Otegi’s letter sent in the name of all five convicted in the “Bateragune Case” 2011/09/24

Before beginning, we’d like to express our thanks to all of those who today, and throughout the past weeks, have shown their support and solidarity. With your permission we would like to share that solidarity with all Basque political prisoners and with revolutionaries around the world who are criminalized for their activist commitment.
With the arrests two years ago they tried to impede that the change of strategy in the Basque Left was done in a cohesive and orderly fashion. Today with this harsh sentence they are only have one objective: trying to impede in the coming weeks and months that we take steps, in consonance with new strategy we’ve adopted, secures the new scenario in Euskal Herria in a definitive and irreversible way. They couldn’t stop the former and we won’t let them stop the latter.
We had the occasion to transmit to you from the cells of the National Court that we desired to offer an olive branch to those who judged us and sentenced us. We weren’t allowed to and that fact is a highly significant metaphor for the objective they seek: to let the olive branch fall, to in this way go back to scenes of violent confrontation and again to give them their excuses which hide their absolute political weakness and their reactionary and authoritarian character, that leaves the Basque Country with no alternative other than economic crisis, denial of our rights and the most cruel repression.
Yes. We have to say it loud and clear, powerful forces still exist which are installed in different sectors of the state that manage an agenda whose only objective is to impede peace in Euskal Herria.
The agents who manage this agenda of lies and repression are trying on this occasion, and we want them to know that we are aware of it, to keep the new steps towards the definitive and irreversible character of the democratic process that has opened in Euskal Herria from happening.

They will not succeed!
Because, Mr. Lopez, Ares, Rubalcaba*… if peace doesn’t come to Euskal Herria at the hands of an inexistent Spanish State of Law, then it will come at the hands of those who support the right to state for the Basque people.
For that we make a call for all of those who are in favour of a Basque democratic process: strengthen the path taken and abide by the decisions and commitments that we’ve acquired (with our own people and with the international community). Because the best response is to strengthen the path that we’ve chosen.

Two things to close with; first, we want our heartfelt congratulations to reach the Palestinian people for the initiative carried out in a unilateral way before the United Nations; we are with you… Long live the Palestinian people!
Second, while we wrote this letter we had passed through the prison at Burgos and many were the memories that came to mind: the Trial of Burgos (a kiss Itziar, Txutxo, Julen, a big hug Jokin!)* Also from this prison on September 27, 1975, they took Angel Otaegi out to be shot (together with Txiki and three members of the FRAP)*, so many struggles, so much suffering… but now we are on the right path and never forget what the Bertsolari said in Elgoibar: smiling is another way of baring your teeth!

*Lopez, Arez Rubalcaba: key members of the Spanish Socialist Party during the 2006 peace process.* In December 1970, several members of ETA were condemned to death in the Proceso de Burgos (“Burgos Trial”), but international pressure resulted in their sentences being commuted (a process which, however, had by that time already been applied to some other members of ETA). on 27 September 1975 Franco executed the members of the armed organisation ETA Jon Paredes Manot (Txiki) and Angel Otaegi Etxebarria as well as 3 members of a Spanish marxist group called FRAP.

The enemies of peace will not win in the Basque Country 10/05/2012

In light of the sentences that have come out these days (that of the Constitutional Court about the Parot Doctrine and our own case) we want to send some reflections that it is convenient not to forget at the time of faithfully analyze the current political situation that is occurring in our ancient Basque Country.

a) We transmit, in the first place, in front of all the patter that some members of of political class are lavishing these days the about the independence of the Judicial Power, the Rule of Law… (the judicial independence that the OCDE puts in 64th place Iran and Egypt)… we give to you a true piece of information: weeks ago, more than a month, our sources of information (including even some of those who informed us of March 11th) have passed on to us with total precision what was going to be the criteria of the sentence about the Parot Doctrine… and what the sentence was going to be (including the date that it would be made public!) in what they have called the Bateragune Case. Fine, this verification brings us to definitively settle any shadow of doubt as far as each and every one of the “judicial” decisions that affect Independence obey exclusively only POLITICAL criteria.

b) In the second place, I want to remind you that I have insistently stated that an agenda exists managed by the enemies of PEACE that seeks, with an ever higher degree of cruelty and desperation at the same time to collapse, block, the neutralize and destroy Peace Process put in march by the Abertzale Left and all of the Sovereigntist Movement. So we settle any shadow of a doubt about what is the nature and the will of manage this agenda: to prevent that Peace and Democracy open a path in the Basque Country.
This is the objective of and those who manage this agenda are Mr. Rajoy, Mr. Rubalcaba and Mr. Basagoiti, the intelligence services… etc.

c) And many are asking, why oppose Peace? … the reason is simple, they don’t have an agenda for it, they were comfortably installed (making a political business and even economic) in the “antiterrorist” scheme that allowed them to avoid responsibilities, to hide their true antidemocratic nature and to cover up the weakness of their political positions. Today peace terrifies them… and for that they need to block the Process and do so where they still have a real possibility, in the prisons, in the repression…. They need, because they know that to overcome the phase of the consequences of the conflict immediately brings us to the phase of dialogue about the causes of it. And they don’t have an agenda or a credible alternative for this phase, they know that they can’t use democratic reasons to oppose the desires of the Basque People to be respected as a Nation, with the right to freely and democratically decide their future.

