“At least he receives us and shows his face”

Publication: Saturday, February 20, 2021 12:09

“There will be no normalization until the page has been turned without having read the book first,” says AVT president Maite Araluce, who denounces the claim to make the victims invisible as he 40 years ago and expresses its deep disappointment with the Minister of the Interior. : “We feel betrayed by Marlaska, he crossed all the red lines.” Araluce was 15 when ETA killed his father, president of the Guipúzcoa County Council, as well as his driver and three police officers from his bodyguard in 1976.

Linked to the AVT for decades, she assumed her presidency in May 2018 and faces the 40th anniversary celebration convinced that the founding principles and work for victims are still very much needed. He not only considers it essential to continue to be the “containment barrier” against political decisions that harm victims, but above all the speaker for victims.

“Right now, they want to make us invisible as they were forty years ago,” he laments in an interview with EFE. And to those who say “I’m fine”, it reminds them that victims do not live as victims. “It’s good now, we’re not going to shut up. We are here; if it hurts them that we’re here because you can see what’s covered, let them hang on. “We are annoying and we remind them of what is wrong; they try to make us invisible to overturn the principles of dignity, memory, justice and truth”, warns Araluce, who denounces that “we cannot allow “to want to change the truth of the victims by deception, dignity by hatred or memory by revenge.

Because yes, “ETA no longer kills, but it continues to be very present, while the victims continue to be victims and do not prescribe their needs or their condition of victim”. Araluce believes that ETA’s narrative on terrorism cannot be other than that told in the first person by the victims, and not the “laundering” which speaks of two parties in conflict or of “suffering” on one side and the other. “The terrorists decided to be terrorists, the victims didn’t want to be, they forced it on us and they can’t match us.”

The terrorists decided to be terrorists, the victims didn’t want to be “

Victims know society is on their side, but many feel forgotten, ignored and, fundamentally, “crushed” and “humiliated” by institutions, he says. “I do not feel defeated by ETA, in the end its political arm is there; therefore those whom I see defeated are the victims, who humiliate us every two days”, he reproaches before showing his perplexity that ‘There continue to be politicians in institutions who do not condemn terrorism. And he adds: “It is incomprehensible that Pablo Iglesias not only does not condemn, but that he takes rallies and takes pictures with Otegi, convicted of terrorism”.

If possible, Maite Araluce is presented with the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, and with all his department, from which he has not yet received a call to congratulate them on their 40th birthday while every Friday they pick up the phone to warn them. from the list of ETA detainees who will be transferred to prisons in the Basque Country or closer. “This makes us see what interests the government (…) the truth is that we expected this call, even from the direction of attention to the victims, which is supposed to be there to support us”, laments Araluce.

De Marlaska is deeply disappointed. “We feel betrayed, he disappointed us a lot.” He assures us that the Government and the minister himself informed them that these steps would be well thought out, they spoke to them about sick prisoners, old people, those who had blood crimes and, in any case, “very individualized “transfers. Victims, he said, knew that once ETA announced its dissolution, ETA’s policy of dispersing prisoners would have “an expiration date.”

However, Araluce does not forget that the government guaranteed that these transfers would be punctual and detailed the “red lines” which would not be ignored in these steps. Noting that every Friday the prisons agree to transfer five ETA prisoners without any individualized criteria, Araluce is clear that these promised red lines have been crossed. “When we asked him for an explanation, Marlaska does not receive us, he did not explain to us why we were told that there would be cases that were not and now they are happening en masse.

“The de facto policy of dispersion is coming to an end, at least he receives us and shows his face, but he has disappeared and we no longer know anything about him”, reproaches the president of the AVT. And is that, although he repeats that these steps – more would be necessary – are legal, he underlines that the forms are all “immoral”, because it seems that “the terrorist apologizes because he signed a typical letter asking for forgiveness which we already know is a paripe ”. Araluce does not hide what they have known for a long time, that the rapprochement is the first step for the release of ETA members once they are in prison in the Basque Country and Navarre.

“I don’t know when, but I’m clear that in a little while they will be on the streets.” However, in his opinion, the worst part is not the freedom, but the tributes that murderers receive as if they were heroes. “The heroism is that they killed a member of your family and it is an immense pain for a victim because, in addition, there is no political will to stop these receptions.” This is something that the president of the AVT does not understand either, since there is a law, that of the recognition of the victims, which prohibits these celebrations and provides government delegations with the instruments to prevent them.

A few greetings which do not help normalize the situation in the Basque Country. “Normalization will come when you don’t want to turn the page without reading the book first, when all terrorists have actually served their sentences, when cases are clarified and terrorists help to do so, or when fugitives are arrested. ” “And when they recognize that there is no justification for violence and that what they did was wrong. Then that will be when we have normalcy, because otherwise we run the risk of the same thing happening again.”

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