Citando a Pedro Ontoso (El Correo) y Edurne Uriarte, Financial Times (www.ft.com) estima que el “alto el fuego permanente” pudiera coincidir con nuevas formas de extorsión y violencia, para financiar su “inactividad”.
Ontoso y su familia, como tantos otros hombres y mujeres, subraya FT, está obligado a seguir llevando escolta policial.
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Basques cautious over Eta
'indefinite ceasefire' claim
By Mark Mulligan
Published: March 27 2006 03:00 | Last updated: March 27 2006
For the first time since the 1960s, the Basque country is contemplating life without Eta, the violent separatist movement.
Eta declared a "permanent ceasefire" last week, but Spain's 2.2m Basques have lived
through "indefinite ceasefires" before and know better than to start the celebrations quite yet.
Life has not changed for Pedro Ontoso, deputy editor at El Correo, a daily newspaper in the Basque country that takes a tough stance against Eta violence. On Friday, the day the
ceasefire came into effect, armed security guards accompanied his children to school and then escorted him to the newspaper's offices in a suburb of Bilbao, the region's
Mr Ontoso is like thousands of public figures, intellectuals, business people and journalists who live with
24-hour security protection because they have received Eta death threats. Mr Ontoso says he is not convinced that Eta's truce will do away with other forms
of intimidation. "The announcement has filled us with hope.
However there is still a nagging doubt that doesn't allow us to let our guard down. I reserve my final judgment until such time as police give all-clear on the need for
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Spain's prime minister, said in an interview in El Pais newspaper that the ceasefire announcement was a "good starting point" but he would be looking for
signs that other forms of violence, such as extortion of business people and
street violence, had ended before deciding on peace talks.
Most Basques share Mr Ontoso's caution. "I'm very optimistic that the killing has stopped for good," says Edurne Uriarte, a Basque academic who escaped death when an Eta bomb failed to detonate in a lift at her university. "But at this stage
I would say there is still a high probability that the extortion will continue."
Ms Uriarte recalls that when Eta announced a temporary ceasefire in 1998, the incidence of extortion and street violence, including attacks on business premises, almost doubled. By 2000, Basque businesses that refused to pay Eta's "revolutionary tax"
had become the main target of the separatist group's terror campaign. In that year, bombs ripped apart 15 offices and factories in the Basque country and claimed the life of José María Korta, president of a regional business association.
Last year 18 bombs exploded against shopfronts, factories and office buildings in the Basque country. There have been three similar attacks this year.
Analysts say the surge in violence against business last year reflected the increasingly weak state of Eta finances. The fear now is that Eta, reluctant to appear weakened as its
representatives sit down to negotiate their reintegration into regional political processes, will need fresh financing.
"If we don't see a radical change [in Eta activity], it means that we are not ready to
see the beginning of a new era," Jesus Eguiguren, president of the Basque Socialist party, told El Correo newspaper yesterday.