Places in World Most Likely to Secede Euzkadi Basques Part 2

About the Basques of Euzkadi a place in the world likely to secede from Spain, size, population, and history of conflict.



The largest nationalist group among the French Basques is the Enbata party, organized in 1963. Enbata advocates parliamentary democracy and the ultimate confederation of all seven Basque provinces under reconstructed European boundaries. Especially since improving its relations with Spain, France has cast an increasingly wary eye on both its domestic Basque nationalists and the Spanish Basque terrorists who shelter in the Pays Basque.

Founder of the Spanish Basque nationalist movement was Sabino de Arana, who began to work for Vizcayan independence in 1892. He invented the term Euzkadi for the Basque nation, designed a flag, and organized the Basque Nationalist party (PNV). Nationalist fervor simmered through numerous schisms for 40 years. The Spanish Civil War finally provided the long-awaited opportunity. In exchange for Basque support against Franco, the Spanish Republican regime granted autonomy to three Spanish Basque provinces in 1936. Centered at Guernica, the main function of the short-lived Republic of Euzkadi was to issue refugee passports. While the Basques fought hard with what they had, Franco's forces crushed them within a year.

The PNV has become the conservative branch of Spanish Basque nationalism, advocating full autonomy in association with the Spanish state. In 1959, however, the radical nationalist ETA ("Basque Land and Liberty") party was formed. The ETA differs from the PNV in its support for unification of all seven Basque provinces, in its violent tactics, and in its socialistic aims. While ETA membership represents only a fraction of Basque nationalist sympathy, its efficient death-squad terrorism-including the murder of Spanish Premier Luis Carrero Blanco in 1973-has gained it a notoriety far exceeding its numbers. Though no evidence exists that Communists control the organization, Marxist ideology forms a strong element within the ETA.

The Basques' political and cultural isolation is based more on preference than on geographical barriers, but it is their language that most sets them apart. Eskuara is a unique language, unrelated to the Latin languages of Europe. Various linguistic theories claim it as related to ancient tongues of Africa, Asia, or America (even pre-Babel or Atlantis), or as a Paleolithic survivor among later Aryan arrivals. More than 25 dialects, some of them mutually unintelligible, have been identified. Whatever its mysterious origin, Eskuara, along with Roman Catholicism, still serves as the dominant cultural bond among the Basques.

In July, 1977, some 30 Spanish Basque legislators crossed the French border to reaffirm allegiance to Jesus Maria de Leizaola, PNV president of the Basque government-in-exile since 1960.

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