International

ETA Ends Ceasefire With Spanish Government

June 11, 2007 11:53 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The Basque separatist group ETA has declared an end to its 15-month ceasefire with the Spanish government, extinguishing hopes of a peaceful end to the conflict that’s claimed over 800 lives.

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Spain is bracing itself for a violent summer following ETA’s pledge to resume its terrorist campaign for Basque independence.

The announcement ends a 15-month ceasefire viewed by many as the only viable path to peace between the Spanish government and the terrorist group.

ETA blames the government for the ceasefire’s breakdown, citing its refusal to allow the group’s banned political arm, called Batasuna, to take part in recent local elections. Although permitting the group to participate may have salvaged the peace process, the elections came at a pivotal time for Prime Minister Zapatero, allowing him the opportunity to publicly counter claims that his policies on ETA have been too yielding.

ETA, which stands for Euskadi Ta Askatasuna or "Basque Homeland and Freedom," is a terrorist organization committed to the formation of an independent Basque nation.

Although it began in 1959 as a student group opposed to the oppressive regime of General Franco, since the 1970s ETA has waged a violent guerilla campaign that’s taken the lives of over 800 people.

Despite ETA’s aims, the group is only marginally supported by the people of the Basque country. The Basques are thought to be direct descendants of the Paleolithic age inhabitants of Western Europe, and have endured centuries of oppression from French and Spanish governments alike.

Headline

ETA’s decision to end its 15-month ceasefire with the Spanish government has dashed hopes of a peaceful resolution to the nearly 40-year-long conflict. ETA’s renewed campaign comes right before Spain’s tourist season, raising fears that the group may target resorts or the America’s Cup yacht race.

Background

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Historical Context

The Basque separatists group ETA, “Basque Homeland and Freedom” (Euskadi Ta Azkatasuna), has waged a violent guerilla campaign for independence since the 1970s. The group started as a student resistance movement opposed to General Franco and his culturally repressive policies.

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