The Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, took off this Monday in a conference delivered at the Ortega y Gasset-Gregorio Marañón Foundation (FOM) with a comment implying that the non-intervention of the Army after the collapse of the Zaldibar landfill has delayed the recovery of the body of Joaquín Beltrán, that is still buried a year later of the event while the remains of Alberto Sololuze did not appear until last August. "With all due respect, I cannot understand that in some places they say 'No, the UME cannot come here.' Maybe if the UME had intervened a year ago, maybe a corpse would not be in a place [...] These are things that are difficult for me to understand, "said the socialist minister.
The search continues in Zaldibar: a year later there are 140,000 cubic meters of waste left to look for Joaquín
This reflection, made at the end of a long talk, has angered the Basque Government, a coalition of the PNV with the socialists themselves, who led the Environment in February 2020, when the Zaldibar landfill collapsed. The head of the portfolio - now a director of other areas - was Iñaki Arriola, president of the PSE-EE. In February 2020, the lehendakari himself, Iñigo Urkullu, said that he asked the central government for help to put out the fires in the landfill with aerial means.
"I regret the little memory of the minister. A year ago she told me that the Army could not do more or anything different from what was already being done by the Basque institutions. Lately it is not correct, neither on this issue nor on the expressions ultras of the Army ", Aitor Esteban, spokesman for the PNV in Congress, replied via Twitter. The councilor-spokesman of the Urkullu Government, Bingen Zupiria, has also described these words as "unfortunate" and as "totally unfair".
This same Saturday, from the top of what was the Verter Recycling plant in Zaldibar, the current Security and Environment Councilors, Josu Erkoreka and Arantxa Tapia, reported that between now and April they aspire to comb a new area within from the mountain of fallen waste to try to locate Beltrán's corpse. Before accessing this point, you have to clear 140,000 cubic meters first. This area would be accessed in March and then the place would be screened inch by inch. In 12 months, 525,000 cubic meters of waste have been excavated and, of these, 372,038 have been "raked" to search for the remains of the disappeared.
It so happens that last Thursday it was Vox that raised a debate to the Basque Parliament demanding the presence of the Military Emergency Unit (UME) in Zaldibar. "I imagine Mrs. Robles writhing wherever she is, when she knows that the Basque Government, of which you are a part, rejects the help of any army unit in the Basque Country," the spokesperson for the far-right party, Amaia Martínez, reproached them. Grisaleña, to the socialist representative in the debate, Alberto Alonso. The PSE-EE parliamentarian was very harsh with the statement: "Before submitting extemporaneous proposals and totally inappropriate to the reality of the situation, it is essential to know the characteristics of a landslide as complex as the one that occurred in Zaldibar. of a landslide of practically one million cubic meters of waste. A really complex challenge that a multidisciplinary team has had to face, made up of the best experts in civil works, geotechnics, gases, water, in a large number of disciplines. Landslide instability, gas fires, leachates, runoff control, the need to deposit the extracted waste in a safe area, ensuring the safety and health of the people who are working there, are numerous problems they have had to face and still face today, with a priority objective shared by all s and each one of them: rescuing as soon as possible, but as surely as possible, the body of Joaquín Beltrán. We understand, therefore, not to disrespect all the people who are working in one of the most difficult missions that they will surely have to face in their professional lives ".