Spain

Spain: Zapatero tries to control the regions

By Paul Bond, 13 September 2004

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has marked the end of the parliamentary summer break by beginning a series of meetings on what his deputy prime minister calls “the territorial agenda”. Zapatero is attempting to formulate a position against the so-called “Ibarretxe plan”—the proposals of Basque Prime Minister Juan Jose Ibarretxe to grant the Basque region free association status with Spain. Extending the political autonomy of some of the country’s 17 regions—particularly the Basque region and Catalonia—will be a critical issue in the coming session of parliament.

Head of Spain’s largest bank calls for an end to Europe’s welfare state

By Daniel O’Flynn, 31 August 2004

Earlier this year the head of Spain’s largest bank said there was not much time left to destroy what remains of social welfare in Spain.

Spain: controversy surrounds opening of Garcia Lorca’s grave

By Vicky Short, 28 August 2004

A state of expectation is growing in Spain regarding the disinterment of the body of the great Spanish poet, author and playwright, Federico Garcia Lorca. He was shot by General Franco’s Falangist forces just four months after their rebellion against the second elected Republic in 1936 and dumped in an unmarked grave.

Spanish government immigration policy costs migrant lives

By Keith Lee, 26 August 2004

The recently elected Socialist Party government’s immigration policy has done nothing to alleviate the suffering of an increasingly desperate number of immigrants trying to reach Spain from Africa.

Spanish government discusses extending scope of Anti-Terror Pact

By Paul Bond, 24 August 2004

In opposition, the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) provided invaluable service to the right-wing Popular Party (PP) government’s suppression of democratic rights—under the cover of uniting against terrorism. In government, the PSOE is now seeking to extend that agreement still further.

Spain: Commission of Inquiry into Madrid bombings allows right-wing to regroup

By Paul Stuart and Paul Bond, 11 August 2004

The Congressional Commission of Inquiry into the March 11 train bombings in Madrid has entered its second and penultimate month. Intended as a damage limitation exercise, the commission has failed to contain the problem. Already right-wing forces are calling into question the legitimacy of the election which ousted the right-wing Popular Party (PP) government of Jose Maria Aznar.

Spain: bank takeover raises fears of job losses

By Keith Lee, 5 August 2004

Banco Santander Central Hispano (BSCH), Spain’s largest bank, has been forced publicly to deny rumours that it aims to cut upwards of 3,000 jobs after its proposed takeover of Britain’s Abbey National bank.

Spain seeks to extend its influence in North Africa

By Paul Bond, 31 July 2004

The Spanish government of Jose Luis Zapatero has lost little time in stressing again its role as a key diplomatic player in North Africa, following the resignation last month of James Baker, the United Nations secretary general’s personal envoy to Western Sahara.

Spain: Socialist Party government to send troops to Afghanistan and Haiti

By Vicky Short, 24 July 2004

The Socialist Workers Party of Spain (PSOE) government has committed more troops to Afghanistan, as well as a contingent of civil guards and police experts to Haiti. The measure was approved in the Spanish Congress on July 6.

Spain: military chiefs replaced over Yak-42 plane crash

By Keith Lee, 19 July 2004

The Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) government has replaced three of its top generals after it was discovered that 22 bodies from the May 2003 Yak-42 military plane crash were given to the wrong families.

Spain: PSOE government organises a cover-up over March 11 bombings

By Paul Stuart, 6 July 2004

The parliamentary inquiry launched by Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero into the terrorist attack in the Spanish capital Madrid that took place on March 11 begins today.

Spain accused of planning coup in Equatorial Guinea

By Vicky Short, 1 July 2004

Spain stands accused of involvement in an aborted coup in its ex-colony, Equatorial Guinea, which was allegedly due to take place on March 7.

Spain: Zapatero willing to send troops to Haiti

By Keith Lee, 16 June 2004

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero said last week that he is willing to send troops to Haiti, as part of a United Nations mission. Zapatero made his remarks at the third European, Latin America and Caribbean Summit in Mexico.

