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Tags: ETA FARC Spain

Spain: ETA Collaborated with FARC in Venezuela

Thursday, 13 January 2011 08:41 AM EST

MADRID -- Just days after Spanish separatist group ETA announced a “permanent, general, and internationally verifiable” cease-fire and its commitment to begin a democratic process in search for the Basque Country’s independence from Spain, reports have surfaced that it may have helped Colombia’s FARC rebels in Venezuela.

Spanish and French police have since arrested two ETA members, Itxiaso Urtiaga and Iraitz Guesalaga, who they say at one time collaborated in Venezuela with the FARC in computer-related matters, according to the Spanish daily El Mundo.

Through the documents seized from former ETA leader Francisco Javier López Peña, aka ‘Thierry’, arrested in 2008 in southern France, investigators have concluded that Guesalaga, a computer engineer, and his partner, Urtiaga, had traveled to Venezuela in the summer of 2008 to give FARC rebels in Venezuela a course on encrypting files.

The documents provided enough details for police to identify Guesalaga. They also contained enough connections to lead Spain’s security forces to consider the possibility that ETA not only has used Venezuela to arrange meetings between both groups’ members, but also to lodge and train their activists in the South American country.

The choice is logical. There, terrorists who manage to leave Europe find protection and lodging in a populated area; and Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez has long been suspected of aiding the FARC against its neighbor, Colombia. Antiterrorist services claim to have traced 50 individuals to the region, with some 17 having Venezuelan nationality or resident permits. Nevertheless, Venezuela has always refuted this accusation.

Due to new findings and previous truces announced by ETA in the past, Spanish political forces are very doubtful that this announcement will be the definitive one. The government says this was not what was expected and they are waiting for a clearer announcement.
Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero said Wednesday at the annual tribute event to Spanish security forces that ‘the end of violence will arrive soon’ but that ‘pain will remain within victims’ memories’.

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Thursday, 13 January 2011 08:41 AM
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