Following the recent ceasefire declared by ETA on 22nd March of this year (2006), never has it been more appropriate to look further into what the American Government has classified as one of the best-organised terrorist organisations in the world. In this essay I will explore the origins of ETA and the purpose of its formation. Secondly I will look at how ETA has evolved since its foundation in 1959 and investigate the changes that have taken place within the organisation itself. Following on from this I will examine ETA's motives and its methods, and what it represents in the minds of the Basque and Spanish people alike. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I will discuss the consequences of ETA and its actions; how they have affected the Basque Country, Spain, and the rest of the World. However this cannot be done without first taking into account the history of the Basque Nationalist Movement and all that that entails.
[...] Aranismo is the extreme version of Basque nationalism, and it is important to remember during this discussion that the Basque nationalist movement is a multi-faceted one, with many internal disagreements. The PNV represented a compromise between the radical Aranistas and moderate nationalists, an organization in which all nationalists could feel at home, and this was perhaps Arana's greatest legacy of all. However, it was only in the 1960s, during Franco's regime, when the letters standing for Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (Euskadi and Freedom) began to appear, daubed on the walls of towns in the two coastal provinces of Biscay and Guipúzcoa. [...]
[...] In its early days, ETA was beneficial in so far as it brought the issue of Basque nationalism to the forefront in Spanish politics: “Basque nationalism is peripheral in Spain in only a geographical sense, and whatever else may be said about ETA, there is no doubt that it took the nationalist debate out of Euskadi to Madrid and the corridors of power.” However this may have been the only benefit that ETA brought to the Basque people. As the organization evolved, it became more and more detrimental to the democratic process that was granting the Basque Country what independence it could in the form of the CAV (Comunidad Autónoma Vasca, Basque Autonomous Community) as a Statute of Autonomy which was approved in the 1979 referendum by the Basque people. [...]
[...] This abolition, on top of the rapid industrialization of the region that caused, much to the displeasure of the working-class, and influx of thousands of maketos derogatory term used by the nationalists to describe workers from other parts of Spain), was to mark the beginning of Basque nationalism and prompted the establishment of the PNV (Partido Nacionalista Vasco, Basque Nationalist Party) by Sabino de Arana y Goiri in 1895. The party was founded as a Catholic conservative party canvassing for the restoration of self-government. [...]
[...] ETA victims range from Luis Carrero Blanco to members and relatives of the army, Guardía Cívil, Polícía Nacional, to parliamentarians and sympathizers and partisans of other parties, to judges, lawyers, professors, journalists, and even anonymous citizens, some of them children. ETA does not seem to discriminate between the elderly and the young or the rich and the poor, their attacks transcend every category of person. The only discrimination they make is between supporters and non-supporters of ETA and the cause that they are fighting for. [...]
[...] The third group of radical nationalists has a strong Basque identity, which may assume racist tendencies in some cases. Politically they are close to the People's Unity/Basque Citizens (Herri Batasuna/ Eusko Herritarrok HB/EH), the political arm of ETA.' It is clear, therefore, that ETA's support base does not comprise of the Basque Country as a whole, the truth is far from it. Nowadays, ETA supporters represent a minority in the Basque region. According to a Euskobarómetro poll conducted by the Universidad del País Vasco of Basques support the aims of ETA but not their methods, and a considerable majority of 60% of Basques disagree completely with the terrorist organization. [...]
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