Spanish visit by Syria’s Assad highlights differences between Madrid and Washington

By Mike Ingram, 8 June 2004

A two-day official visit by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Spain has highlighted differences between Madrid and Washington over the occupation of Iraq and overall Middle East policy.

Spain: Zapatero continues Aznar’s anti-democratic measures in regions

By Paul Bond, 28 May 2004

When March’s general election swept the right-wing Popular Party (PP) government of Jose Maria Aznar from power, the incoming social democratic government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was given a cautious welcome by nationalist and regionalist parties in Spain’s 17 autonomous regions.

Spain: Socialist Party government attacks free speech

By Paul Stuart, 25 May 2004

The PSOE (Socialist Workers Party of Spain) government of Jose Luiz Zapatero was swept to power in March by a powerful movement of the working class against the right-wing Popular Party’s (PP) pro-war stance and its attempt to exploit public horror at the March 11 bombings in Madrid for electoral success. The PP used the bombings to whip up hostility against the Basque separatist group ETA, concealing evidence that the bombings were the work of Islamic fundamentalists.

Spain assumes leading role in Middle East diplomacy

By Paul Bond, 17 May 2004

Spain’s Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos is continuing to promote his government’s diplomatic role in the Middle East in the wake of the withdrawal of Spain’s combat troops from Iraq. This is likely to intensify the pressure Spain comes under as divisions between Europe and the US deepen.

Spain pulls out Iraq troops ahead of schedule

By Keith Lee, 8 May 2004

April 28 saw the last 260 of Spain’s 1,300 combat soldiers finally leave Iraq nearly two weeks ahead of schedule. Prime Minister Jose Zapatero announced the pull-out on April 18, but it was thought this would not take place before May 27.

Spain attempts to appease the US on Iraq

By Vicky Short, 27 April 2004

As soon as new Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero announced that he would withdraw troops from Iraq as soon as possible, he telephoned President George W. Bush to inform him of his decision. He then instructed his foreign minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, to speak to Secretary of State Colin Powell and arrange a visit to Washington to discuss the move with him.

Spain: New prime minister says troops to be withdrawn from Iraq

By Mike Ingram and Vicky Short, 20 April 2004

In a televised statement April 18, within hours of his new government being sworn into office, Socialist Party (PSOE) Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero ordered Spanish troops to be pulled out of Iraq “as soon as possible.”

Spain: Zapatero chooses a business-friendly cabinet

By Chris Marsden and Vicky Short, 2 April 2004

Spain’s new prime minister elect, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, has chosen an executive for his new Socialist Workers Party of Spain (PSOE) government, which will be sworn in on April 18.

Hundreds of thousands march in Spain

By Vicky Short and Celia Sokolowski, 22 March 2004

Between 300,000 and 400,000 people demonstrated in cities throughout Spain against the US occupation of Iraq. Despite the fact that the protests received little advance publicity, at least 100,000 took to the streets in Madrid, scene of last week’s train bombings that killed 202 people. The biggest demonstration, involving between 150,000 and 200,000 people, took place in Barcelona. Some 15,000 marched in Zaragoza, 10,000 in Seville, and thousands more in Valencia, Castille, Palma de Mallorca and other cities and towns.

Spain: protestors discuss Madrid bombings, Aznar’s lies, the election aftermath

By Vicky Short and Celia Sokolowski, 22 March 2004

The World Socialist Web Site spoke to many demonstrators in Madrid about the upsurge that brought about the electoral defeat of the Popular Party (PP) and their views concerning the incoming Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) government.

Spain: How Aznar’s lies paved the way for his defeat

By Chris Marsden, 20 March 2004

Republican party bigwigs and the US media are falling over themselves to accuse the Spanish people of cowardice and appeasement towards terrorists because they voted out the right-wing pro-Iraq war Popular Party (PP) government of José María Aznar.

Spain: Aznar routed as a result of mass anti-war sentiment

By Chris Marsden, 16 March 2004

Spain’s general election, which saw the defeat of the right-wing Popular Party (PP) of outgoing prime minister José María Aznar, turned into a referendum on the Aznar government’s support for Washington’s war against Iraq. It came only three days after the terrorist bombing atrocity in Madrid that killed 200 and wounded another 1,500, which Aznar sought to exploit to justify his alliance with the United States. The upset victory for the Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), which has criticised the invasion of Iraq, sent shock waves through bourgeois governments around the world—primarily in Washington and London.

