What is ETA?
ETA stands for Euskadi Ta Askatasuna and it means “Basque Homeland and Liberty” in English. It is a terrorist and separatist group founded in 1959 with the goal of gaining an independent Basque state in an area on the northern part of Spain and southwestern part of France.
The Basques refer to people living in some mountainous parts between Spain and France. They are said to be Christians with a distinct culture and have long been striving for their independence. ETA originally started out as a group trying to promote their own culture. Many young students in the 60s also became part of the group as a form of resistance to the military dictatorship of General Franco. Since then, ETA has evolved into a nationalist and terrorist organization involved in several killings as part of their yearning for independence.
Most of ETA’s terror activities are targeted towards the government. The first recorded killing attributed to the group involved a police officer in the year 1968. In the 1970s, they were again involved in the killing of General Franco’s supposed successor – Luis C. Blanco. ETA also was responsible in some bombings and plots to kill several government officials. In 1995, conservative Popular Party leader Jose Maria Aznar, who would later become the prime minister of Spain, was almost killed by a car bomb planted by ETA activists. Over the last 40 years, this separatist organization has been blamed for killing about 800 people including civilians, people from the police force and the government.
The Basque region in Spain already has some form of autonomy. They have their own parliament and tax collection system. They also have their own police force. But ETA’s supporters are still not content and still fight for full freedom and independence from Spain and France. Today, ETA’s hardcore supporters continue to be involved in various terror activities. Both France and Spain are working together to control these activities by the ETA group.