When the State lost control of the Basque country

In the period that goes from 1975 to 1982, the most critical for the newly formed Spanish democracy by the crossing of the terrorism of ETA, at its peak, with o

When the State lost control of the Basque country

In the period that goes from 1975 to 1982, the most critical for the newly formed Spanish democracy by the crossing of the terrorism of ETA, at its peak, with other acts of violence, the State came to losing control of the order and of the police corps. What says Luis Castells, professor of History, University of the Basque Country, in peace and freedom in danger. ETA and the violence in the Basque country 1975-1982, a text included in the book " there Never was two sides, of the editorial Comares, of imminent publication. The text deals with a stage-dramatic, poorly analyzed, in which the system of power, says the professor, “he lived a collapse, because the State could not control the exercise of violence by others, was not the only custodian of violence, nor could insure the life or the order, citizen.”

In that period, the so-called years of lead, ETA killed 363 people, more than one-third of the crimes they would commit in their history. But at that stage there was, in addition, other violence, embodied by the remains of the franco regime, although of a much smaller entity and no social base, although with a match with the ETA: his eagerness destabilizing the nascent democracy, says Castells. Those remnants of the franco regime were embedded in the Forces of Public Order and acted out, as groups, uncontrolled, and towards the inside, against the Government of the UCD, according to reports of the successive civilian governments of the Basque Country.

The historian is incident in a little-treaty: the level of severity that has reached the crisis of public order. “If the political Transition was difficult, the police even it was more,” he says. And it quotes the then Interior minister, Rodolfo Martín Villa, which presents a panorama “bleak” about “the lack of discipline and authority, with few commanders who acted according to his criteria and others that were not able to enforce their hierarchy, in addition to acts of misconduct not stifled”.


The battle for the story of the years of lead television dares with ETA

Castells recounts several “made dramatic” that reflected, he argues, the lack of control of the Government over the security forces and the rupture of the chain of command. For example, the emergence, the July 13, 1978, of a company of Armed Police in Renteria (Gipuzkoa), “an act vandalism that lasted for 40 minutes, attacking passers-by, destroying the windows of businesses and stealing, all in the full light of day”. The civil governor, Antonio Oyarzábal, he admitted that he could not control the forces. Also tried, in vain, that the Government punish the police rebels.

Another opinion official points out that the civil governor of Navarre, Ignatius Flat, he lost control of police during the sanfermines of 1978. The commander Avila, a militant New Force, “disobeyed and acted on your own” by ordering a unit of the Armed Police at their command to load in the bullring of Pamplona and continue in the city, with one dead in the unrest.

Less well known was the mutiny in the barracks of Basauri (Bizkaia), 13 and 14 of October of 1978, after the murder of two armed police on the part of ETA. Since the end of franco's regime were frequent insults to the authorities at the funerals. But in Basauri were tossed about the inspector general, head of the body, Helm of Lara, and the civil governor, Alberto Salazar-Simpson. Both, as well as the director of Security, Mariano Nicolás, and several military commanders remained locked up for four hours by the mutineers, according to Castells. In that case yes there were penalties. About 25 armed police officers were expelled from the body.

The civil governor of Gipuzkoa points out that he was in “a dangerous battle, with three fronts" : the ETA, the central Government “with an optical out-of-focus of the problem vasco” and the Forces of Public Order, “harassed and guilt complex after the many abuses committed in the time of Franco”. Between 1967 and 1975 there were four states of exception in the Basque country; dozens dead in protests and actions uncontrolled vigilante groups. Castells argues that the security forces came out of the franco regime without cleansed, with a lack of adaptation to democracy, no preparation to face the terror offensive of ETA, a lack of means and a poor strategy of control. As a result, were victims of social rejection while suffering from the stage of greater lethality of ETA. Came to to register 30 suicides of members of the police forces in three years.

The lieutenant colonel Antonio Tejero and captain Jesus Dolls, protagonists, after the frustrated coup of 23-F, lived part of this stage in the Basque country. Castells believes that the stimulus for their participation in the 23-F was the case Arregi, the etarra who died being tortured by the police in January of 1981. The then minister of the Interior, Juan José Rosón, dismissed several commanders, which led to a rebellion of the police, who had to tackle the minister of Defense, Manuel Gutiérrez-Mellado. With the arrival of Rosón, the Government began to regain control of the police force. The performances vigilante fell drastically and the insubordinaciones, sanctioned systematically fell apart.

Castells highlights how both violence, the ETA and the parapolicial, were asymmetric and continued developments in inverse. The counter-terrorism illegitimate was reactive, lacked social support and decayed until disappearing in the eighties. Terrorism etarra was not only much more deadly, and lasted until 2011. In addition, he responded to a political project totalitarian, with a strong ethnic identity and considerable social support. There were several acts of violence, but not both sides, concludes Castells.

Date Of Update: 27 December 2019, 00:00