Posted by: Paula Delgado-Kling | November 10, 2011

ETA is not FARC, and FARC peace talks are unlikely.

The death of top members of the FARC have prompted people to say the FARC will now look for a negotiated exit from the conflict. Look at ETA, they say.

ETA is the Basque separatist movement born in 1959. In four decades, they have left 829 people dead. Recently, ETA put out a Communiqué in which it asked for “direct dialogue” with the government so as to resolve the “consequences of the conflict.”

Like in Colombia’s case, stronger actions from Spanish and French authorities left ETA weaker. However, the ETA is very different from the FARC.

Primarily, put simply, the FARC are a drug cartel.

The ETA has approximately 50 active members and seven hundred convicted members serving prison sentences. The FARC members still number in the several thousands; it’s difficult to calculate their exact numbers because many live and dress as civilians.

The ETA has staged no attacks since March 2010, and none on Spanish soil since June 2009. Just 10 days ago, 10 Colombian soldiers died in a suspected FARC attack in Nariño province.

The ETA has a political arm, the izquierda abertzale,” which rejects violence and distanced itself from ETA. Last February, the izquierda abertzale’s new political party, the Sortu, expressly rejected the ETA and recognized its victims. In turn, ETA felt the added political pressure. The FARC does not count with the support of any political party.

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