This update note comes to us via EITb:
Visit in February
Ibarretxe visits Standford: University pleased, others unpleased
The prestigious university of California is hosting a conference by the Basque PM Juan José Ibarretxe. Two people have started collecting signatures against the conference. The conference pleases Stanford.
Basque Prime Minister Juan José Ibarretxe is visiting California on February, where Stanford University has invited the Basque leader to speak at a special forum on February 14th.
However, it seems that the conference does not please everybody. The University's newspaper, The Daily Stanford, reported last week a student at Stanford along with a Silicon Valley worker who grew up in the Basque city of Vitoria-Gasteiz have circulated an online petition on the Internet to protest against the conference.
The protesters say the Basque Premier sympathizes with the armed Basque group ETA and the conference influences the Spanish general elections, set for three weeks after the scheduled visit.
The petition has garnered 3,500 online signatures so far, ,most of them from Spain according to the U.S. university. The Government of Navarre has also signed the petition and has sent a letter to the president of the University protesting the Basque PM's visit.
Academic freedom and tradition of European political leaders
Stanford provost John Etchemendi, of Basque descent, argued that the political climate in Spain has made it easy for certain parties to condemn all Basque politicians for the crimes committed by the ETA.
Several professors have also defended the invitation to Ibarretxe, remarking the academic freedom and tradition of Stanford of inviting European politicians.
Ibarretxe's conference falls within the Basque PM's travel to California, where he will also meet California's Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi.
Uh oh, excuse me Mr. Etchemendi but, what about the centuries of violence by Spain and France against the Basque people?