Archive for Sunday, August 6, 2006

Basque terrorist group ends with a whimper

August 6, 2006


— They were familiar faces from the neighborhood. Now they are enshrined in a neat row of 11 enlarged snapshots displayed above the bar in an anonymous cafe.

The 11 men are accused of being members of ETA, the Basque terrorist group responsible for the deaths of some 800 people over the course of its 30-year war against Spain. Beneath the photo of each is the address of a prison in Spain or France and a date of birth.

This, apparently, is how it ends for ETA - defeated and with most of its membership behind bars.

In May, masked members of ETA declared a permanent cease-fire. Last month the government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero opened talks with the organization in what appears to be a pragmatic effort designed to give the terrorists a face-saving way of decommissioning themselves.

Critics of the government, mainly the opposition Popular Party, say that granting ETA any kind of honorable exit is handing them a dangerous and unwarranted victory.


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