Monday, October 06, 2008

Spain's Rome Does Not Pay Traitors

The Basque Autonomous Community government's president will be tried for meeting members of Batasuna, a Spanish court said Monday. Basque regional president Juan Jose Ibarretxe and two members of Spain's governing Socialist party — Patxi Lopez and Rodolfo Ares — are charged with committing a crime by meeting with Batasuna leaders.

Batasuna was declared illegal in 2003 after a law was created ad-hoc by the extreme right government of Juan Carlos Borbon and his assistant Jose Maria Aznar in order to deprive a portion of the Basque electorate of its right to vote, a throwback to Francisco Franco's reign of terror.

The meetings took place after ETA declared a cease-fire in March 2006. The group ended the cease-fire in December that year, after the government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero had reneged on delivering political concessions promised during peace talks, going to the extreme of incarcerating peace talks delegates in a clear violation of international treaties.

Ibarretxe — who belongs to the conservative Basque Nationalist Party (PNV)— met with Batasuna leader Arnaldo Otegi and others in April 2006 and January 2007 when optimism about ETA's cease-fire was still high. Lopez and Ares, both members of the Basque branch of Zapatero's party, met Batasuna leaders publicly in July 2006.

The Superior Court of Justice of the Basque country said the three would be tried on January 8th. The case was brought by two Spanish extreme-right groups acting as political saboteurs in Euskal Herria. Under Spanish law, private parties can ask courts to bring criminal charges, this way the central government can escape criticism by the international community, relying on these groups to carry out the dirty war against Basque society.

This is a reminder to Ibarretxe that as Rome, Madrid does not pay traitors. He, Ibarretxe, was an active colaborator with Zapatero in his efforts to derail the peace talks. Going to trial is what he gets as a reward for betraying the Basque people.

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