ETA & Zapatero: The process goes on

por GEES, 19 de diciembre de 2007

Make no mistake about it. ETA’s supposed cease-fire is now formally over, but this does not mean that Spain’s Socialist government will finally halt its secret negotiating process with the terrorist group. Zapatero did not say it yesterday and neither did ETA. If the  killings of two innocent people with a car bomb last December at a Madrid airport parking garage did not end the process, it is even less likely that a mere communiqué could bring it to conclusion.
Zapatero has not only avoided saying that he has desisted from his intention to talk with the terrorists, he has actually vindicated his attempt to negotiate with them and says that he will continue his endeavors for peace.
The words “endeavor for peace” and “negotiation with terrorists” are synonymous when pronounced by the current president. For ETA members, there is also common ground to restart the negotiation with the government, in spite of calling off the truce, as reiterated by Batasuna, ETA’s outlawed political branch. Moreover, for Zapatero, not even the murder of members of his own party will be an impediment to continue the talks with those killers. He already demonstrated that much in 2002 and 2004.
The Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) and ETA concur with the analysis that puts all the blame on the Popular Party (PP) for their inability to culminate the process of surrender to the terrorists. They are right in that assessment. Had it not been for the Popular Party’s steadfastness in defense of democratic principles, for the civic rebellion led by the victims of terrorism and also for the fortitude shown by some institutions abiding the rule of law—like the judiciary—it is more than likely that the process would have prevailed; that the Basque Country could be on its way to independence; that the Spanish province of Navarre had already been annexed; that not only the terrorist De Juana Chaos—the killer of 25 innocent people—but most ETA prisoners had been released; and that Zapatero and Otegi (spokesman for ETA-Batasuna) were candidates to the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord.
Nevertheless, this is not the moment to lower one’s guard. The PSOE and ETA both know that the will to negotiate still remains intact. There will be talks and negotiation regardless of the casualties that ETA may add to its list in the coming months. They will try to keep it out of sight, but there are very few doubts that they will carry it into action. The problem is with the price. Zapatero had committed himself to pay a higher price than the one he could assume in political and judicial terms. Nevertheless, his will to buy his peace with our freedom persists.

©2007 Translated by Miryam Lindberg