Monthly Archives: December 2006

Capitulation, by Spain's PM Rodríguez Zapatero

Yesterday, December 30 2006, Spain suffered a new terrorist attack by ETA, a follow up to their usual practice of destruction, terror and killings. This time it’s been in Madrid, as several times in the past, and for the third time in the airport, this time using the shiny new Terminal 4 building as a stage.

At the very least, ETA is reminding all of us that giving up violence and weapons is not in their plans. They continue to attack and kill since some 40 years ago, despite declaring in the last 9 months a “pemanent cease fire”.

Spain’s prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, initiated a negotiation process with ETA after their announcement of the “cease fire”, because he understood ETA’s statement to hold a cease fire to be an indication of their willingness to renounce violence, and without violence you can negotiate with terrorists (according to Rodríguez Zapatero).

However, despite what this prime minister believes, since the cease fire announcement in March 22, 2006, the terrorist violence has not stopped:

  • March 24, 2006: ETA declares a “permanent cease fire” (their words).
  • April 2006: ETA recruits set a shop on fire in Barañain (in Navarra, an autonomous region in Spain which ETA claims must join the Basque Country in an independent state).
  • May 2006: The Spanish Interior Minister deems it clear that sufficient proof exist to believe ETA’s cease fire is complete and true.
  • Summer of 2006: ETA continues to extort Basque and Navarre businesses (ETA does not stop its terrorist blackmailing activity, to continue funding itself).
  • October 2006: ETA steals 300 guns in France (ETA continues to equip itself with weapons)
  • Between October and December 2006: A myriad of damage to ATMs and political party buildings, by the pro-ETA street terrorists.
  • November 2006: ETA recruits burn two policemen alive in Bilbao. They survived.
  • December 2006: ETA sets a public bus on fire (with people inside) and sets a privately-owned truck (someone’s way of living) on fire in Azpeitia (Guipúzcoa, in the Basque Country).
  • December 2006: Police uncover a new explosive-hiding hole of ETA (ETA continues to equip itself with weapons)
  • December 2006: ETA plants and explodes a bomb in Madrid airport. As of today, two people are missing and there are several people wounded.

In summary, there was no such “cease fire“, but only cheap propaganda used by ETA and by Primer Minister Rodríguez Zapatero in the name of Spain, to justify negotiations among both of them.

In other words: A terrorist band (ETA) has managed, by means of terror attacks and killings, to make the Spanish Government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero sit down to discuss the band’s requests in exchange (supposedly) for ETA putting down their weapons for good. There’s only one name for this: capitulation on the part of the Government.

Putting an end to criminal activity cannot be done in exchange for the State yielding to the criminal. Criminals must abide by the law, as do the rest of citizens.

Any potential political objectives sought by the criminal can be the object of negotiation, but only within the legal framework agreed upon by all citizens: the democratic system. However this is exactly the opposite of ETA’s path of action. ETA tells us again and again they will not lay down their weapons, extortion or the killings as negotiation instruments.

Therefore, trading the end of violence for political objectives is simply unacceptable, for it would legitimize the terrorists’ strategy: explode a bomb, and they will listen to you and negotiate. When these or other criminals wishes something new, it is very easy: go around bombing public places and begin a new negotiation with the State. Why would the State surrender only before one and not the other?

Terrorist activity must be fought exclusively with the law, implementing the law. Spain is based on the Rule of Law for a reason. But Prime Minister José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero is driving the country flying over the Rule of Law, using alternative routes which will only lead us to problems in the future, not to mention the fact that the State will remain surrendered before the demands of the terrorist or criminal of the day.

This Spanish Prime Minister must drop his current anti-terrorism policy and initiate a new one, based on the strict implementation of the law, prosecuting terrorism with all means available through the Rule of Law:

  • Eliminate the financing and weapons supply structure of ETA.
  • Eliminate the ideological roots of hatred that feed this terrorism, through proper education policies, ensuring that parallel educational systems cannot exist as they do today, producing generations of citizens educated with terrorism in mind.
  • Guarantee freedom of speech for all citizens, eliminating the existing threats imposed by terrorists on those who do think think like them.
  • Initiate a penal reform, to do away with the embarrassing softening of punishments enjoyed by jailed terrorists today: Penalties should be served strictly in full, with no possibility of reduction or softening.

Any other way to end terrorism, such as the shoddy strategy of Rodríguez Zapatero, is a huge mistake.


Internet Censorship

The poet recently awarded with the 2006 Premio Cervantes (considered as the Spanish language Nobel prize for literature), Antonio Gamoneda, has said that controls should be put in place on the Internet to verify and check what gets published. (news article in El Mundo)

He claims not to have used the Internet ever, but he deems it appropriate to install such controls to avoid things like a false interview with him which, he says, is published on the net.

Basically he is proposing censorship on the Internet. This is almost technically impossible, but the serious part in his proposal is even the thought of curbing freedom of speech on the Internet.

On the Internet there are false interviews, along with other false information, and side by side with lots of true information. Exactly the same situation occurs in the world of daily press, books, or even conversations among people: It is human nature and it cannot be limited. A communication media must be free.

Then again, what could we expect from this poet, who is a friend and admirer of the Spanish prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero?. This proposal for censorship is not all that surprising, for it is identical to the “Consejo Audiovisual de Cataluña, (CAC)” (Catalonia Audiovisual Governing Body), created by three local nationalist Catalonian parties, allowed by Rodríguez Zapatero, in Catalonia. The CAC body has the goal to decide what is true and what is not true, to control what gets published in Catalonian communication media.

Now Gamoneda joins Rodríguez Zapatero, and Catalonian nationalists Maragall and Carod Rovira to bring the CAC concept to the Internet.

Short-sighted opposition to change

Since some time ago it is already clear that a company in a particular location is subject to the world-wide business and work environment conditions. It is not longer possible to take into consideration exclusively the near-by environment (a region or country) to function according to it.

Nowadays companies almost everywhere work in a global market which offers commercial and production opportunities, but which imposes also global competition.

Although this is nothing new, there are several structures in our societies which seem to overlook such fact, and continue to work as if such global competition did not exist.

In Spain in particular, there is strong resistance to admit changes in state and company provided social benefits for their citizens and employees respectively. Such benefits have progressively increased in quality and quantity in the last few years, driving the hiring and production costs higher as well in Spain. In parallel to these improvements, new previously inexistent competitiveness has emerged in developing countries. While production costs rise in Spain, new production capacity with lower costs crops up elsewhere in the world.

Therefore, we are in a new situation with a costly social benefit system which limits Spain’s competitiveness before new producing countries. Jobs cuts in Spain due to this very fact have already taken place in several occasions.

Work unions must, as the rest of participants in the global economy, recognize the fact that the environment in which companies operate has changed. Such changes affect all levels in the company, including workers and the hiring benefits.

When a gear begins rotating in the global economy machinery, the rest must do likewise, either by moving along, or readjusting within the machinery. A gear which doesn’t move, tied down by forces external to the machinery will break in the end.

It is thus necessary in Spain an evolution in the views of people and work unions to face global changes in the only effective manner: by taking part in them, rather than opposing them while maintaining working conditions which can only lead to a rupture with the rest of the world.