A New Political Course, Summer review
A new political course begins in the Basque Country. A political course that will be important for the resolution of the conflict. All of the actors must take steps towards a definitive and democratic resolution to the conflict. A resolution which must be based on the respect for the word of the citizens of the Basque Country. And it is time to pass from a unilateral phase to a multilateral phase, where all of the actors take positive steps, where among everyone a decisive dialogue can be dealt with, which brings a just and lasting peace to our people.
The Spanish and French states continue to maintain themselves in the most complete immobility and applying measures of the past: arrests, the cruel penitentiary policy, threats of banning, etc. But these recipes of the past are totally incomprehensible for the social majority of this country which is committed to ending all of these violations of rights. The states have to leave aside the recipes of the past and take steps on the path to a democratic solution, and adopt an active attitude in favor of a democratic normalization. Sooner than later, the Spanish and French governments and ETA must sit down to dialogue to overcome the consequences of the conflict.
It is time to take the step of all of us resolving the conflict. From the Izquierda Abertzale we defend a democratic agreement for the resolution of the conflict. And with this objective we are going to continue working in this new course, with hope and conviction. The definitive and just resolution to the conflict is closer than ever. The day in which Basque citizens freely decide our future is closer than ever.
This summer has been marked in a great way by the extreme situation in which Basque political prisoners are living and by the extreme cruelty that the Spanish government is acting through their penitentiary policy. The case of Iosu Uribetxeberria is scandalous, ill with cancer in a terminal phase and who is being kept in prison. Iosu is suffering from terminal cancer in two nodules found in his brain and his lungs. The prisoner was diagnosed with cancer in 2003 and in spite of that he has been kept in prison.
Article 92 of the Spanish Penal Code allows for the release of prisoners with incurable diseases. The prisoner has spent approximately one month in the San Sebastian Hospital under 24-hour police custody.
The prisoner was forced to go on a hunger strike to denounce the treatment he was suffering and to demand dignified conditions and his parole according to Article 92. After more than two weeks on this hunger strike, he was forced to abandon this protest after a medical advisory about the seriousness of his situation. The prisoner explained that he was fighting for his life and his freedom and that it didn’t make sense to continue with the protest if he risked both.
The medical reports state that the best for Iosu and for his treatment would be the application of Article 92 and being freed on parole. It is up to the judges and the government to adopt this measure as soon as possible.
This case has aroused a large amount of solidarity and mobilization in Basque society and also beyond our borders. Various citizens began a hunger strike at the same time as Iosu, about 15 people have gone 20 days without eating. This past weekend more than 400 people in different towns of the Basque Country fasted and thousands more participated in different mobilizations. This same week a three day march has been called for to demand the release of Iosu and 13 other seriously ill Basque political prisoners. The march has been convened by 14 renowned people from the Basque social and cultural sphere who have called on Basque society to participate in it. Other mobilizations have taken place in other parts of the Basque Country.
This solidarity and support has also come from the international community which has shown their concern and solidarity with this Basque political prisoner. Also the media from around the world have covered this case.
Unfortunately, this is not the only case in which the penitentiary policy has shown its cruelty. There is the case of the prisoner Iñaki Erro, who suffers a serious heart problem, who has spent more than 25 years in prison and who should have been released years ago after completing his sentence. But they applied the “Parot Doctrine” to him and he remains in prison hundreds of kilometers from the Basque Country.
Another of the cruelest faces of dispersion were lived through by the wife and two sons of the political prisoner Mikel Egibar when they suffered a serious accident when they were returning from a visit. A sign of the seriousness of the accident was when the firemen had to pull them out of the car and for which they were later hospitalized.
From the Abertzale Left we consider that Iosu and the other seriously ill prisoners should be released immediately. Basque society doesn’t understand why the penitentiary policy is being maintained through repression and revenge. It must change in terms of the resolution of the conflict. It is time for solutions, the hour has come to build peace among us all, it is the moment to act with responsibility.
The repressive actions of the states haven’t ceased this summer. Various Basque citizens have been arrested in different places during the summer. The latest was this Monday in Urruña. These arrests do nothing more than prolong the suffering. The vast majority of Basque society asks for the end of the violations of all rights, among which are always included the arrests and persecution for political motivations.
For that, the Abertzale Left makes a clear call, to the Spanish and French governments, to leave aside these repressive measures that go nowhere, and in their place, to begin to act with the responsibility that the political moment requires. There is only one way to take on the search for peace and the resolution of a political conflict, and that is how it was done in other parts of Europe and the world: with the implementation measures and policies based on the respect of all human rights (civil and political), and through dialogue.
The Declaration of Aiete and the commitment to a dialogued end to the conflict in the Basque Country has also continued to gather support this summer.
In the Forum of Sao Paolo, celebrated at the beginning of July, a resolution was approved in the plenary session about the situation in the Basque Country and which welcomed the new political time.
In Morocco, at the congress of the Democratic Way political party, 15 political parties who were present there from different parts of Europe, Africa and Asia subscribed to a document in which among its points included support for a dialogued solution to the Basque conflict.
At the end of July we found out about the new initiative which this time came from Germany. There a group of members of parliament among whom was the minister of finances for the state of Brandenburg, Helmuth Markov, and a judge who was a former member of the German Constitutional Court, professor Ernst-Wolfgang Bockenforde, made public their adhesion to the Declaration of Aiete and presented a web page where they hope to continue gathering adhesions to this declaration.
Finally, in the First International Conference of Nations without a state, which recently took place in Sardinia, the representatives of all the political parties who were present there approved a declaration in which they expressed their support for the Basque peace process.
A New Political Course
The course begins strongly with the recent announcement by the Lehendakari of the Basque Autonomous Community (the political administration of three of the seven Basque Provinces) of early elections. On October 21st, the citizens of Alava, Vizcaya and Guipuzcoa will have an important date to elect our representatives. The Abertzale Left comes to these elections in a coalition of sovereigntist and leftist forces, EHBILDU. A commitment to the unity of forces for a new political time in the Basque Country with the objective of consolidating the new scenario in our country.
A project based on commitments: to peace and a solution with social justice, with participative and direct democracy, with women and youth, with Euskara (Basque) as our language, against racism and xenophobia, a project which as one of the candidates said in a recent interview that wants to turn the institutions little by little to our objectives: sovereignty and leftist ideas.
Before the elections, another important date on the calendar will be September 26th. ELA, LAB, ESK, STEE-EILAS, EHNE, Hiru, CGT-LKN and CNT, as well about half a hundred social collectives will take part in a General Strike. This General Strike wishes to respond to the policy of social cuts and tax raises that the government of the PP is carrying out. This General Strike supposes a new step and social thermometer in the denouncing of the economic policies of the government of the PP. Basque workers will take to the streets to denounce the cuts in rights and demand a more egalitarian social policy.
Another even that will have even greater importance in the political course will be the constitutive process of SORTU. The new political formation of the Abertzale Left after ten years of bannings and political apartheid. The constitutive process of the new political formation is in its initial phase, the elaboration of presentations, which this September will be distributed in towns and neighborhoods. After that there will be a small forced stoppage due to the elections. After that the constitutive process will resume in November with debates and decisions about the presentations. Finally, a constitutive Congress will take place and the political line and the organizational scheme will be approved, together with the election of the first leadership.
From this bulletin we will continue the evolution of these events and others as they happen. We will try to bring you all the most complete information about them. You can also find current information on the following web pages: ezkerabertzalea.info (in Spanish and Basque) and at basquepeaceprocess.info (in English).