Victims tell Spanish government: don’t repeat NI mistakes with ETA

Consuelo Ordeonez, whose brother was killed by ETA, holds up a sign reading, 'ETA killed 853 innocent people. They want to put the sign to zero'
Consuelo Ordeonez, whose brother was killed by ETA, holds up a sign reading, 'ETA killed 853 innocent people. They want to put the sign to zero'

Victims of ETA and PIRA yesterday demanded that the Spanish government give no concessions to the Spanish terror group after it announced it has “completely dissolved all its structures”.

In a an open letter published yesterday ETA said it acknowledges its responsibility in failing to solve the Basque “political conflict”.

Masked members of ETA gesture following a news conference in 2011. (AP Photo/Gara via APTN)

Masked members of ETA gesture following a news conference in 2011. (AP Photo/Gara via APTN)

ETA, whose initials stand for ‘Basque Homeland and Freedom’ murdered 443 civil guards and police, 58 businesspeople and 39 politicians in a bid to create an independent state in northern Spain and southern France.

The decision, ETA said in the letter, “doesn’t overcome the conflict that the Basque Country maintains with Spain and with France”.

It added: “The Basque Country is now before a new opportunity to finally close the conflict and build a collective future ... Let’s not repeat the errors, let’s not allow for problems to rot.”

Responding to the announcement, Spanish interior minister Juan Ignacio Zoido vowed to keep investigating unresolved ETA crimes. He said police will “continue to pursue the terrorists, wherever they may be”.

“ETA obtained nothing through its promise to stop killing, and it will obtain nothing by announcing what they call dissolution,” he said.

A hundred intellectuals and victims held a press conference yesterday in San Sebastian to demand ETA comes clean about unsolved murders, condemn its terrorism, end public tributes to terrorists and respect all its victims.

Consuelo Ordonez, who leads victims group COVITE and whose brother was killed by ETA, said that “the only decent sentence that the terrorists could have uttered starts and ends with, ‘We should never have existed’”.

Maite Pagazaurtundua, whose police officer brother was killed by ETA, said that “the truth is that in (ETA’s) plans for the future, they always had violence and lies. They have removed the violence but not the lies”.

Kenny Donaldson of the South East Fermanagh Foundation travelled to Spain to offer solidarity.

“There are musings that Spain may be considering releasing ETA prisoners,” he said.

He warned ETA victims to beware of parallel measures in Spain such as a definition of victim which includes perpetrators, royal pardons, on-the-run letters and “the elevation of SF/PIRA” into “the establishment”.