ETA follows this pattern. Having been founded to protest the brutal suppression of the Basques under Francisco Franco's reign, it has foundered as Spain became democratic and provided the Basques with increasing levels of autonomy. Almost every demand of Basque nationalists has been met over the last decade. Basques run their own region (through a mainstream, non-violent nationalist party), collect their own taxes, have their own police, speak their own language and broadcast their own television and radio programs. As a result support for ETA is down to 5 percent at most. Support for its political sympathizers, the political party Batasuna, hovers under 10 percent. In fact support for Basque nationalism itself has waned considerably. In the last election, 60 percent of Basques voted for parties that did not espouse Basque nationalism.
"Violence has become ETA's main rationale," a former separatist who renounced ETA told the Financial Times in 2002. "The exercise of violence creates antibodies. ETA's new recruits can digest barbaric acts that would have been unthinkable under Franco: the torturing of town councillors, the killing of children, of traffic wardens and local policemen. ETA now is led by its most extreme elements, those who are prepared to go furthest in all this senseless killing."
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