ETA terrorists snub Zapatero, call off ceasefire
By Robert Duncan
Things of late are not going the way of Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. After having relatively little trouble ramming through Parliament a series of controversial projects, Zapatero's golden touch may be fading.
Not only did his Socialist party lose out in the recent regional elections, but now his partners-in-peace have the gall to call him a fascist – and issue a return to arms.
While the Socialists were able to maintain control over roughly the same percentage of regional governments, it was the center-right Partido Popular that received the majority of votes - and in some cases, such as in Madrid and Valencia the percentages voting for the PP have to be alarming for the Socialists.
To date the regional elections have served as bellwether for general elections – with the party taking the largest number of votes in the regionals going on to win the general elections.
There have been rumblings inside the Socialist party bowels following the party's less than stellar performance in the regional elections earlier this month. Two recent Socialist candidates have even retired from politics.
In that context it is especially interesting that ETA, the Basque terrorist organization responsible for killing around 900 people, announced last week said it's calling off its 15-month truce effective midnight Tuesday.
ETA said it would be "active on all fronts to defend the Basque homeland" and claimed that "Zapatero's character has turned into a fascism that left parties and citizens without rights." Never mind that ETA's ceasefire was pure fiction. No serious person ever believed in the truce – and even less so after the terrorist organization claimed responsibility for the December bombing at Madrid's Barajas airport that killed two Ecuadoreans. ETA, for its part, insisted that the truce continued.
While ETA's December bombing was an opportunity to appreciate the art of double-speak, ETA now claims it is set on teaching a course on civics.
In particular, ETA says that under Zapatero there is a lack of "minimum democratic conditions." According to ETA, the May 27 regional elections were illegitimate since there were many politicians who were not allowed to run for office as they had links to Batasuna, ETA's outlawed political party.
That's not to say, however, that ETA would prefer to have the PP in power. The PP is the party of former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, who having been the target of an ETA bomb not surprisingly took a decidedly tough approach to terrorism.
There is no doubt that ETA's decision to call-off the truce has political overtones, as the terrorist organization seeks to erode support for the Socialist government. But the fact that ETA is dumping on Zapatero is to a certain extant ironic – although some might claim it's poetic justice - given that many Spaniards view this government as being soft on terrorism.
That view has only solidified after the Zapatero government freed from prison a notorious ETA member after he staged a dubious hunger strike. Shortly after the release of Ignacio de Juana Chaos from prison - who was convicted of killing over 20 people – he was filmed strolling arm-in-arm with his girlfriend. Juana Chaos is now staying in hospital, but has said that he would resume his hunger strike if he is forced to wear a bracelet armed with a transmitter, claiming that he is "not a dog."
The Zapatero government said it released the terrorist for humanitarian reasons. Pity the government didn't have the same consideration for terrorists' victims.
Robert Duncan is a journalist and ombudsman for foreign press in Spain. He is an Executive Board Member and Vice-President for the Organización de Periodismo y Comunicación Ibero-Americana, and Vice-President of the energy and telecommunications association, APSCE. He is News Editor for Spero News, and Editor-In-Chief of EnerPub. More of his writings can be found here, as well as at the Santificarnos website. He has also been published in World Catholic News, National Catholic Register, Renew America, Lifesite.net, as well as Capital Hill Coffee House, Common Conservative, The Conservative Voice, Enter Stage Right, News By Us, Conservative Crusader, World Net Daily, Mens News Daily and others. Robert was the bureau chief for an international news agency in Madrid for many years, and was published regularly in Dow Jones Newswires, with articles appearing in The Wall Street Journal.