Andoni Txasko, Manuel Ruiz and Fermín Rodríguez are present in the Argentine lawsuit as plaintiffs. They have been pursuing truth, justice and reparation for many years and waiting for former Minister Rodolfo Martín Villa to testify before Judge María de Servini. If there are no unforeseen events, it will do so today, by videoconference, from the Argentine embassy in Madrid.
The publication of several letters of support sent to the magistrate by four former presidents of the Spanish Government, four former union leaders and other public figures has removed the plaintiffs. “The letters of support to Martin Villa are proof of why we have had to resort to Argentine justice,” says Txasko, a member of the March 3 Association and victim of a brutal police beating on March 4, 1976 in Vitoria. that left him with only 2% vision. “They also indicate that Martín Villa is concerned and that is why he surrounds himself with the greatest possible support of personalities who were important,” he adds.
“They have come out with the blow of whistle, all those who have written those letters have the same intention. They are people who did not experience that, Zapatero and other people did not experience it, they were not there. Perhaps if they had been they would not dare to look at another I would like Felipe González to tell me, looking into my eyes, that the plaintiffs should be tried, as he has said “, claims Manuel Ruiz, brother of Arturo Ruiz, murdered in Madrid in 1977 during the so-called Black Week .
“This is a desperate attempt to influence the judge,” laments Fermín Rodríguez, brother of Germán Rodríguez, who was murdered by the police in the 1978 Sanfermines. judged those responsible in Spain, we are because the Spanish judiciary has not investigated or allowed to investigate, “he adds.
Andoni Txasko has two percent vision after the brutal beating that the police gave him on March 4, 1976 in Vitoria, hours after the massacre in which five workers, in the context of a general strike, were killed by bullets from the security forces after the church where they took refuge with four thousand more people was gassed and another 150 people were injured, 50 of them by live bullets. “That was a trap, they waited for everyone to enter the church to surround it and gas it,” he complained in conversation with eldiario.es.
“The authorities acted wanting to give an example so that what happened in Vitoria did not spread to other places. This was recognized by Fraga himself when he came on March 6 and said that ‘that this sad example serves as a great lesson to all Spaniards in the next few months, “laments Txasko.
Manuel Ruiz, a member of the La Comuna association, is the brother of Arturo Ruiz, who was killed by two shots in the back in Madrid in January 1977, “by far-rightists who collaborated with the police or the Civil Guard,” according to the complaint. Martín Villa was then Minister of the Interior.
“There are reasonable indications to deduce that the perpetrators of Arturo’s murder were the public order forces providing support and helping his escape,” he says. “I found out about my brother’s murder on television, as did my parents. We were shocked,” he recalls.
Fermín Rodríguez is a member of the Sanfermines 78 Gogoan association and brother of Germán Rodríguez, killed by the security forces with a bullet in the forehead during the protests in Sanfermines in 1978. The trigger was the unfolding of a banner calling for amnesty for the prisoners politicians. There were more than 150 wounded, eleven of them from gunshots. The police message was recorded: “Prepare all the muzzles and shoot with all the energy and as hard as you can. Do not mind killing.” Despite the clarity of the message, the facts were not judged. The incidents spread to other cities and days later another young man was assassinated in Donostia. Martín Villa was Minister of the Interior.
The complainants denounce that these three cases, as well as the rest of the crimes investigated by the Argentine complaint, did not receive the proper attention of a democracy. There were no trials, and if there were, they were not held with the proper investigation and commitment, they regret.
“With the Vitoria massacre, the ball was passed from court to court, until it was ruled that the events had to be prosecuted on the basis of terrorism, but for them the terrorist was not the policeman or policemen who fired, but the workers who they demanded rights and freedoms. Finally, the matter fell to the military jurisdiction, with total abandonment, without investigating, without taking testimony or evidence. And the case was dismissed because they said they could not determine who had been the authors of the shots, “Andoni laments. Txasko.
“There were the recorded tapes in which the police are heard saying they were going to shoot, how they recognize that a great massacre had just taken place, it was a joke,” he adds.
All attempts to reopen the case of the Vitoria massacre in Spain have been in vain. “Crimes against humanity neither prescribe nor can they be amnestied, but it has been the wall that we have come across, that is why we joined the Argentine lawsuit,” says Txasko.
Faced with the murder of Germán Rodríguez in Pamplona during the Sanfermines of 78, something similar happened: “In my brother’s case there was only misrepresentation, there was no file, no sanction, no investigation, only total impunity. All the effort was to defend the aggressors. In the cargo there were hundreds of wounded, in addition to my dead brother. Some of the wounded have been with sequels for life “, denounces Fermín Rodríguez.
In the case of Arturo Ruiz, murdered in Madrid in the framework of the so-called tragic week, there was a trial, but his family complained that it was insufficient.
“One of the perpetrators was declared in absentia, because he fled. The family sent him money and sent it to a civil guard. This man entered through the Guernica barracks like Pedro through his house. His sister said at the trial that When the civil guards from Guernica came to Madrid, they slept at his house. The other author was tried as a collaborator, his sentences were reduced because he had surrendered and because he had accepted the amnesty, so he was in jail for a short year and then he allowed himself the luxury of wandering around the televisions. That did a lot of damage to my parents, who were very affected, “explains Manuel Ruiz.
“Democracy was not brought by Martín Villa”
The families and victims named in the complaint hope that Martín Villa “will explain what happened in the cases in which he had responsibilities.”
“Martín Villa is the political person in charge of what happened. To be the minister of the interior is to be the maximum person in charge of the forces of public order; the collaborator of the murder of my brother was collaborator of the police and the one who is supposed to be the murderer He had ties with the Civil Guard. The last person in charge of the forces of order was Martín Villa, politically he must pay for his actions, “says Manuel Ruiz.
“The Spanish State continues to guarantee impunity that the current government should not assume,” laments Txasko. “I do not refuse to apply an amnesty but after the facts are tried and those responsible are marked. We do not want people like Martín Villa, over 80 years old, to go to jail but we do want their trajectory to be marked criminal and not go down in history as champions of freedom and democracy. ”
“Martín Villa says that he brought democracy, but democracy was not brought by these people, democracy was brought by people like my brother, people who sometimes even gave their lives. In those days the extreme right went out to the streets to kill reds “They said so. According to the UN, that is a crime against humanity, to kill someone for their ideas in a systematic way and also in this case by forces parallel to the State. This crime, despite what the National Court says, does not it prescribes because it is a crime against humanity “, indicates Manuel Ruiz.
“Spain has to avail itself of Universal Justice, but Spain avails itself of it only when it is interested, the last great idea is to avail itself of it from 2004, from 2004 onwards, no, it is ad hoc universal justice, when interested, “he adds.
“With an amnesty law they can’t get me to forget”
The three complainants acknowledge that those events have marked their lives. In Andoni’s case, his disability has limited his life: “But you are rebuilding little by little. I do not have hatred or resentment, but I do resent impunity, that the State does not recognize the pain it caused causes resentment”, points out.
Manuel Ruiz acknowledges that the murder of his brother marked him “in a terrible way, there was no way I didn’t remember him, my parents never got over it.” And he explains that impunity increases the difficulty.
“That is why I want Martín Villa to explain before a judge, everyone shields himself from the amnesty law, what a law cannot do to me is that I forget myself, that is impossible, that cannot be achieved by law. And Like me, hundreds of people who cannot forget, one thing is to say that we are going to be calm and another is that they erase it from my head, they have to explain to me what happened and why my brother’s murderer is still on the run. ”
“People at that time asked for amnesty for political prisoners, not for impunity and injustice to be perpetuated,” he concludes.