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Thursday, May 3, 2018

ETA announces dissolution of 'all its structures'

Por Nina

The Basque terrorist organization ETA has announced in a letter dated April 16 its decision to dissolve "completely all its structures", according to Spanish media. In the letter, sent Tuesday by the terrorist organization to various institutions and political agents, the terrorist group conveys its decision to "terminate its historical cycle and its function, ending its journey." "Therefore, ETA has completely dissolved all its structures and has terminated its political initiative," says the letter, which was accessed by the EFE agency.

In that letter, the band does not apologize to the victims of their actions. The letter, which is dated April 16, anticipates the staging of its total dissolution to be held this weekend at a ceremony in the Basque Country, in northern Spain.

With this message, the organization that has left nearly 900 dead in approximately half a century of life ends the process that began in 2010, when it announced its "intention to open a new political cycle in Euskal Herria". The official act of dissolution is scheduled for May 4 in the French Basque town of Cambo-les-Bains and will conclude with the reading of a statement by "representatives of the international community."

The regional governments of the Spanish Basque Country and of Navarre announced that they will not attend the convocation, although the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) will do so in the government of that Spanish region. The announcement of the dissolution of ETA comes after almost sixty years of existence, with more than 850 dead behind it, and a continuous decline of the terrorist organization, thanks to police and judicial work.

The announcement, however, warns that what the armed group considers a "conflict" with Spain and France is still open: "The conflict did not start with ETA and does not end with the end of ETA's journey". As foreseen by the victims, ETA does not apologize to the family of those who took their lives. In fact, it blames the lack of agreement on its long criminal trajectory: "The lack of will to resolve the conflict, and the lost opportunities, among others, has caused the extension of the conflict and multiplied the suffering of the different parties. Either way, ETA recognizes the suffering caused as a result of its struggle".

In its opinion, "years of confrontation have left deep wounds and we must give them the proper cure", since "some are still bleeding because suffering is not a thing of the past". In this way, it asserted that, through this letter "and with all humility", ETA sends them "one last opinion", to appeal to their "responsibility". "Those of us who have been ETA militants, for our part, want to confirm our commitment to embark fully on this task, each from the place it deems most appropriate," it concluded.

ETA, acronym for "Euskadi ta Askatasuna" (Basque Homeland and Freedom in Basque) arose at the end of the 50s of the last century, in the midst of Franco's dictatorship, with the central demand to create an independent Basque State formed by the Basque regions of northern Spain, neighboring Navarra and southern France through terrorist violence. The first crime recognized by the band was that of an agent of the Civil Guard in 1968, and the last, a French gendarme in 2010.

In that "armed struggle" killed 853 people, according to figures from the Interior Ministry, and left actions that marked the history of Spain as the assassination of the then Prime Minister Luis Carrero Blanco with a car bomb in 1973 or the placement of a bomb that left 21 dead in a supermarket in 1987. After several frustrated attempts at negotiation and broken truces, ETA announced its unilateral admission to arms in 2011, shortly before the arrival of the conservative Mariano Rajoy to the Government. Since then it did not kill again.

At the beginning of April, the terrorist group handed over the location of the last weapons depots that it still had. ETA had already announced in March its "total disarmament" and set a date on April 8 to give the French authorities information about its hiding places. At that time, ETA indicated that it does not control all weapons deposits, especially the oldest ones. The International Verification Commission, responsible for checking the process, indicated at that time in a statement that this step was good news. The French Interior Minister, Matthias Fekl, confirmed the police deployment to locate the arsenal and noted that the "unilateral" delivery by ETA of the locations is "a big step", according to statements collected by the EFE agency. In the eight revealed hiding places, of the 12 that had been initially indicated that they could have, the authorities have found 120 weapons, 3 tons of explosives, ammunition and detonators.

The group tried to negotiate its disarmament and its dissolution, but the sharp refusal of the governments of Spain and France to offer counterparts and the continuous arrests of their successive leaders led ETA to stage the delivery of their weapons in April 2017. A year later, it assures that it will be dissolved, the last step to close more than half a century of terrorist violence in Spain. Both the Government in Madrid and the security forces downplay the announcement and promise to continue acting without concessions against what remains of ETA.