The North American Basque Organizations, Inc. (NABO), the federation of Basque institutions for the promotion of Basque culture in North America (38 organizations in the U.S. and 1 in Canada), passed a declaration in favor of the homeland-October 25th plebiscite (see related post) during its last convention (Chino, California; August 29-September 1, 2008). The declaration had previously been approved by NABO’s counterpart in Argentina, the Federation of Basque-Argentinean Entities (FEVA).
The Ant’s Meat team would like to congratulate NABO for its increasing awareness of homeland (political) affairs. We believe that it’s a step forward in the normalization of our relationship with the Basque Country and its public institutions. However, we are extremely concerned about NABO’s political participation in this particular campaign supporting the right for a plebiscite. NABO should know by now the difference between political activities and legislative activities. Since the 1990s, NABO has become extremely closed to the political postulates of the main governing party of the Basque Autonomous Community, the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV-EAJ).
Representatives of the Basque government as well as of the PNV participated in NABO’s meeting where the declaration was (though not unanimously) passed, which by all means coerced the freedom of expression of some of the delegates. Miren Artiach and Gloria Totoricagüena, the delegates of the Cenarrusa Foundation for Basque Culture (Boise, Idaho), fiercely defended the declaration. Two years ago, Totoricagüena shared her "disgust" with NABO’s delegates for their lack of political commitment towards the homeland and their ignorance on homeland affairs. Sadly, on the hands of self-proclaimed experts on the Basque diaspora, the Cenarrusa Foundation has become a pro-PNV group, a lobby group within NABO, which is not looking after NABO’s interests whatsoever. Pete Cenarrusa, former Secretary of State of Idaho, must regain control of his own foundation before it is too late.
As soon as we get rid of people whose maximum goal is self-preservation and self-promotion the better for all of us who still believe in NABO as the federation of all for all. We cannot afford to have a self-interest group within NABO.
As usual, we would love to hear your voices on the matter.
If NABO’s role if going to be political from now on, we cannot reduce our perspective to only one side of the spectrum. So, when is NABO going to sign a declaration in favor of the repatriation of Basque political prisoners and exiles? When is NABO going to sign a declaration against banning Basque political parties? When is NABO going to sign a declaration against the practice of torture in Spain?