Guantanamo Bay detainee returned to Spain

By Paul Bond, 15 March 2004

Last month Hamed Abderrahman Ahmad, the only Spaniard held in detention at the US prison camp Guantanamo Bay, was repatriated to Spain at the request of senior judge Baltasar Garzon.

Madrid terror bombings strengthen right-wing on eve of Spanish elections

By Vicky Short and Chris Marsden, 13 March 2004

Thursday’s bombing atrocities in Madrid will inevitably dominate the March 14 general elections in Spain. The outrage they have provoked is expected to benefit the right-wing Popular Party of the outgoing prime minister, José María Aznar, and its candidate to succeed him, Mariano Rajoy.

Terrorist atrocity in Madrid kills at least 192 people

WSWS Editorial Board, 12 March 2004

The bombings that killed at least 192 people in Madrid on Thursday are criminal acts for which there is no possible justification.

ETA ceasefire in Catalonia

By Paul Bond, 3 March 2004

A partial ceasefire by the Basque separatist organisation Euskadi ta Askatasuna (Homeland and Freedom—ETA) has laid bare the cynical nature of regional politics in Spain.

Spain: Dozens of casualties after police attack striking shipbuilding workers

By Vicky Short, 27 February 2004

Nearly 60 people were injured on February 17 when Spanish riot police clashed with hundreds of striking shipbuilding workers outside several shipyards belonging to the state-owned Izar.

Spanish government rejects Iraqi WMD inquiry

By Paul Bond, 26 February 2004

Spain’s right-wing Popular Party (Partido Popular—PP) government has rejected calls for an inquiry into why it said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Along with British prime minister Tony Blair, Spain’s prime minister José Maria Aznar was one of the staunchest supporters of the US-led invasion, despite mass popular opposition.

Spain: Tens of thousands march against Iraq occupation

By Vicky Short, 19 February 2004

Large demonstrations were held in Spain on Sunday, February 15, to commemorate the anniversary of the millions-strong anti-war marches that occurred all over the world a year before. Spaniards were overwhelmingly opposed to the launching of the war against Iraq last year and staged some of the largest demonstrations in Europe, particularly in Barcelona with one-and-a-half million participating and Madrid with more than 1 million.

Spain: Catalan nationalist sacked after meeting Basque separatists

By Paul Bond, 16 February 2004

The first shots have been fired in the run-up to the Spanish general election on March 14. A political storm erupted after military intelligence was leaked to the press that pro-independence Catalan nationalist Josep Lluis Carod-Rovira, a senior member of the regional government, held secret meetings in France with leading members of the outlawed Basque separatist organisation ETA (Euskadi ta Askatasuna—Homeland and Freedom).

Thousands march in Barcelona for legalisation of immigrant workers

By Paul Stuart, 10 February 2004

On January 31, 10,000 people marched through the streets of Barcelona to lobby the newly elected coalition government of Catalonia to overturn the notorious Ley de Extranjeria (Aliens Law). The right-wing Popular Party (PP) government enacted this law in January 2001.

Catalan coalition seeks greater independence from Spain

By Paul Bond, 31 January 2004

The coalition government that took power in Catalonia after last November’s elections is set to pursue an agenda increasingly dictated by the nationalists.

Spain: Ex-Army official claims responsibility for killing leading Basque separatist

By Vicky Short, 15 January 2004

Under the headline “I killed Carrero Blanco’s assassin,” the December 21 El Mundo published an interview with an ex-army official. Referred to as “Leonidas,” the 55-year-old confesses to being part of a commando unit that killed the leading Basque separatist, José Miguel Bañaran Ordeñana, alias Argala, on December 21, 1978, in France.

Some questions about the hunt for Al Qaeda in Spain

By Paul Mitchell, 9 January 2004

Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon is seeking the extradition to Spain of four detainees from the United States’ prison camp at Guantanamo Bay.

