Otegi and the judgement of history: an analysis by Antoni Bassas

Arnaldo Otegi, leader of the Basque nationalist left, has visited our studio.

I can tell you now that what Otegi says and does interests me much more than the controversy over whether he should be received in Parliament or not. Among other reasons, because Otegi is an important player in Basque politics, so important in fact that he will soon run as a candidate for Lehendakari (the Basque president). That is why we are interested in asking him questions and listening to him.

I believe that it is perfectly compatible to repeat, once again, a moral condemnation of ETA terrorism, which is responsible for more than 800 murders, while showing that there are politicians who are more comfortable with the "everything is ETA" argument, when in reality ETA announced the definitive end of armed activity in October 2011-- that is, four years and four months ago. Since then, nobody has had to use a bodyguard in the streets for fear of an attack.

As true as it is that Otegi was a member of ETA and that he has spent over 14 years of his life in prison, it is equally true that 18 years ago he proposed a pact in Lizarra to end the violence, and that without his leadership --at times contested from within-- nobody could explain how the Basque nationalist left is now overwhelmingly in favor of peaceful and democratic means to achieve its political goals. We don't need to applaud Otegi —no need to— but the time has come to put an end to the demonization of your opponent, especially when the road to peace before us is now not a steep path, but almost a highway.

With this said, I recommend that you read the interview with Otegi, because regardless of everything we have said, his analytical ability is sharp and his point of view on the Basque Country, the Spanish government that must emerge from the June 26th elections, competition by Podemos, the ability of Iglesias' party to change the uni-national nature of the Spanish state, and the Catalan process, are of the greatest interest.

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