months, while it tried to shore up maximum commitment to the move among its ranks. Clearly the stronger the militants' allegiance to the ceasefire, the better the guarantee for the peace process.

The clarity and concision of Eta's short statement are striking, as is the firmly held position that in resolving the long Basque conflict, it is Basque society as a whole, the people in its entirety, who will decide its fate. No one else will have the final word.

It is also important to be clear about the diversity of population and the territorial considerations in this case. Euskal Herria [the Basque Country] is "seirak bat" – seven provinces made one: the Basque provinces of Alava, Guipúzcoa and Vizcaya plus the province of Navarra [in Spain], and the three [French] provinces known collectively as Iparralde. The issue will not be forced on anyone, Basque, Spanish or French. On the contrary, if the differences in their situations, development and evolution are recognised, they will adapt and the right of each historic territory or portion of it will be guaranteed.

The question of the two negotiating tables is also crystal clear – one is to be made up of representatives from all the political groups operating in Euskal Herria without exclusion or exception and the French and Spanish authorities, and the other of representatives from Eta, Paris and Madrid.

It seems to me imperative that there should be no talk of victors and vanquished in the process that has just begun in our country. Throughout history, the capitulation of one side has irretrievably led to humiliation, frustration, resentment and vengeance. Fifty million people died in the second world war as a direct result of German capitulation before the Allies in 1918 and the following years.

As negotiation gets under way, the absolute first priority must be the shameful and thorny issue of prisoners. The liberation of eight or 10 prisoners from those in preventive detention, or the gravely ill or those who had served more than 75% of their sentence would have created a real wave of detente in Euskal Herria, and that would have greatly facilitated negotiations. What's more, Zapatero could have done it while applying Spanish law to the letter (until now it has been systematically broken). It's what I would have done, in the context of an agreement that respected the victims on both sides.

Zapatero's second priority should be to instruct his police to continue their daily duties professionally and with complete independence (including detentions), but with the singular condition that henceforth all use of torture will be completely eradicated. This should also be applied immediately and requires no change to existing laws.

The next step would then be to ask Zapatero to draw up a solemn declaration similar to the Good Friday agreement in Britain, recognising that the Basque question is political in nature and not a matter for the military and police. As such, it requires a political solution, one that affects all Basque people, and he should declare that he will act in accordance with our sovereign will and that our decision – taken by a democratic majority – will be respected by both French and Spanish governments.

I've been arguing for 15 or 20 years now that we in Euskal Herria should take inspiration from the Irish situation. It is a wonderful example, and one from which we could benefit greatly.

The ceasefire announcement created a significant impact in the international community – the UN, the European parliament, the Vatican, China, the US, Russia – and I consider it essential that France is also involved in the process. After the last declarations of the French defence minister, Michelle Alliot-Marie, it would seem that everything points in that direction.

To conclude, the attitude of the Spanish judiciary since the ceasefire declaration has been shameful. One example is the unspeakable detention of Arnaldo Otegi, [the head of the banned separatist party Batasuna]. Madrid should employ better justice and more imagination. Zapatero repeatedly pounds us with the idea of "prudence, prudence and more prudence". I agree. But the untenable parsimony that the Spanish leader has resorted to thus far could lead to the situation rotting in our hands, with all its consequences. May the spirits stop him from playing with fire.

————

Julen de Madariaga was one of a group of students who formed Ekin-Eta in 1959. After becoming disillusioned with Eta's methods he severed his links with the group in 1989. In 2002 he helped found Aralar – a political group campaigning for Basque independence. He also works as a lawyer.

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"Soy incapaz de hacer un pronóstico.." 

4 Responses to “Julen de Madariaga lanza severas advertencias a Zapatero”


  1. […] En Londres, el Guardian publica un artículo de Julen Madariaga, uno de los «patriarcas» fundadores de ETA, que avanza varias advertencias y dudas sobre el proceso defendido por Zapatero, de quien el antiguo dirigente etarra dice tener cierta «desconfianza». Madariaga insiste en que en el proceso negociador debieran participar «todas las provincias de Euskal Herría», incluida Iparralde, que es la denominación nacionalista para las provincias francesas que ETA y los independentistas radicales incluyen en la «negociación». Madariaga afirma que Zapatero está comportándose con «insostenible parsimonia», corriendo el riesgo de que «la situación se nos pudra entre las manos, con todas sus consecuencias». Y tales «consecuencias» tienen una importancia capital, ya que, según Madariaga, ETA podría «romper el alto el fuego», si las negociaciones no progresaran. […]


  2. […] Sorprende la sorpresa ante las advertencias de ETA, matizadas en la entrevista de GARA. Borges decía que los periódicos reposan en la ilusión de que cada día hay algo nuevo que contar. Los lectores del Guardian, Le Monde, El Mercurio, Európolis y este Infierno quizá recuerden algunos titulares recientes: “ETA puede volver”, “Julen de Madariaga lanza severas advertencias a Zapatero”. […]


  3. […] A la luz de su experiencia y conocimiento íntimo de ETA, quizá fuese imprudente no escuchar a Julen de Madariaga cuando subraya que es el pueblo vasco quién ha “forzado” el alto el fuego de ETA. Advirtiendo en un tono apenas elíptico que no es imposible descartar imprevisibles ramalazos de violencia ciega y criminal. […]


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