Saturday, October 22, 2011

Basque ETA Vows to End Violence

With Arab Uprisings in the Middle East and economic crises, across Europe, there is some welcome news in the Basque terrorist group's renunciation of violence.

Euskadi Ta Askatasuna ("Basque Homeland and Freedom" in the Basque language) has been implicated in the terrorist deaths of 800 people and local bombings. After the 2004 Al-Qaeda attack on Madrid, they slowed their terrorist activities.

Prime Minister Jose Zapatero has hailed their voluntary surrender as "a victory for Spanish democracy."

Or rather an outcome from the failure of populist appeasement. No longer contending with intermittent violence for regional interests that desire autonomy, the Spanish government faces the grim prospect of massive default on its growing debt, which is climbing towards rivaling the horrific numbers plaguing the Greek economy.

At this stage of the financial crisis, few interest groups will be seeking greater autonomy from Madrid, as every region of the country is struggling with credit freezes and mounting unemployment, all of which mouldering in a political culture that expects more from than the government than citizens have invested.

One could just as well argue that ETA is laying down its weapon not from moral suasion, but more likely out of economic necessity. The organization has dwindled down to 50 uncoordinated, disorderly fighters, who are probably struggling to put food on the table, like the rest of the Spanish people.

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