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ETA's end to violence stirs strong feelings in Spain

ETA's end to violence stirs strong feelings in Spain
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For my family, it is too little, too late.

That is the feeling of Cati Romero, who lost her husband in ETA’s reign of terror.

News that the group has now ended its decades-long armed struggle and talk of reconciliation has a hollow ring for this widow.

“My first feeling is sadness,” she told euronews. “I will tell you, from the heart, how I feel. I can’t take as big a sigh of relief as the politicians or the rest of the people. I was told about it by a French journalist who called me and, of course, I remembered Alfonso. He was my partner, my friend and an exceptional human being. I remembered he has been dead and buried for 16 years and I wondered why this development did not happen 20 years ago. Then all of this would not have happened…..

“Who do I need to be reconciled with? I don’t know. We didn’t hurt anybody.There was no confrontation here. The words ‘conflict’, ‘confrontation’

‘reconciliation’ are used – but with relation to whom? Did anybody ask me for forgiveness?

“They want to rewrite our history. They try to make us believe there was a confrontation or conflict because there were two sides. I have never had a conflict with anybody. Not me, not Alfonso….so if they want to see it that way, it is because they want to rewrite what happened. I hope the people have not fallen for it.”

Other families, with very different experiences, have strong feelings, too. Txelui Moreno’s son was arrested and accused of being part of an ETA youth group. Now in prison awaiting trial, the 23-year-old is a victim of torture, his father claims.

“What is not fair, and it is a form of revenge, is that the Spanish state takes convicted prisoners as far away as possible from their homes and then families have to pay really high prices,” he told euronews.

“A victim? That is my son who was tortured for five days. The pain I feel….knowing that the torturers are alive and that they will certainly be decorated for their ‘great work’ – namely, arresting eight people over five days and leaving them hooded in a room….. a young man of 23. This causes me deep pain. It is very hard.”

The prospect of a future free from ETA violence has been welcomed by Spaniards and, in the Basque Country, calls are being made to live in peace.

“Today is a very special day for the families of victims of terrorism,” said our correspondent Javier Villagarcia, speaking at San Sebastian’s monument to victims of terrorism and violence. “For the first time, they can see the light at the end of the tunnel of a conflict that caused more than four decades of suffering.”