On a day like today a decade ago, ETA announced the definitive cessation of its armed activity. The band thus ended 40 years of terrorism. The government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and most of the parties congratulated themselves for what it could mean, as it was, the beginning of a path that led, a few years later, to the final dissolution of ETA. Most, but not all. Already then the Popular Party, led by Mariano Rajoy and before an imminent general election, showed its disagreement with what was happening. It was not the only time in a process that, 10 years later, has added a new milestone with the Declaration of October 18, with which the left nationalist he apologized last Monday to the victims of Basque separatist terrorism. Neither in this case the PP has been satisfied and has taken advantage, once again, to attack the coalition Executive.
Rajoy took command of the country just a month after ETA announced the cessation of violence on October 20, 2011. Exactly one month later, the PP swept the general elections and achieved the best result it has ever obtained: 186 deputies. Rajoy thus found himself managing a peace process that his party had criticized and torpedoed on multiple occasions, and even confronted international negotiators who were trying to collaborate in ending four decades of terrorism.
That October 20, 2011, the then PP Interior spokesman, Ignacio Cosidó, separated himself from the rest of the parties with a phrase that reflected that, in this matter, his party was not comfortable: “It is not worth ETA to say that he will not use the pistols any more if he keeps them. To be credible he must hand them over. ” Rajoy, true to his style, did not want to be related to the matter, although he did accept that the Zapatero Government had him promptly informed how the process was progressing.
The problem is that, according to what Jonathan Powell, the former chief of staff of the former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and one of the intermediaries with the gang, recounted this Tuesday in elDiario.es, “the PP endangered the peace process”. And it continued: “The PP government decided that it was not necessary to maintain any contact with ETA and did not make any effort to dissolve the organization or to seize arms.”
All in all, the delivery of weapons arrived. Six years passed, two general elections and the loss of the absolute majority of the PP, which caused it to begin to need other parliamentary groups to be able to carry out its policies. Among them, the PNV. In April 2017 ETA began the disarmament process with the delivery of eight zulos, 118 weapons and almost three tons of explosives.
A few weeks before, the lehendakari Iñigo Urkullu met in Moncloa with Rajoy and told him the step that the terrorist gang was going to take and asked him to facilitate the process, according to published The country. Was the Basque Executive the one who reported to the Spanish how the process was going. In May of that year, the Government managed to approve the General Budgets several months late.
A few years earlier, in 2014, little progress had already been made in dismantling ETA. The band itself sealed one of its zulos, an act that the Basque Government described as “a small step not enough.” For the Basque PP at that time, led by Arantza Quiroga, who has now disappeared from active politics, everything was going well, but it was not enough. “We attended the end of ETA, but today does not contribute anything“Quiroga said.
In 2017, the story of the PP had not changed one iota. Despite the fact that ETA promised to disarm before the world, with a statement on the BBC, the then Minister of the Interior, Juan Ignacio Zoido, downplayed it and demanded the dissolution of the terrorist gang. The deputy secretary of Social Policy of the PP, Javier Maroto, regretted that “some” tried to disarm ETA a news “from which to take breast”.
That dissolution requested by the PP came a year later. On May 2, 2018 ETA announced by letter the complete dismantling of “all its structures”. In that letter, the terrorists already recognized “the suffering caused”. In a video sent to the BBC, the historic leader Josu Ternera read the latest statement from the band as such. That day, the president of the Basque PP, Alfonso Alonso, said: “ETA ends but democracy continues.” His predecessor in office and former Minister of the Interior, Jaime Mayor Oreja, said that the announcement of the dissolution of ETA meant the “legalization” and legitimation of the gang.
Before ETA took the steps of the last decade, the State launched projects that sought a way out of a conflict that could become entrenched for many reasons. One of them was the situation of the gang’s prisoners, their estrangement from their families and even their possible reintegration.
The Zapatero Government launched the call via Nanclares, which basically articulated a protocol so that ETA members who had denied their past and the gang could complete the process with the forgiveness of the victims, in addition to paying compensation. As soon as Rajoy arrived at the Government, the meetings were settled, to unease of some of the victims and of those who saw in the breakdown of the self-styled makos front (that is, the group of ETA prisoners) a way to defeat the terrorists. The Basque PP asked in 2014 to resume, unsuccessfully.
Or not immediately, because a few years later the PP was opened. His parliamentary spokesman, Rafael Hernando, assured in 2017 that “any ETA prisoner who wants to return to the Basque Country It has a road open, which is the ‘via Nanclares’, which requires some requirements, such as repentance, recognition of the facts and the request for forgiveness from the victims. “These were, once again, the times when the Rajoy government no longer had an absolute majority.
A decade after the end of violence, the left nationalist has taken another step by denying ETA. But neither now the PP has congratulated itself on what happened. The president of the Basque PP, Carlos Iturgaiz, whom Pablo Casado put in office, on Monday called Otegi’s words “disgusting” because “laughs in the face of the victims”.
His head of ranks was not left behind by assuring that “Otegi is not a man of peace but a terrorist, and ETA was defeated by the police and judicially, not because of Zapatero’s assignments.” Minutes before the statement on the left nationalist, Married had demanded that they ask for forgiveness. With him, other prominent figures of the PP attacked the step taken by Bildu. Organization secretary, Ana Beltrán, said on Twitter that Otegi is “a scourge for democracy,” while deputy Mari Mar Blanco, Miguel Ángel Blanco’s sister, added: “Don’t feel so much and begin by condemning each of the murders that you applauded. ” “Begin to confess who were the perpetrators of the 379 crimes that are unsolved, stop paying homages to ETA and condemn ETA’s terrorism once and for all,” said Teresa Jiménez-Becerril, another deputy, sister of another assassinated by the terrorist gang.
On Tuesday, the party has taken a further step in trying to break a minimum consensus by presenting two “addenda” to the institutional declaration prepared by the Senate on the tenth anniversary of that definitive cessation of violence. In a press conference, Maroto predicted that his additions will cause the declaration to decline, which requires unanimity to be approved: “Either the text presented by the Socialist Group will be decaffeinated and will not expressly include ETA’s condemnation of terrorism. or else Bildu is not going to support him. “
In addition, both in the Senate and in Congress, the PP has presented initiatives urging the Government to exclude from its pacts “parties that do not explicitly condemn the crimes of ETA,” reports Iñigo Aduriz. The PP asks the Executive to build a “democratic memory” based on “the absolute guilt of ETA and the social movements that supported or justified crimes that should be considered against humanity”, prohibit “symbols in memory of ETA”, to prevent “the homages to ETA” or “to exclude from the pacts and political agreements promoted by the Government the parties that do not explicitly condemn the crimes of ETA and try to legitimize their existence.” Another milestone on the complicated path to the end of terrorism that the PP receives with more disgust than joy.