Arnaldo Otegi on his release from jail on March 1. There were celebrations in the Basque Country and among solidarity activists around the world on March 1 as Basque political prisoner Arnaldo Otegi was released from a Spanish jail after more than six years. Otegi, a leader of the Basque struggle for self-determination, was jailed by the Spanish state for politically organising in support of Basque independence.
Regional elections held in Spain on May 24 installed an historic pro-Basque state government in the Basque autonomous community of Navarre for the first time. It ended 16 years of rule by the pro-Spanish, centre-right Navarrese People's Union (UPN). The UPN won only 15 seats, down four from 2011. Its ally, the right-wing Spanish People’s Party (of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy), won two, half of its quota in 2011.
An international campaign for the release of jailed Basque pro-independence leader Arnaldo Otegi was launched at a conference in the European Parliament in Brussels on March 24. A statement calling for Otegi’s release was announced at the conference, which has been endorsed by international figures including former Latin American presidents, Nobel Prize winners, political representatives and former political prisoners.
An estimated 33,000 people marched through the Basque city of Donostia on January 17 to protest ongoing Spanish state repression against civil rights activists and lawyers in the Basque Country. Marching under a large banner reading “Human Rights, Resolution, Peace”, the demonstration included members of the Basque pro-independence left coalition EH Bildu, trade unions and supporters of Basque political prisoners.
The Basque people have suffered long-standing repression and denial of national rights under Spanish rule, including many jailings of supporters of Basque self-determination. The Basque nationalist movement is entirely committed to peaceful, non-violent means, with Basque armed group ETA declared a “permanent cessation” of armed activity in 2011. Spanish state repression has not ended, however. The statement below was released on January 17 by the Basque Peace Process website. ***
Willy Meyer, who was elected to European parliament in the May poll as lead candidate for United Left (IU), has demanded a binding referendum to allow the people of Spain to choose between the current model of a parliamentary monarchy or a republic. The call came after the June 2 announcement of Spain's King Juan Carlos that he would abdicate in favour of his son, Felipe.
After a few years in the making, Partizan Travel has finally been launched. It is a social enterprise that provides progressive-minded people across the world the chance to visit various countries in a different, authentic way. Visitors will learn about those nations by meeting grassroots activists and hearing about the history and reality of their struggles. They will take part in political events, enjoy local culture and traditional food.
The Spanish government’s response to the move by armed Basque pro-independence organisation Basque Homeland and Freedom (ETA) to put its weapons beyond use has clearly demonstrated it favours continuing conflict over peace. On February 21, ETA released a video showing two of its members meeting with representatives of the International Verification Commission. The IVC were inspecting weapons that had been put beyond operational use.
The armed group Basque Country And Freedom (ETA has made a significant step towards decommissioning the weapons used in its campaign for independence and freedom, Irish Republican News said on February 21. But the Spanish government immediately rejected the move. The decommissioning by ETA of some its cache of weapons and explosives, drawing a definitive line under decades of bloody conflict, was confirmed by an International Verification Commission.
From Sortu, left-wing party of supporters of Basque sovereignty, we would like to congratulate Green Left Weekly on publishing 1000 issues to date; a long journey, during which it has provided a truthful coverage of world events. We would like to express our thanks for the attention your publication has paid to news from Euskal Herria (the Basque Country), especially events of recent years, which have created a new political situation in our country and are bringing us closer to a just and lasting peace.