Spain and Morocco agree to rail tunnel under Gibraltar strait

By Vicky Short, 5 January 2004

The governments of Spain and Morocco have taken a further step towards the building of a rail tunnel that will connect Europe and Africa, in what will be a historic technological feat. The Spanish Minister of Development Francisco Alvarez Cascos was quoted in Arabic News.com as stating that this tunnel will be “in the 21st century what the Suez Canal was in the 19th century and what the Panama Canal was in the 20th century.”

Spain: Household poverty increases

By Mike Ingram, 3 January 2004

More than half of Spanish households have difficulty meeting their financial outlays each month.

Spain marks 25th anniversary of democratic transition

By Paul Mitchell, 20 December 2003

Twenty five years after Spain’s transition to democracy and the creation of a constitution, celebrations of the end of the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco have been decidedly muted.

Spain: Prime Minister Aznar may face slander charges

By Paul Stuart, 18 December 2003

Spain’s right-wing Popular Party prime minister José Maria Aznar faces charges of slander brought by 16 North Africans detained by anti-terror police in raids across northeastern Spain on January 25. Those detained were accused of being an Al-Qaeda cell planning terrorist attacks in Spain. On March 21, 14 were released by Madrid’s High Court judge due to insufficient evidence against them. They remain under investigation and must report each day to court officials in Barcelona and surrounding towns.

Spain: Catalan election threatens further instability

By Paul Bond, 12 December 2003

Election results on November 16 in Catalonia and the horse-trading required in order to establish a coalition government have exacerbated the already troubled relationship between the Spanish government and its autonomous regions. The pro-independence Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC-Catalan Republican Left) saw its share of the vote rise to 16.47 percent, almost doubling the number of seats it holds from 12 in 1999 to 23.

Spain: Aznar opposes pullout from Iraq

By Keith Lee, 9 December 2003

Prime Minister José María Aznar has rejected calls to bring home Spanish troops stationed in Iraq after seven intelligence agents were killed in an ambush near Baghdad on November 29. It is suspected that this occurred after their killers were tipped off.

Spain: Congress belatedly honours victims of Franco

By Vicky Short, 4 December 2003

A crisis has arisen within Spain’s political elite due to the decision to pay a belated homage to the victims of Franco’s fascist regime during the Civil War (1936-1939) and its aftermath.

Spain: Relatives of military plane crash victims met with official indifference

By Keith Lee, 25 November 2003

Families of Spanish servicemen killed when their plane crashed in May have accused the Aznar government of not taking due precautions when hiring the aircraft. They are petitioning the courts to see if negligence charges can be brought.

Spain: Investigation into death at sea of 36 African migrants

By Paul Stuart, 20 November 2003

On November 12, Spain’s national ombudsman, Enrique Mugica, announced that an inquiry would be launched into the horrifying events of October 25 when 36 immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa drowned after their motorboat sank in high seas off the coast off Cadiz. The inquiry will concentrate on why it took 52 minutes for rescue services to leave the shore after the motorboat had been reported to be in severe difficulties.

Spain: Popular Party accused of stealing Madrid election

By Vicky Short, 5 November 2003

An election for the municipal region of Madrid on October 26 gave an overall majority to the governing right-wing Popular Party (PP). This overturned the previous May 25 result, which had given a majority of seats to the two left parties combined, the Socialist Party (PSOE) and the Izquierda Unida (United Left—IU).

Spain: Thousands protest outside Iraq donors’ conference

By Vicky Short, 27 October 2003

Thousands of people marched in protest at the Iraq donors’ conference held in Madrid on October 23 and 24. The 20,000-strong demonstration renamed the meeting the “Occupiers’ Plundering Conference” and demanded the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq.

Spain: Baltasar Garzón—The people’s judge as defender of the capitalist state

Part 2

By Paul Mitchell, 14 October 2003

This is second and concluding part of an article examining the role of leading Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón. Part 1 was posted October 13.

Spain: Baltasar Garzón—the people’s judge as defender of the capitalist state

By Paul Mitchell, 13 October 2003

This is the first article in a two-part series examining the role of leading Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón.

