¿Aceptaría Madrid un voto independentista mayoritario en el País Vasco..?
A juicio del Economist, que sigue siendo el mejor semanario de Europa, si no del mundo, el problema vasco es irresoluble sin una aproximación “no partidista” y un acuerdo mínimo entre PP – PSOE; con deseable apoyo del PNV.
Con una diferencia de fondo entre Madrid, Londres, Euskadi, Irlanda del Norte: If a clear majority in Northern Ireland or in Scotland, for that matter voted for independence, most politicians in London would accept the result. In contrast, all governments in Madrid remain pathologically hostile to any such idea anywhere in Spain.
Sospecho que la mera cita de tales puntos de vista, expresados por un medio de referencia internacional, muy alejado de la incomunicación cainita más palmaria, ya me convierte en un personaje sospechoso.
The Economist Jun 7th 2007, Ceasefire no more
Ceasefire no more
Europe’s worst nationalist terrorist problem badly needs a bipartisan approach
SO HOW long is permanent? Just over 14 months ago the Basque separatist group ETA trumpeted its promise of a “permanent ceasefire”. It first broke its word as early as last December when it blew up a van at Madrid airport, killing two Ecuadoreans. This week it backed actions with words, formally declaring its supposedly permanent truce at an end.
Coming soon after his Socialist Party did badly in local elections, this is a huge blow to Spain’s prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. Over the past three years he has personally gone out of his way to start a Basque peace process and keep it going. December’s airport bombing was a big setback for him. The ending of the ceasefire, which seems sure to be followed by a renewed outbreak of violence, is likely to damage him even more—and could yet put paid to his party’s chances of winning next March’s election.
The cynicism of ETA’s ceasefire, which it not only broke but also used to rearm itself, has been shameless. Yet it is a weaker organisation than it was. It has killed only four people in the past four years, compared with 800 in the previous 36. The Spanish police now co-operate more effectively with their French counterparts. Even so, it is wrong to believe, as Spain’s opposition People’s Party (PP) avers, that ETA terrorism can be dealt with by force and punishment alone.
Are there parallels and contrasts to be drawn between ETA and the IRA in Northern Ireland? Certainly, there is a dismaying difference between the resumption of Basque terrorism and last month’s power-sharing deal between Ian Paisley of Ulster’s Democratic Unionists and Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein. Yet such comparisons are seldom exact. The Basque region has long had far more power devolved to it than Northern Ireland. It has no equivalent to the sectarian divide of Catholics and Protestants, nor to the dual involvement of two governments, Britain’s in London and Ireland’s in Dublin. Spain’s moves towards federalism are a work in progress that bears little resemblance to anything happening in Britain.
There are, however, two other differences with Northern Ireland that the politicians in Madrid should reflect upon and learn from. One is that British governments seem less exercised about any threat that a part of their country might one day break away. If a clear majority in Northern Ireland—or in Scotland, for that matter—voted for independence, most politicians in London would accept the result. In contrast, all governments in Madrid remain pathologically hostile to any such idea anywhere in Spain.
No time for partisanship
The second difference is that, right from its inception in the mid-1980s, support for the Northern Ireland peace process was wholly bipartisan. The Labour opposition at Westminster firmly backed the Tories in their negotiations with Dublin and with Sinn Fein, under both Margaret Thatcher and John Major. Similarly, the Conservative opposition has been solidly behind Tony Blair.
In contrast, the PP has fiercely resisted Mr Zapatero’s every move over the Basque problem. The party remains bitter about its unexpected loss of the March 2004 election, which fell a few days after the Madrid train bombings. Many in the PP still insist that ETA was somehow involved, despite all the evidence that the bombings were the work of Islamist terrorists. It was brave, if perhaps naive, of Mr Zapatero to try to make peace in the Basque region on his own. But the PP’s hostility made his task vastly more difficult. A prerequisite for future plans to deal with ETA must be that the two main parties in Spain find common ground first.