ETA: Josu Ternera and the last traces of the Basque terrorist group

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One of the leaders of the terrorist organization ETA has been captured and that has awakened the memory of what was the extinct group of the Basque Country


ETA: Josu Ternera and the last traces of the Basque terrorist group

Josu Ternera had been a fugitive for 17 years and last weekend was captured in France, where he was accused of terrorism and rebellion. He was the maximum exponent of ETA, the Basque terrorist group.

Leer en español: ETA: Josu Ternera y los últimos rastros del grupo terrorista vasco

In addition to the 8 years of prison he faces, the socialist leader has had a long life between prison and the life of a fugitive. In his long career as a member of ETA, which he joined in 1968 when he was only 18 years old, he had already been imprisoned in France, where he was serving a sentence of 10 years. He was transferred to Spain and was released there in 2000. However, in 2002 he was charged with an investigation of an attack and, since he did not appear at the imputation, he became a fugitive.

According to 20 Minutes, this leader, whose real name is José Antonio Urruticoechea, was judged for an attack in 1987, when he was already one of the top leaders of the group, in which 11 people died "including 5 girls, and were 88 injured, mostly civilians, after the explosion of a car bomb with 250 kilos of ammunition "and is considered the most violent one perpetrated by the ETA members.

For this type of acts is that the group was considered a terrorist and Urruticoechea was on the list of the most wanted. In addition to this, he is accused of participating in virtually all crimes of the organization, according to El Pais, as the theft of explosives in France, an attack on Admiral Carrero Blanco, among others.

The 69-year-old man, leader for many years of the organization, was captured thanks to the collaboration of the Civil Guard of Spain and the Intelligence Service of France. They found him in a refuge in the French Alps where he had been hiding for six months, pretending to be a writer in search of inspiration, according to what El País portrayed. Through an 'uncertain track', which they had obtained after the follow-up of an ETA member, they arrived at the leader's place, not knowing that they would reach him.

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But what was ETA?

The terrorist group ETA, or Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, was created in 1959 with the intention of making the Basque Country independent, comprising a part of Spain and France. The ETA were socialists and nationalists who sought the independence of their region and for that purpose, they carried out violent acts that made them be considered a terrorist organization.

The organization existed for 60 years, during which it carried out kidnappings and terrorist attacks that ended the lives of more than 800 people in Spain, according to official figures. However, in 2011, masked members of the organization issued a video in which they claimed that the end of the armed struggle had arrived.

"We are facing a new historic opportunity to give a fair and democratic solution to the political conflict (...) dialogue and agreement must characterize the new cycle," they say in the message. They also affirmed that the harshness of their struggle had cost the lives of many men and women, and that this was not the purpose, but the recognition of the Basque Country, which could be achieved by other means.

After 7 years of inactivity, in April and May of 2018, Josu Ternera, ETA leader, wrote through several press releases about the definitive dissolution of the organization, even though his last armed act had been in 2010. In the message, he said that "ETA, Basque revolutionary socialist organization of national liberation, wants to inform the Basque people of the end of their trajectory".

The capture of Josu Ternera, a year after he himself declared the definitive end of the ETA, was a forceful action for both countries, which have been in search of members and leaders of this organization that brought so much violence in society. In addition, in its last years, the organization was accused of having links with drug trafficking and with armed groups in other parts of the world.


LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Suárez

Translated from "ETA: Josu Ternera y los últimos rastros del grupo terrorista vasco"

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