Is the dissolution of ETA definitive?

The end of more than six decades of this terrorist organization gives hope to the Spanish people in a time of separatism, but leaves many doubts about the process

Is the dissolution of ETA definitive?

Leer en español: ¿Es definitiva la disolución de ETA?

On May 2, the terrorist organization Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) announced its definitive dissolution through an official statement. This message that implies a disarmament of all its criminal structures comes after 60 years of activity outside the law, and more than seven years after the disarming of the organization was declared. The Spanish people seem to be turning the page of this conflict, but many doubts remain about this statement. Especially when there is no post-conflict process and separatism remains a priority issue in the Iberian Agenda.

According to the official statement, ETA will not express political opinions or interact with other actors, but its members will be able to continue with their pro-independence ideals and unifying projects around the Basque Country (Euskal Herria), its language and its culture. In the words of the terrorist organization: "ETA wants to close a cycle in the conflict that confronts Euskal Herria with the states, characterized by the use of political violence".

ETA was a terrorist organization that in its six decades of history left more than 800 civilian victims in Spain, as well as an unresolved conflict over the political identity of the Basque country. The unilateral dissolution of the criminal group does not promote a transitional process, especially for the victims of the attacks and their families, which predicts a peace based on open wounds. If anything has been taught to us by world peace processes, especially those carried out with guerrillas and armed groups, success depends to a great extent on a transition that requires processes of reparation, rehabilitation and guarantees of non-repetition.

According to news published in recent days in the Gara and Berria newspapers, ETA's new decision was supported by 93% of the members of the organization who were consulted about it. According to the statement, members of all the structures of the terrorist organization participated in this consultation, adding a total of 1,335 voters. However, ETA speaks of between 2,500 and 3,000 people who were involved in the decision. According to an article by RTVE (Spanish Radio and Television Corporation) published on May 6, "militants who are not from ETA have also been informed, and some of them have made their contributions."

However, it remains in the Spanish population a great doubt about the veracity of the communique, since it is not the first time that this terrorist organization speaks of taking a step towards peace. In fact, in October 2011, within the framework of the International Peace Conference of San Sebastian and with the international support of Kofi Annan (former Secretary-General of the United Nations), ETA announced the halt of all its armed acts. This announcement generated hope in the international community, although it took seven years for the next step to be taken.

The victims of ETA were mostly Spanish. However, there is no need to remember the links that this terrorist group had in Latin America. According to the Spanish newspaper ABC, not only ETA was behind Pablo Escobar's car bombs in the late eighties, but among the victims of the attacks perpetrated by this group during its history, two Ecuadorian citizens were found. According to the Ecuadorian newspaper El Universo, in December 2006 Diego Armando Estacio and Carlos Alonso Palate died due to a bomb placed by ETA at the Madrid-Barajas Airport.

The dissolution of the criminal structures of ETA seems to be a step forward in the resolution of this conflict in the Iberian Peninsula. However, the one-sidedness of the statement and the failure to ask for forgiveness from the victims as a last act of self-criticism and recognition of the conflict, hinders the transition at the local level and the support of the process by civil society.


Latin American Post | Laura Delgado

Translated from "¿Es definitiva la disolución de ETA?