The people of Azpeitia have lost no time in erecting a memorial to businessman Ignacio Uria Mendizabel, a local man made good, and a soft target for Basque terrorists ETA.
His construction company always refused to pay the so-called “revolutionary tax” ETA extorted to fund its military and political objectives. Now he has paid with his life for helping build Spain’s new high-speed train line that runs through the Basque country. Basque businessmen turned out in force to show solidarity:
“This was an exemplary citizen, but there are other Basques who seek to destroy our country, driving it to despair with killings and spreading pain,” said Eduardo Zubiaurre.
He is the first Basque businessman to be killed in eight years after similar assassinations in the past.
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is giving the country’s entrepreneurs his full support:
“I want to express in the name of the government our firm determination to complete this railway project. It’s very important for the Basques to communicate with Spain, and the rest of Europe.”
The multi-billion euro project will plug Spain into France and Belgium’s high-speed network, and has been detoured to bring economic growth to the Basques. But ETA is against the project saying no good will come of it, and construction yards have been sabotaged in the past.