This new Basque Center in Caracas, in the El Paraíso neighborhood, was inaugurated with top honors, and even the presence of Lehendakari Aguirre, on March 7, 1950. That’s what Xabier Amezaga, son of Basque patriot, engineer, author, and translator Vicente Amezaga Aresti, remembers. Vicente was one of those great men committed to the Cause of the Basque people, whose efforts stood out even in an age of patriots; a line from a poem by Lauaxeta, a martyr for the country, describes him so well: “Dana emon biar yako matte dan azkatasunari“.
It was extraordinary day, and not only for the Basques in Caracas and all of Venezuela. It was also true for hundreds of thousands of Basques in exile, and at home, who saw in this act a symbol of how the Basque Resistance remained strong against the monster that oppressed, jailed, persecuted, and whenever possible murdered, the Basques south of the Pyrenees who believed in the phrased that showed Basques the way to save the Homeland:
Euzkotarren aberria Euzkadi da
(Euzkadi is the Homeland of the Basques)
From Canada to Patagonia, thousands and thousands of Basques who had sought refuge in the New World, and other Basques, contributed to its liberation, fighting, living, and struggling to keep the Cause of the Basque People alive.
In the US, in Mexico, in Central America, in Argentina, in Uruguay, in Chile, in Peru…everywhere, the whole of the Americas maintained the Basque Government in exile, helped the Basque Resistance at home, published books, magazine, and pamphlets against Francoism and for the Freedom of the Country. They did it all, and they did so for the love of their Nation and their commitment to Freedom.
In Venezuela, that commitment was especially intense. For example, after an eventful journey, Radio Euzkadi, the Voice of the Basque Resistance ended up there; and there the stamps commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Sabino Arana Goiri (1865-1965) were printed and surreptitiously sent to the Homeland.
To remember this inauguration is to remember the generations of Basques who “gave it all for their beloved Freedom”. It is to recall their sacrifice, their commitment, and their struggle with dignity for democracy, both at home and in the Diaspora. Without them, the dream of a free land for free people might well have died.
So today, March 7, is a statement. But it’s not the only one. In those years of hardship, when the last piece of Free Basque lands ended up in Franco’s hands, from many other places, just like from Venezuela, the Basque fought for their brethren and their Homeland. We cannot permit this to be forgotten, nor can we fail to recognize this sacrifice as it deserves.
So today we, a day early, take advantage of this once again to remember all those who gave so much. And we would also like to observe that in the Urazandi (“allende los mares”) Collection, which collects the history of Basque Centers around the world, does not have a specific entry for Venezuela. Perhaps this anniversary would be the perfect opportunity to get on that.
We’ll leave you with the article Iñaki Anasagasti posted on his blog about the history of this Basque Center. We’ll also leave you with a special edition of the Jazoera publication, printed by the Basques in Venezuela, on the 80 years since the arrival of the exiles to that country, as well as a chapter on Radio Jazoera dedicated to those 80 years from the arrival of the exiles to Guaira.
We write lest we forget
Iñaki Anasagasti – 3/2012 – Euskadi
HISTORIA DEL CENTRO VASCO DE CARACAS
Ante la inminencia de la guerra, el Gobierno venezolano va a dictar una serie de normas tendentes, sobre todo, a garantizar la neutralidad del país. Muchas de esas medidas, tendrán carácter restrictivo y, así, el 7 de agosto de 1939, se promulgó la Ley de Actividades de Extranjeros en el Territorio Nacional.
Jazoera. 80 años de la llegada refugiados vascos a Venezuela