d) These repressive attitudes (which do nothing but add more suffering to dozens of Basque families) try in this occasion to reach at least two added objectives:
d.1) On the one hand to seek the rejection of independence, the generation of new frustrations, the loss of confidence in our possibilities, makng us believe that we aren’t capable of making them vary their position of strength… no believe for one second… the strength of this state just measured itself to the rhyme of an Argentinian Tango, while the EU and the USA look the other way.
d.2) Also, this time the state has sought to “neutralize” a possible candidate for the coming elections in the Basque Country. You’ll understand that for me it means an added honor to be a militant of the Abertzale Left in which the State believes that with my candidacy the independence movement will win the elections in the Basque Autonomous Community. Fine, now we know which candidates aren’t to the liking of the enemies of Peace… so we are preparing with delight the most refined democratic responses: for the first time in the history of the Independence Movement we will dispute the elections with high possibilities of achieving victory in the coming elections in the Basque Autonomous Community.

Finally, let us never forget that just as the disappearance of the armed  was an indispensible condition (like the electoral and institutional presence) for our new strategy… they won’t be sufficient without organization, without struggle, without disobedience, peaceful, yes, … but disobedience…, definitely a strategy capable of organizing a massive political challenge to the Enemies of Peace.

This is the difficult path that we have chosen, the sons and daughters of Guernica , and Amaiur, of Telesforo and la Pasionaria, of Santi and Josu, of Jon, of Fidel, of Che… Smile because we are going to fight!
Arnaldo Otegi (in name of the Bateragune Five)


*Historical places and references of the struggle for freedom
*Telesforo. Telesforo Monzon, Basque nationalist leader; Pasionaria (Dolores Ibarruri), Basque Communist leader during the Spanish civil war; Shanti Brouard and Josu Muguruza: Abertzale left leaders killed by death squads. Jon idigoras: Herri Batasuna spokesperson.

Prosopon person 01/03/2014

The etymological antecedents of the word “person” are found in Greek and Etruscan. In the Greek world the expression “person” (PROSOPON), made reference to the mask that ACTORS used to represent their roles in theatrical representations. After this meaning it was used to define members of human society.
Who hasn’t once heard someone say that in the end life is an authentic dance of masks?
There are many and varied… although also in this the Basque pro-independence activists have a limited offer. Normally we have always been assigned the mask of a prisoner.
But, and although they don’t believe it, for some time now in spite of everything we have drawn a large smile… because at the end of the day, the mask of sadness has already been taken by the enemies of Peace and Freedom.
Arnaldo Otegi, from the Logroño prison.prosopon

Slavery and Competitiveness 03/01/2014

Just a few centuries ago in the so-called West Indies, the British and French confronted each other to control the sea routes as well as the booming industries related to sugar cane.
The plantations of sugar cane were naturally worked by slaves.
To produce RUM, sugar cane was introduced first in grand presses of mills made to extract the juice of the sugar cane. It sometimes happened, however, that the arms of the slaves were trapped by the strong dams taking them away completely.

For such eventualities, the large landowners, with a naturally evident entrepreneurial spirit, assigned other slaves the mission of cutting off with a machete the arm that was trapped. This technique had nothing to do with the worry of the landowners for the health of their slaves.
The reason was more simple: an excess of blood in the sugar juice impoverished the quality of the product (making it less “competitive”, naturally).
Today however the grand financial and industrial oligarchies are more refined and in consequence they have sophisticated their tendencies: today they use Governments and Parliaments as a machete to cut the rights of the workers… because an excess in the rights of the juice of their rates of profit impoverishes the quality and competitiveness of their products… and above all in the accounts of their results.
Also today the council of human rights says that there are more than 12 million slaves in the world. For that (and for many other reasons) the Left needs to return to reconsider the essential questions to find again the adequate responses.
Arnaldo Otegi, from the Logroño prison.

The crisis is also a great opportunity (or it should be) 30/04/2014

On November 1st, 1775, a true social tragedy took place in Lisbon. A huge earthquake, followed by a tsunami and a fire levelled the Lisbon capital and caused its complete destruction and the deaths of tens of thousands of people. On this day the people of Lisbon devotedly fulfilled their religious obligations and this provoked in the middle of the desolation and paralysed by fear that in the great majority they turned their eyes towards the Church asking why such a brutal punishment.
Was this the price that those who devotedly completed the designs of the Holy Mother Church deserved? What God was capable of submitting them to such brutality? The only response they obtained was from the mouth of the Italian Jesuit Javier Malagrida; their sins were the origin of that misfortune, the only alternative continued to be prayer and submission to God and to the Church. Facing this thesis the Marques of Pombal, an ILLUSTRATED man, who took advantage of that crisis to rebuild Lisbon with the beauty that we still observe converting it into a cultured city, open to the citizens and closed to the intolerant and the intransigent.
Today I ask myself with a certain diligence if we are capable of taking advantage of the current crisis of civilization that we are living in (economic, ecological, energy-wise) to be able to ask ourselves, why? Maybe we are not good consumers? There are also those who point out to us the cause of our ills specifying that our modern sins have brought us here (“you’ve lived above your possibilities”, they tell us).
Facing them and like the Portuguese Marques, it is up to us however to return to rebuild a city and a State open to the citizens, to the culture, to tolerance, to equality… And closed to those who are only capable of sustaining their great economic benefits at the cost of causing economic earthquakes and tsunamis and devastating social fires. This is the work of the Left in general and of the Basque pro-independence left in particular.
Gora Maiatzeran lehena!
Arnaldo Otegi