Pedro Iñaki Pérez Beotegui (alias "Wilson") 1948 - 2008
Pedro Iñaki Pérez Beotegui (alias "Wilson") died yesterday, on the fourth anniversary of the Al Qaeda M11 bombing of Madrid, in Vitoria in the Basque Country at 60 years of age. As "Wilson" he led the group who in 1973 rented a flat on at Calle Claudio Coello 104, Madrid overlooking the road which Franco's prime minister & expected successor Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco used every morning to travel to work after mass in an armoured car. For several weeks the four members of the team, codenamed "Ogre" tunnelled under the street and then placed 80kg of explosives which they detonated on the 20th of December 1973. The car in which Carrero Blanco travelled was sent 20 metres into the air & over a five storey building in the blast. The assassination is cited in almost every account of how the Spanish state passed from an authoritiarian military dictatorship to the process of "transition" upon Franco's death without named successor to the European social democracy it is today.
The assassination caught the attention of the world both at the time & regularly since, for its politcial efficacy, logistic audacity & strategic victory. The BBC report on the day recognised the far reaching consequences of the attack & the movie "Operation Ogro" (1979) still regularly shows on Spanish language TV to this day. Carrero Blanco's replacement as Franco's "number 2" Carlos Arias Navarro in his acceptance speech of Feb 12. 1974, promised liberalizing reforms including the right to form political associations. Though he was denounced by hardliners within the regime, the transition had begun.
Pedro Iñaki Pérez Beotegui (alias "Wilson") was born in Vitoria on the 31st of July 1948. He went to England to study in 1965 the reason why his later no de guerre or alias was so English. In 1969 he was detained in London after attempting to burn the Spanish embassy to the UK. Upon return to Spain he volunteered for the ETA V assembly & is regarded as the brains behind the assassination of Carrero.
On the 30th of July 1975, as a result of the infiltration of the agent Mikel Lejarza alias "Lobo" (or wolf [also a subject of a movie - c/f 2004 http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Lobo_%28pel%C3%ADcula%29 )
Pedro Iñaki Pérez Beotegui (alias "Wilson") was arrested in Barcelona along with Juan Paredes Manot, (alias Txiki). Both men had risen to the top of the organisation ETA at the height of its popular support amongst Basques, Spaniards & internationally. He was released as part of an amnesty decreed by the legitimate successor to Franco as chief of state of Spain, King Don Juan Carlos. In total 287 political prisoners were released in the amnesty which followed a week of serious rioting in the Basque, Catalonia & Madrid in May 1977. http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semana_pro-amnist%C3%ADa_d..._1977
He then took up exile in Norway along with other prominent members of Basque seperatism & ETA including Mario Onaindia and Teo Uriarte. By the 1980's he had found his way back to Vitoria where he lived out his life without incident and eventual death this week after a lengthy illness. In many ways he belonged to what is widely regarded as another ETA from another time . The organisation which is credited with 935 murders has somehow managed to hold the same letters, symbology, ballads, letterheads decade through decade but in no proper sense or under any substantial analysis may be deemed to be the same organisation. Unlike the Irish history with which the Basque has often lamentably compared, no "real" nor "continuity" has ever been suffixed to the letters ETA.
It is the saddest & most bitter example in Europe of what when listing the dead of both Irish & Basque, British & Spanish state or group terrorism, I called "The Selective & Collective memory : Memory as fetishised community : Communality as fetishised memorial" ( c/f "The Absent" http://www.indymedia.ie/article/74873 )
The last murder committed by those who hide behind the letters ETA was last Friday. A retired former councillor of the Basque wing of the Spanish Labour party was shot in the nape of the neck with a 9mm pistol. It is said to be a painless & instantaneous way to die. Unfortuanately what is left of the face only increases the pain of the bereaved. The murder in no way contributed to the re-election of Zaptero's PSOE, or the record results of the Basque Labour party branch PSE. It has meant due to the lack of condemnation by the last proxy political party of the Basque armed tradition the ANV that the party has lost control of councils & municipal government throughout the Basque because no party of the radical left are prepared to sit in coalition anymore. It is repugnant, to sit or be thought to fellow travel with those who consider such a barbaric murder to serve any political aim. There is complete & utter abhorrence in every sector of the Basque & pro-Basque community at the supposed return to socialisation of suffering . The murder of Isaias Carrasco ought never have been added to list of legitimate targets which forever apparantly justify armed campaigns of either state or group nature. There is a gulf of moral relativism which finally begs the truth between the death of Carrero Blanco in 1973 & Isaias Carrasco in 2008.
Panicked by the realisation that they are now beyond the status of a starved cornered cur, the apologists for Basque "political" violence have only tonight expressed r-e-g-r-e-t . It has been months since the leadership who were internationally held in respect or esteem, who were offered political asylum or exile by sovreign states, aired their rejection of the current leadership of an organisation which offered opportunities to negotiate & dialogue in 2006 with its "so-called" permanent ceasefire.
Basques of all political hues & none were offered in sincerity & respect the assistance of others experienced at conflict resolution within Europe, from Ireland & far beyond. If "Wilson" deserves an obituary & wishes that He Rest in Peace - than it is simply because his claim to fame, his place in history illustrates in no other way the moral relativism of political assassination.
Democracy in the modern Spanish state may have begun with Carrero's car bomb -
Terrorism in the modern Spanish state must end with that 9mm exit wound in Carresco's face.