Asociación de Víctimas del Terrorismo

Asociación de Víctimas del Terrorismo

The Asociación de Víctimas del Terrorismo is a controversial Spanish organization encompassing some 6,000 victims of terrorist violence, mainly from the Basque terror group ETA (90% of them are represented in this Association) but also from the 2004 Madrid train bombings. Its current president is Francisco José Alcaraz. Alcaraz has recently been indicted for slandering the Spanish government. []

The AVT has historically helped to raise awareness about ETA's methods and increase social pressure on them, both in the Basque Country and in the rest of Spain. For decades, ETA has carried out killings, kidnappings, extortion, street riots, and bombings. Victims have always sought politicians' support and have pressed them to besiege ETA and its environment, invoking the memory of the dead and injured, as well as justice. However, Spanish writer Javier Marias has said that during the term of office of Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, the AVT was converted into a tool of extreme political positions [] . This led to the creation of other associations more devoted to the memory of the dead and the rights of victims and less involved in day to day politics.

A majority of the most emblematic symbols in the struggle to defeat ETA are members of the AVT, namely José Antonio Ortega Lara, Miguel Ángel Blanco's family or Irene Villa, to quote a few examples.

This association has also promoted a campaign against ETA's satellite organizations, such as its political wing Batasuna, Jarrai or Gestoras pro Amnistía, as well as music bands it accuses of supporting Basque terrorism (Su Ta Gar would be an example thereof).

Stance on the March 11, 2004 train bombings (11-M)

On March 11, 2004 a series of explosions occurring at rush hour in several of Madrid's train stations left 192 dead and some 1,900 wounded.

However, the AVT has thereafter expressed doubts about the conclussion reached by the Spanish Judiciary [ [ PDF from the AVT about their doubts about the 2004 Madrid bombings] ] .

In the aforementioned document the AVT asks why there are no pictures of the alleged perpetrators, like in the 7 July 2005 London bombings, why is unknown the type of explosives that went off in the trains, why there are so much Spanish police informers among the alleged perpetrators, how is possible that the alleged perpetrators were under surveillance and infiltrated by the Spanish and how is possible that a Spanish policeman [Maussili Kalaji] liberated the cellular phones used in the bombings, and that a Guardia Civil agent provided weapons to the alleged perpetrators.

Other victim associations from the March 11 attacks include the [ 11-M Asociación Afectados de Terrorismo] , headed by Pilar Manjón [] . This other association does not share the same interests and points of view on the attacks as the AVT. [] .

Opposition to negotiation with terrorists

On March 2006 ETA declared a 'permanent cease-fire' and pushed towards a 'solution for the political conflict in the Basque Country'. Spain's Socialist government, headed by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, vowed to start a negotiation under the condition that ETA renounce violence unequivocally and stop all terrorist acts, not only killings (where policemen, the military and city councillors had traditionally been ETA's main targets) but also street sabotage and blackmailing businessmen Fact|date=February 2007.

Based upon suspicion that political concession may be behind this negotiation (such as the recognition of self-determination, an amnesty or release of ETA prisoners or uniting Navarre to the Basque Country) has led the AVT to oppose this process and call up to several demonstrations which have had the full support of Spain's main opposition party, the conservative Partido Popular Fact|date=February 2007.

However, the Socialist Party ,PSOE , denies these claims and reminds the opposition of its attitude during a previous ETA truce in 1998, where peace talks were established between the then-in-power party, the PP (led by José María Aznar), and Basque terrorists. The PSOE, then in the opposition, supported this move, unlike the PP now Fact|date=February 2007.

Other associations of ETA victims include Covite (Colectivo de Víctimas del Terrorismo), representing most of victims from the Basque Country itself [ Covite webpage] .

External links

* [ AVT's Official Website]


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