The murders which took place in the Otxarkoaga district of Bilbao on the 18th of January have started a debate. Karlos Renedo, a member of Otxarkoaga local association, does not agree with the point of view expressed in much of the media and by many individuals.
On Thursday a man and a woman were found dead on the outskirts of Bilbao, in a house in Otxarkoaga. Everything pointed to their having been killed during a burglary. The Basque Autonomous Police took charge of the investigation and they arrested three minors believed to be connected with the case. There was a demonstration in the district on the following day to denounce the killing and demand more security.
But local Karlos Renedo does not agree with Bilbao mayor Juan Mari Aburto's view of security. "Aburto mixes security up with the police and cameras. A safe district is one with life in it", wrote the Otxarkoaga stakeholder on Twitter. "According to the statistics, Otxarkoaga is the area of Bilbao with the second smallest number of crimes", he added.
It is important to look at the district's origins when talking about current problems. Otxarkoaga is a working-class district. There was mass immigration into the area some decades ago; Renedo says that "many of our forebears came here in exchange for their cheap labour".
Nowadays, too, there are great social differences. Compared with other parts of Bilbao, income is three times lower. "For years investment in the district has been very low compared with that in other areas", the young man complains. He believes that the consequences of that lack of investment are being felt today.
He says that the problems in Otxarkoaga should be dealt with using "an overall approach. Economic activity, town planning, education, repairing buildings, public services… They are essential components towards any solution".
This year is the Eusko's fifth birthday. This solidarity and ecology-focused local currency is used in Lapurdi, Lower Navarre and Zuberoa (the northern Basque Country, which is under French administration). It is strongly supported by both citizens and institutions, and the aim is to continue enlarging the network which uses it. To celebrate the fifth anniversary, a "great family-style party" has been organised for 4th March.
On the morning of 20th February, 2003, I picked up the phone and heard Joxemari Irazusta's voice: "The Civil Guard have arrested Pello Zubiria." Pello? Joxemari told me the little he knew about it, and I couldn't believe it. I got back into bed; I couldn't digest the news. After turning around for a couple of minutes I got up again and set off for Lasarte (Gipuzkoa), the place where we edit ARGIA.
The European Court of Human Rights has condemned the Spanish State for torturing Igor Portu and Mattin Sarasola. The judges decided that Spain had contravened the 3rd clause of the European Convention. The Spanish State has to pay the two men 30,000 and 20,000 Euros, respectively, "for moral damages".
Andoain Town Council (Gipuzkoa, Basque Country) has signed an agreement with Fiare. Socially excluded citizens, and those in danger of being so, will be able to ask for loans from the ethical bank without the guarantees required by traditional banks.
The Basque feminist movement gave the details of the strike which it has called for 8th March at Donostia's Tabakalera International Contemporary Art Centre.
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"We are announcing the biggest demonstration ever to be held in the Basque Country" was how last week's message began. The organisers of Gure Esku Dago presented the project in front of the Donostia Eureka! science museum. They want to link the Basque cities of Donostia, Bilbao and Gasteiz on 10th June, 2018, and they will need at least 100,000 people to do so.
Susana Uribetxeberria, Basque prisoner Xabier Ugarte Villar's wife, had an accident on 27th January. It happened at dusk after she had visited her husband in prison, and while fortunately she was not hurt, this was the first accident in 2018 caused by the dispersion policy for prisoners.
Jesus Mari Txurruka was to make his declaration at Bergara municipal court in Gipuzkoa last Saturday, the 20th of January. His grandfather's brother died in a Hamburg concentration camp in 1945; Franco's forces had killed his great-grandmother in cold blood nine years earlier at her farmstead at Elgeta in the Basque Country. But Jesus Mari is not going to make any such declaration. And nor are the other 13 victims' relatives who should have done so in January.
On 28th of April, it will be 30 years since the first kick: the kick to the door of the bishop’s medieval garage that nobody imagined would start such a long journey. Meetings, symbolic occupations, speeches, interventions in council meeting were the actions that carved out a path for the Gaztetxe and for squatting Gasteiz.