This week's The Economist prints a piece on Spain and ETA (On the verge of a nervous peace. Is ETA about to declare a permanent ceasefire?)
Bill Featherstone offers a comment:
In the Spanish version of the war on terror, good news are hard to come by. No matter how weakened is the ETA organisation, everybody realises that a definite peace will mean a very important boost to president Zapatero slim chances to opt for re-election and the overall chances of the Socialist party to perform positively in the upcoming local elections.
No mater how important a definite peace in the so called "North war" could be for Spain as a country, I fear that obscure interests, as it has happened before, will spoil the chance for a complete ceasefire in the foreseeable future. I wish I'd be wrong, though.
But so far, the extortion practices remain active for many a business in the Basque country and the hardened core of ETA would not be ready to give up those revenues.
As it has been mentioned before, today's ETA is more an organised crime syndicate that a political, however radical, organisation. The number of individuals, whether in jail or in exile, whose personal economy depends of the organisational funds has not declined in the past recent years, rather the opposite. And in the current economic situations it wouldn't be easy to "buy out" ETA's disappearance as it has been previously suggested (back in the 90's some thought that putting the whole of the Basque radicals population on some sort of government payroll, would cost three times less that the police and law enforcement dealing with the ETA terrorist problem budget).
There are still interests that favour a continuity of the so-called Basque independence struggle and not all of them are just political.