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SPAIN: Noble Spain, poor Spain!!

Let me shock WAISers by saying that, albeit fragile, Spanish democracy impresses me deeply. The dignity and rational speech of the leaders of all parties contrast with the cheap, folksy behavior of US candidates, who speak in empty soundbites.

The provocations of ETA and its appeasers are almost intolerable. The Basque Nationalist Party refuses to break with ETA, although it condemns ETA´s killings. It refused to take part in a "ˇBasta ya!" ("Enough!") meeting in San Sebastián which attracted 100,000 people. Instead its leaders organized a mass meeting of its supporters in Vitoria and grimacingly harangued them with speeches denouncing both Spanish major parties. Calls for sovereignty left one wondering exactly what that meant. It indicated resistance to the Spanish constitution, which does not allow secession. The split may widen, with all that this implies.

In all Spanish towns, meetings of protest against ETA are held. The silence is broken only by shouts of "ˇBasta ya!". What is behind this was made clear in a message from Barcelona, still shocked by the killing of a member of the town council of a suburban community. José Manuel de Prada wrote that the situation is such that people are afraid to go for a walk. This is a city generally viewed as a model. That is the state to which a group of ruthless terrorists can reduce a country.

Ronald Hilton - 9/24/00