ETA founder member slams Basque separatists

4th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

4 October 2007, MADRID - AFP - A founder of the armed Basque separatist group ETA poured scorn on the organisation Thursday, charging it is driven by hate and will never achieve independence for the northern Spanish region.

4 October 2007

MADRID - AFP - A founder of the armed Basque separatist group ETA poured scorn on the organisation Thursday, charging it is driven by hate and will never achieve independence for the northern Spanish region.

"ETA, it's just four guys plus a drum to make a lot of noise. ETA has no doctrine, only hate," Xabier Zumalde, 69, told the Spanish free daily 20 Minutos.

Zumalde became ETA's first military chief in 1965, when Spain was under the dictatorship of the late Francisco Franco.

He benefited from an amnesty decreed after Franco's death to leave the organisation in 1976 without facing charges. Now aged 69, married with two sons, he works as an inventor and describes himself as a "citizen of the world."

ETA has killed more than 800 people in four decades of armed struggle for independence of Basque territories which they say include parts of northern Spain and southwest France.

But in a vitriolic outburst, Zumalde said the group now served no purpose.

"Nationalism is a deception and independence today is not possible and has no sense," he told 20 Minutos.

"You have to realise that if ETA had never existed, the Basque Country would have still the same degree of autonomy as today," he said.

He also expressed concern over the influence ETA has over young Basque people.

"For a lot of them, ETA is attractive, it has a pyschological power."

He also blasted the head of the Basque regional government, nationalist Juan Jose Ibarretxe, who last week announced plans to hold referendums on the region's future as part of a "road map" for a new political framework with the rest of Spain.

"Ibarretxe is an imbecile. If the referendum takes place, the Basque people will reject it," he said.

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Subject: Spanish news

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