Spain: Federico Garcia Lorca’s body to be exhumed

Victim of Franco’s Falangist militia

By Paul Stuart, 11 October 2003

Socialist Party (PSOE) Mayor Juan Caballero, in the village of Barranco de Viznar near Granada in southwest Spain, has given his support for the beginning of legal proceedings to secure a permit for the excavation of a mass grave located in a nearby ravine at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.

Spain: Thousands demonstrate against Iraq occupation

By Vicky Short, 2 October 2003

As part of the international mobilisations against the occupation of Iraq by US-led military forces, Spanish people took to the streets once more in large numbers on Sunday, September 27.

Spain: Aznar’s Popular Party faces growing criticism over Iraq

By Keith Lee, 23 September 2003

Spanish Prime Minister José Maria Aznar and his right-wing Popular Party (PP) government’s claim that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction represented a military threat to Spain has been undermined by the government’s own head of counterespionage forces.

Spain: Aznar names successor and reshuffles government

By Vicky Short, 20 September 2003

Spain’s head of government José María Aznar has finally decided to step down and give way to his chosen successor. Mariano Rajoy, the present deputy prime minister and government spokesman, will be the ruling Popular Party’s (PP’s) candidate for the post of prime minister at the March 2004 general elections.

Spain’s worst refinery fire kills six workers

By Keith Lee, 6 September 2003

A fire at Spain’s largest oil refinery last month killed six workers and seriously injured five more.

Spain: ETA bombing campaign aids government offensive against democratic rights

By Paul Bond, 19 August 2003

The ruling conservative Popular Party (PP) in Spain is looking to exploit another summer bombing campaign by the Basque separatist terrorist group ETA (Euskadi ta Askatasuna—Basque Homeland and Freedom) as an opportunity to clamp down on domestic opposition, particularly in the Basque region.

Moroccan immigrants die trying to reach Spain

By Keith Lee, 16 August 2003

Fishermen have found the bodies of 10 immigrants who drowned when the boat they were in hit a rock. The bodies were found near Fuerteventura, off Spain's southern coast. The vessel was carrying 28 people, 18 of whom managed to swim ashore.

Spain: Aznar government faces crisis over Iraqi WMD

By Daniel O’Flynn and Mike Ingram, 14 August 2003

The right-wing Popular Party (PP) government of José María Aznar in Spain is facing increasing criticism over its use of the claim that Iraq posed a military “threat” with its “weapons of mass destruction” as a pretext for supporting the US-led pre-emptive attack on Iraq.

Spanish troops in Iraq to wear Christian badge

By Vicky Short, 12 August 2003

On first hearing that the new contingent of Spanish troops being sent to Iraq are wearing the Cruz de Santiago de Compostela (Cross of St. James of Compostela) on their arm badge, one could be forgiven for thinking the authorities in Spain had lost their minds. On reflection, however, and in the context of the prevailing world political atmosphere, more sinister conclusions can be drawn from this action.

Spain: Aznar rejects public inquiry into military plane crash

By Paul Stuart, 9 August 2003

Popular Party (PP) president José María Aznar is resisting calls for a full public inquiry into May’s military plane crash in Turkey that killed 62 Spanish soldiers and 12 Ukrainian flight crew. The dead soldiers’ families and sections of the lower-ranking military are demanding that such an inquiry focus on the extent of prior information Aznar and his minster of defence, Federico Trillo-Figueroa, had of soldiers’ growing safety concerns and those of other European governments.

Split in Spanish Socialist Party

By Vicky Short, 29 July 2003

After weeks of wrangling, accusations and counteraccusations, the Assembly of the Community of Madrid, the autonomous Madrid government, agreed to establish a commission to investigate the circumstances surrounding the desertion of two Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) candidates from the vital investiture vote ceremony, which prevented their party from attaining the presidency. This was provisionally taken by default by the ruling People’s Party (PP).

