May 23th 2024 | 3:18


ETA issue muddies the end of the Basque electoral campaign

Maria Jose Gonzalez

April 16, 2024 | 11:47 a.m.

In a recent controversy, Pello Otxandiano, EH Bildu candidate, has avoided calling ETA a "terrorist group", referring to it only as an "armed group." This statement has caused a wave of indignation among the main associations of victims of terrorism in Spain, including Covite, the Buesa Foundation, and the Association for Victims of Terrorism (AVT), who have strongly condemned these words.

Covite has expressed that such statements reflect that "fascination with ETA" remains central to EH Bildu's political project, describing Otxandiano's statements as "indecent and insulting." Consuelo Ordóñez, president of Covite, has harshly criticized Otxandiano for what she considers an attempt to legitimize ETA's past actions.

For its part, the Buesa Foundation has reiterated that ETA was a terrorist group responsible for murders, kidnappings and extortion, urging EH Bildu to completely delegitimize terrorism to move towards peaceful coexistence.

Carmen Ladrón de Guevara, a lawyer for the AVT, has accused Otxandiano of practicing equidistance and avoiding explicitly condemning terrorism, insinuating that EH Bildu continues to tacitly justify terrorist actions.

During a debate and a subsequent interview, Otxandiano avoided directly answering whether he considered ETA a terrorist group, which has been seen by many as a lack of clear commitment to the delegitimization of terrorism. This fact has been strongly criticized by Eneko Andueza, PSE candidate, who described Otxandiano as a "coward" and denounced his comments as morally degrading.

This controversy arises in a delicate context, with EH Bildu trying to distance itself from its past related to supporting ETA, while seeking to gain legitimacy in Basque and Spanish politics. The refusal to clearly condemn ETA has complicated these efforts, highlighting the deep divisions and unhealed wounds in Spanish society regarding terrorism and its legacy.

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