The end of ETA: Are the socialist guerrillas globally gone?

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The Basque terrorist and socialist group expressed its apologies for the war against the Spanish and French state for almost 60 years

The end of ETA: Are the socialist guerrillas globally gone?

The Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA), considered by the Spanish Government and several political entities worldwide as a Basque independence and terrorist group, decided to admit "the damage caused" and recognize "the direct responsibility it has acquired" during a war of more than 59 years (since they took up arms) against the Spanish central government.

Leer en español: El fin de ETA: ¿Se acabaron las guerrillas socialistas en el mundo?

ETA (whose acronym in Basque means Basque Country and Freedom) was responsible for approximately 900 fatalities. This figure could be increased by the incongruities obtained in determining the intellectual and physical authority of some terrorist acts, which may or may not have been carried out by the socialist group, explained El País in Spain.

The guerrillas in the 20th century

The twentieth century can be described as a period congested by the ideological violence of groups decided to take up arms to defend their ideals.

Whether in defense of the thought or of the land in which they lived, hundreds of men and women routed their lives on the road of illegality and acquired the name of 'guerrillas'. The decision came before the circumstances of corrupt governments or total imposition of an ideology contrary to those in power.

Opposing to the definition acquired during the nineteenth century in which the guerrilla was considered as a special type of battle, the guerrillas of the twentieth century, especially in Latin America, emerged to "revolutionize". Therefore, the ideological thinking of these armed groups was none other than to transform the political, social, and economic reality of the countries in which they decided to fight.

It should be noted that there were also groups of rightists which took up arms, but it was in order to counteract the actions of the communist guerrillas. These types of armies were given the name of paramilitaries.

Colombian case

Both groups were very common in Latin American lands, especially since the mid-twentieth century. In Colombia, guerrillas such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the National Liberation Army (ELN), the M-19 Movement or April 19 were part of a wave of violence that left nearly 220,000 dead in a lapse 54 years old (1958-1912). Of this figure, approximately 82% of these murders correspond to civilian victims, according to the report "¡Basta ya! Colombia: Memoirs of War and Dignity," prepared by the Center for Historical Memory.

In this war, paramilitary groups such as the AUC (United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia), created and commanded by some landowners and Army commanders, also participated as a way to counteract the leftist guerrillas in Colombia. These groups operate without the 'discomfort' of complying with and respecting the laws imposed on the Colombian military.

Is it the end of the guerrillas in the world?

Different guerrillas and groups, considered as terrorist associations by the UN and the European Union, decided to step aside in their armed struggle through surrender or political participation from democracy.

Example of this are groups like Shining Path in Peru (today with some dissidences); as well as the Revolutionary Communist Party, in Brazil; the M-19, in Colombia, and the Sandinista National Liberation Front, in Nicaragua (converted IGNORE INTO political parties).

Likewise, we can highlight the FARC's uprising as the most important guerrilla demobilization in recent years, after a long period of negotiations with the Colombian Government and the signing of the Peace Agreement.

Now it is ETA's turn. The press release, in which the Basque terrorist group expresses its apologies, can be considered, as the Spanish Government did, as a sample of its absolute surrender.

It should be recalled that ETA had abandoned the weapons since 2011 and made full delivery of this in 2017. In addition, revealed that its complete dissolution will be announced during the next month of May, according to international media such as France 24 and the BBC.


Latin American Post | Christopher Ramírez
Translated from " El fin de ETA: ¿Se acabaron las guerrillas socialistas en el mundo? "