The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, recalled this Thursday, during the symbolic act of destruction of 1,400 weapons of terrorist groups held at the College of Young Guards Duque de Ahumada, of Valdemoro ”(Madrid), that“ there is still to shed light on unsolved crimes ”of ETA, more than 300 according to victims’ associations. Sánchez, who has been accompanied by six members of his Executive as well as representatives of all the security forces, the armed forces, the judiciary, the prosecution service and most of the victims’ associations, has described the act as “exercising dignity, humanity and justice ”towards the memory of the victims. “We cannot recover lives, we cannot destroy the past, it is in our power to fight against forgetfulness,” he stressed. The event was held with numerous political absences despite the fact that, according to Executive sources, representatives of the parties and members of some autonomous governments had been invited.
During the event, representatives of the security forces and other groups, such as prison officials, who have been hit by terrorism in recent decades, have removed the cloth that covered the weapons arranged on the floor of the central courtyard of the complex of the civil Guard. Immediately afterwards, a steamroller has passed over part of them as a symbol of their destruction – in fact, all of them will be transferred this Wednesday to a smelting furnace for their total elimination as stipulated in the protocols. It involved 1,377 complete firearms and 19 fundamental pieces that remained in the custody of the Civil Guard. All of them had been intervened by ETA and GRAPO commandos in police operations carried out in Spain and whose legal cases were instructed in the National Court between 1977 and 2005, and were already on trial.
Sánchez has indicated that this destruction of the weapons served to “reinforce the idea of the defeat of the terrorist gang.” “Whoever hands over arms accepts defeat, and this is evidenced in this act,” he said. The president has also warned about the risk that what happened will be forgotten with the passage of time, as the recent studies that have brought to light the ignorance about terrorism in Spain of the new generations seem to show. “There is a human tendency to side with painful memories. We must not, we cannot forget ”, he insisted.
In this sense, Sánchez has defended “the defense of the memory of those who were murdered, threatened and kidnapped by ETA, GRAPO, DAESH or the GAL” and has thanked the “sacrifice, courage and example of the victims of terrorism”. “We cannot recover the victims or destroy the black past, but we can fight against forgetfulness, end fear and continue to build the change of peace and dignity,” Sánchez concluded.
Before him, Florencio Domínguez, director of the Foundation of the Memorial Center for the Victims of Terrorism, based in Vitoria, recalled that since the first pistol that was intervened at ETA, in 1964, and the last, On March 14, 2020, the terrorist organization had used more than 54,000 kilos of explosives and 4,000 weapons. For this reason, he stressed that the destruction of this Thursday had “a high symbolic and political load. […] It is the image of the defeat of terrorism ”, he said. Domínguez has also advocated for continuing to work with “the moral obligation to achieve the moral delegitimization of terrorism” to “vindicate the victims.”
The event has been overshadowed by absences, reflected in the many chairs that have been left empty. Executive sources assure that several weeks ago invitations were sent to the leader of the PP, Pablo Casado, and to representatives of the political parties with parliamentary representation. Neither have members of the other formation of the coalition government, United Podemos, nor former presidents Mariano Rajoy, José Luis Rodríguez and José María Aznar attended. The president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, who had been invited to celebrate the event in a town in the region, was not present either. The second vice president and leader of the Basque Socialists, Idoia Mendia, attended the Basque Executive.
The Government was represented by the Ministers of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska; Justice, Juan Carlos Campo; Defense, Margarita Robles; Foreign Affairs, Arancha González Laya; Education, Isabel Celaá; and Public Administrations, Miquel Iceta. The State Attorney General, Dolores Delgado, and the president of the National Court, José Ramón Navarro, were also present. In addition to senior officials from the National Police and the Civil Guard, representatives of the Ertzaintza, the Navarra Foral Police and the Mossos d’Esquadra attended. In the latter case, with its maximum responsible, the major Josep Lluis Trapero, in front. Representatives of the majority of victims’ associations were also present.
At the end of the act, the president of one of them, the Association of Victims of Terrorism (AVT), Maite Araluce, approached Sánchez to reproach him for the change in prison policy initiated by the Government in 2018 and which has resulted in dozens of transfers of terrorist prisoners to prisons closer to the Basque Country and Navarra. The AVT has asked the organizers of the event that the “iron” resulting from the destruction of weapons be used to create plaques in tribute to the victims of terrorism, according to a statement.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.