Amidst the news of the Capture & Death of Libya’s Col. Muammar Khadaffy, and the news that President Obama was bringing home all US combat troops from Iraq by year’s end, was the news from Spain that the Basque Separatist Group, ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna), was laying down their weapons and would not use violence as a means to achieve their political goals.
ETA, which when translated into English means “Basque Homeland and Freedom”, was founded in 1959 during the rule of Gen. Francisco Franco. The paramilitary, socialist group’s goal has been gaining independence for El País Vasco (the Greater Basque Country) which stretches from the North-Central Coast of Spain along the Bay of Biscay into Southwestern France.
The governments of both Spain and France, along with the European Union and the United States, have declared ETA to be a terrorist organization. Since 1968, ETA has claimed responsibility for dozens of bombings and kidnappings. At least 800 people have been killed during their four-decade quest for independence.
Here are links to coverage on this story including the actual announcement from ETA (with English translation):
(From BBC) Basque group ETA says armed campaign is over
As you can imagine, the news has been well received by Spaniards, many of whom have lived under the shadow of ETA’s threats for the past 42 years:
From AFP/Agence France-Presse: Spain’s relief at end of ETA bombs
From Spain’s leading daily newspaper “El País”: Democratic authorities prepare for a future without ETA violence
Hopefully, this announcement will truly be the end to decades of domestic terrorism in Spain. You’re probably wondering why I’m blogging about this; first, it’s absolutely newsworthy and secondly, my ancestors are from El País Vasco (about six generations back via Puerto Rico).