ETA VICTIMS REMEMERED

María Victoria Campos, the widow of the Guardia Civil, Juan Manuel Piñuel, who was killed by an ETA bomb in Álava early last Wednesday morning, launched a harsh attack on her husband’s killers at a press conference she held at a hotel in her native Malaga last Friday. Close to tears, she thanked the Basque people for their support and praised their “strength, dignity and greatness”. She also thanked the Prime Minister, his ministers and especially the Guardia Civil for their unflagging support and sympathy. Her voice broke when she spoke of her family, who were “immersed in a situation which had no explanation, which was beyond the limits of logic and human understanding”. In a stronger voice, María Victoria said she would wear the medal her husband was awarded posthumously with pride, and then she spoke directly to the Basque terrorist group: “You are nothing but trash – a black mark on the cleanness of a great country. I repudiate, from the very depths of my heart, these miserable cowards, who have no dignity or principles, who destroy life and the dreams of the people without scruples, who do not know how to respect a State of law, who want to do away with democracy and who dirty the dignity of their Basque homeland with their vile acts”. She said that state of affairs would not continue because “we will fight to do away with this blemish of miserable assassins is done away with”. She ended her short speech with “Viva España, Viva la Guardia Civil”. Her husband had asked for a transfer to the post Legutiano near Vitoria in the Basque Country to gain extra points which would lead to a rise in salary, enabling the couple to buy a home. The Guardia Civil earn the extra points not only because of the danger involved in being an ETA target but also because of the generally hostile atmosphere to the Guardia in the Basque country. Adults who had gone to school and played with the children of the Guardia stationed in Legutiano told reporters last week that relations were broken off after the local Guardia Civil chief was assassinated by an ETA gunman in the mid-1980s. The situation worsened when the local council ruled that classes at the local school were to be given in the Basque language. As most of the Guardia came from other parts of Spain, they sent their children to school in nearby Vitoria where they could study in Spanish. By the time of last week’s bombing, there was hardly any contact between the Guardia Civil and the local people.

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