Demonstrations greet Spanish government vote to send troops to Iraq

By Keith Lee, 22 July 2003

The Spanish government approved the sending of 1,300 combat troops to Iraq at a cabinet meeting on Friday, July 11. The vote to send troops was a foregone conclusion, so much so that Prime Minister Aznar was in America at the time of the meeting.

Antiwar song banned from Spanish television

By Vicky Short, 15 July 2003

Spanish state television TVE has banned a song from being performed in a festival programme that traditionally launches the summer season.

Spain: Telefonica to slash 15,000 jobs

By Joe Molinero, 12 July 2003

At the end of June the Spanish-based telecommunications operator Telefonica announced the shedding of around 11 percent of its workforce—leading to 15,000 job losses up to the year 2007.

Spain: Madrid threatens withdrawal of Basque autonomy

By Paul Bond, 8 July 2003

Relations between the Spanish government in Madrid and the local government of the Basque Autonomous Region have worsened since the recent local elections.

Spain: Post-election horse-trading exposes rampant corruption

By Vicky Short, 26 June 2003

Negotiations between the major parties following the May 25 municipal and autonomous elections in Spain have exposed the prevailing corruption and anti-democratic nature of official politics.

Spain extends military presence in Iraq

By Keith Lee, 24 June 2003

In breach of its repeated assurances that it would not do so, the Spanish Popular Party government recently announced it will contribute 1,100 soldiers to an 8,000-strong military force to be deployed in central Iraq by September. This brings to 2,000 the total number of Spanish troops in Iraq.

Spain’s governing Peoples Party loses support in close vote

By Mike Ingram, 10 June 2003

Municipal elections on May 25 in Spain produced a much-anticipated loss of support for Prime Minister José María Aznar’s right-wing Peoples Party (PP), following his support for the US led war against Iraq.

Spain: Aznar’s Popular Party faces electoral rout

By Paul Stuart, 17 May 2003

The Popular Party (PP) government of Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar faces a devastating defeat in Spanish local and regional election on May 25. Whatever the result, Aznar says he does not intend to stand in national elections scheduled for early next year.

Union leader attacked during May Day demonstration in Spain

By Vicky Short, 8 May 2003

This year’s May Day demonstration in Madrid ended in a shambles. For the first time ever, closing speeches by the leaders of the two main trade union federations were not delivered.

Spanish government plan for drastic punishment of war opponents

By Ludwig Niethammer, 1 May 2003

Having confronted some of the biggest antiwar demonstrations seen anywhere in the world in recent months, the Spanish government of Prime Minister José Maria Aznar is planning to introduce legislation allowing for the severe punishment of those taking part in such protests. Earlier this month, the Spanish Defence Ministry confirmed a report on plans for new repressive laws that were first revealed by the Madrid daily newspaper El País.

Death of Spanish journalists in Iraq sparks protests

By Vicky Short, 11 April 2003

Journalists and broadcasters from Spain’s Telecinco struck work on April 9 and held a lobby outside the American Embassy to protest the killing of 37-year-old cameraman José Couso on April 8 when American tanks shelled the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad.

Spanish government to sue antiwar web site

By Vicky Short, 1 April 2003

Javier Arenas, president of Spain’s right-wing ruling People’s Party (PP), has confirmed that his party’s lawyers are to sue the antiwar web site “noalaguerra.org”. The site published photographs of all 183 PP deputies under the headline “Asesinos” (“Assassins) against a montage of the heads of government in the US, Britain, Spain, Azores and Iraq.

A million march in Spain against war

Police fire rubber bullets at demonstrators

By Vicky Short, 24 March 2003

An estimated million people joined marches and demonstrations in Spain in major cities and regional centres last weekend in protest against the US-led attack on Iraq. Half a million demonstrated in Barcelona with over 100,000 protesting in Madrid.

Spain: Mass demonstrations against government’s right-wing policies and warmongering

By Vicky Short, 1 March 2003

Spain’s Prime Minister José María Aznar, head of the Popular Party, is one of the most vociferous advocates of a US-led war against Iraq. But while he is travelling around the world as one of US President George W. Bush’s ambassadors to drum up support for war, mass demonstrations against both his international and domestic policies are taking place at home.

