For four decades, Basque separatists—known as the Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, or ETA—have waged a bloody campaign for an independent homeland in northern Spain and southwest France. But now, in a video released to the BBC early this September, they are declaring a ceasefire. The Spanish government remains unconvinced. The last time the ETA declared a ceasefire, in 2006, there was an attack nine months later when rebels killed two people in a car bomb at Madrid airport. Said Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba: “The idea of a truce as a way to open a process of dialogue is dead.”
However, Gerry Adams, an influential terrorist turned peace activist and leader of Ireland’s left-leaning Sinn Féin party, says the ETA’s call for a ceasefire should be taken seriously. Adams says his group has been involved in years of “debate, discussion and strategizing” among the Basque activists that led to the armistice. Writing in the Guardian, Adams said, “Many in the Basque country look to the Irish peace process for inspiration, and much of what has been attempted there in the last decade has been modelled on our experience.” The question is, will the violent-prone ETA ultimately heed Adams’s advice?