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ETA just a dying terrorist group

Saturday, January 15, 2011

As a proud Basque and as the Ambassador of Spain to Trinidad and Tobago, I’m writing to you with regard to the information published on page A17 of the January 11 Guardian on the ceasefire announcement by the terrorist group ETA. In the short article, this criminal gang is referred to as a “separatist group.” In my country, like in many other European nations and elsewhere in the world, there are legitimate and fully democratic nation- alist parties that aim for autonomy or independence of their respective regions from the State. If such political views emanate from the free and sovereign will of the people, and are properly channelled through peaceful, democratic and constitutional means, separatism will never constitute a problem or a threat for the political stability and social cohesion of a country.        

Against this backdrop, your readers should know that ETA is not a democratic separatist or nationalist movement; it is a terrorist organisation, responsible for the cold-blooded murder of hundreds of innocent people during the past 40 years, including children, women and the elderly. As a result of the unflagging efforts over past decades of successive Spanish Governments and of the police (while fully respecting human rights and without resorting to exceptional measures), and inspired by the exemplary beha-viour of the victims and their families, ETA and its executioners were defeated a long time ago.

They are now trying to buy their way back into a democratic society: but the only announcement Spaniards wish to hear concerning ETA is the immediate, definitive and unconditional surrender of the last criminals that speak on behalf of or support this criminal organisation. Spain has overcome ETA, it is a problem that is already behind us. What will always remain and never fade is the memory of the sacrifice of the victims.
So, at least from the victims’ perspective, I believe it is only fair—and necessary—to set the record straight and avoid misunderstandings: ETA is not a legitimate separatist or nationalist group, it is a dying terrorist organisation. Let’s call a spade a spade, and a terrorist a terrorist.

Joaquín de Arístegui
Ambassador of Spain


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