Spanish government moves to ban Basque separatist party

By Vicky Short, 13 May 2002

Spain is presently debating reforms of the Ley de Partidos (the law governing political parties), which will infringe on the democratic rights of free association and free speech. The ruling right wing People’s Party (PP) drew up the draft law. Its immediate aim is to ban Herri Batasuna, the political arm of the separatist Basque organisation, ETA. But the reforms will give powers to the ruling elite to ban any political party that “helps or defends the use of violence, includes in its membership or electoral lists anyone who’s been sentenced on terrorist charges, does not respect democratic principles and constitutional values, aims to deteriorate or destroy the regime of freedoms or attempts to incapacitate or destroy the democratic system.”

Spain: Opposition to universities reform law

By Vicky Short, 15 January 2002

The Peoples Party government has entered on a collision course with the Spanish education community over its new law to reform the university system. Mass protests organised by students, professors and university employees have won the sympathy and support of a large majority of the population: a recent poll showed two out of three Spaniards in favour of the government withdrawing the law.

Spanish government beats the drums of war

By Vicky Short, 15 October 2001

In Spain, the September 11 terrorist attacks have provided a green light for the governing People’s Party (PP) to press ahead with its right wing agenda in foreign and domestic affairs.

Basque nationalists win regional elections

By Vicky Short, 16 May 2001

The political wing of the Basque terrorist organisation ETA saw their vote halved in last Sunday's elections held in the region. Against all media predictions, the mainstream Basque parties obtained their biggest ever vote. However, the Partido Nacionalista Vasco (PNV, Basque Nationalist Party) in coalition with Eusko Alcartasuna (EA, Basque Solidarity) failed to secure an overall majority, taking 33 of the 75 seats in the Basque regional parliament.

Spanish government imposes labour reforms

By Vicky Short, 29 March 2001

The rightwing Popular Party (PP) government has pushed through a drastic reform of the Spanish labour market. This breaks a long standing agreement with the trade unions, and seems to go against existing European Union (EU) policy for member countries to achieve the fullest participation of the “social partners” (EU jargon for the employers and unions).

Spanish government honours Franco's fascists

By Vicky Short, 10 February 2001

Spain's right-wing Popular Party government has recently posthumously decorated one of Franco's torturers, compensated the family of a high-ranking officer from the time of Franco's military dictatorship, and is considering awarding posthumous medals to other fascists.

Spain: Thousands march in support of immigrant hunger strikers

By Vicky Short, 1 February 2001

Thousands of people have staged demonstrations across Spain in support of protesting immigrant workers. The immigrants are opposing their expulsion from the country under the new aliens' law, and are demanding residency and work permits.

12 immigrant workers killed at Spanish railway crossing

By Vicky Short, 8 January 2001

A human catastrophe has once again struck the immigrant community in Spain. At 7.40am January 3, a suburban train in Lorca, southeast Spain hit an overloaded van carrying 14 agricultural workers from Ecuador as it drove across a railway crossing. Twelve of the occupants—eight men and four women—were killed as the vehicle was dragged 200 meters along the line and destroyed. The fatalities included a mother and son and a father and son.

Spain imposes new anti-immigrant legislation

By Vicky Short, 20 December 2000

The right wing Popular Party government is implementing new anti-immigration legislation that will trample on the basic democratic rights of foreign workers.

Spanish government clamps down on Basque separatist ETA

By Vicky Short, 13 November 2000

The latest bomb exploded by Basque separatists killed three people killed in Madrid on October 30. This brought the number of killings attributed to ETA (Euzkadi Ta Azkatasuna—Basque Fatherland and Liberty) since January this year to 19.

Spanish Prime Minister Aznar spearheads drive to deregulate Europe's economies

By Vicky Short, 1 November 2000

Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar and his British counterpart Tony Blair held discussions over the weekend in Madrid on pushing through measures to deregulate Europe's economies and open them to international investors.

Spain's fuel tax protests met with brutal repression

By Vicky Short, 3 October 2000

Rubber bullets, teargas and fire cranes were used last weekend, as the Spanish government mobilised large contingents of police against groups protesting at increased fuel costs. Scores of demonstrators were injured and several arrests were made.

Fuel tax protests hit Spain

By Vicky Short, 18 September 2000

In recent days, following the example of other European countries, Spain has been hit by large protests against the high cost of fuel.

Basque separatists step up terrorist activities

By Peter Norden, 25 August 2000

The Basque separatist organization ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna —Basque Country and Liberty) has dramatically increased its terrorist activities throughout Spain.

Spanish Socialist Party elects "New Way" representative as general secretary

By Vicky Short, 31 July 2000

At its 35th congress last weekend, the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) elected José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero as its new leader. A representative of the recently formed Nueva Vía (New Way) current, Zapatero became the fourth general secretary of the party in as many years, since the resignation of its longstanding leader and ex-prime minister Felipe Gonzalez in 1997.

Spanish government speeds up liberalisation of utilities

By Vicky Short, 22 July 2000

Following the Popular Party victory at the general elections in March, Prime Minister José María Aznar is pushing ahead with the speedy liberalisation of the country's utilities.

Basque separatist ETA steps up violence

By Paul Bond, 21 July 2000

The last weeks have seen a significant escalation of violence by Basque separatists against the federal government of Prime Minister José María Aznar and the Spanish establishment. To demonstrate the organisation's ability to strike across the country, ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna) attacks have not only been made in Madrid and Andalusia, but in the Basque region as well.

23 school children die in Spanish coach accident

By Vicky Short, 8 July 2000

Twenty-three school children died in Spain Thursday, July 6 when a bus collided with a lorry. The impact sent the bus down a steep embankment, resulting in many fatalities among the teenagers on board. Some of those with serious injuries died later in hospital.

Spain and France plan joint offensive against Basque separatist ETA

By Vicky Short, 2 June 2000

France and Spain recently held discussions aimed at strengthening their collaboration in pursuit of the Basque separatist organisation ETA. The meeting took place at the end of a bilateral summit in Santander, Spain, prior to France's presidency of the European Union starting in July.

Spain: Aznar government seeks opposition agreement to austerity program

By Vicky Short, 27 April 2000

The Popular Party (PP) won an overall majority in the March 12 general election in Spain, the first time a right-wing party has done so since the end of Franco's dictatorship. Since then, Prime Minister José María Aznar has been seeking the backing of the opposition Socialist Party (PSOE), the Stalinist-dominated United Left (Izquierda Unida—IU), the regional-nationalist parties and the trade unions on a program to slash public spending, curb wages and control strike activity.

Right-wing victory in Spanish general election

By Vicky Short, 17 March 2000

The right-wing Popular Party (PP) won an outright majority in the March 12 Spanish general election. The size of the victory went far beyond pre-election predictions or expectations, including those of PP Prime Minister José María Aznar.

Spanish left agrees to electoral pact

By Vicky Short, 21 February 2000

The Spanish Prime Minister, José María Aznar, leader of the right-wing Popular Party (PP), last month announced early general elections for March 12. Aznar took power from the Socialist Workers Party of Spain (PSOE) in the summer of 1996. About 90 parties have presented lists of candidates to the different Provincial Electoral Councils.

Moroccan immigrant workers strike in southern Spain

By Vicky Short, 16 February 2000

Following the outburst of racist violence last week in the Spanish town of El Ejido, Almería, which lasted for three days and nights, [See Racist violence injures 50 in Almeria] Magreb agricultural workers organised a strike on Tuesday, February 8. The spontaneous action, which began when workers failed to turn up for work for fear of being attacked, soon developed into a full-blown industrial stoppage.

Spain: racist violence injures 50 in Almeria

By Paul Bond, 11 February 2000

Three days of racist attacks in the southern Spanish town of El Ejido in the province of Almeria have left up to 50 immigrant workers injured. Many of the town's mainly Moroccan agricultural workers are in hiding.

Basque separatist ETA blamed for explosions in Madrid

By Vicky Short, 22 January 2000

The Basque separatist organisation ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna) has been blamed for the planting of two bombs in Madrid yesterday morning.