The Basque Country is situated in North Central Spain. The map shows the towns and cities there with the main ones being San Sebastian, Bilbao and Victoria Gasteiz.

The Group

«A picture grabbed on Gara.net shows three ETA militants dressed in black shirts with white hoods over the heads and black berets making a declaration in an undisclosed location. Armed Basque separatist group ETA declared Thursday the «definitive» end to more than four decades of bombing and shooting for a homeland independent of Spain. Three ETA militants dressed in black shirts with white hoods over the heads and black berets made the declaration in a video on the Basque newspaper Gara’s website. Sitting at a table with the band’s emblem of the struggle — an axe with a snake curled around it — the masked activist in the centre of the trio delivered the potentially historic announcement.»

Sobre El Proyecto

About Me

 

My name is Adam Hickey and I am a final year student here in University College Cork studying Economics and Spanish as part of my Joint Honours BA degree. When choosing my modules, this module (Translating Business, Culture and Society in the Hispanic World) caught my eye initially because I hoped it would advance my skills in translation (which it did) and get a better understanding of the goings on in Hispanic Business, Culture, and Society either in the present day or past. This module has opened my mind to a whole new world of translation. I now know that translation is not just changing an article, text, book, interview etc. from one language to another. You have to consider many things; who you are translating for, for what purpose, you have to keep social and political contexts situations in mind and how your translation might affect others, find out if the text etc. is biased or not and many more things.

 

Motivation

 

Before choosing ETA, I considered translating texts in many other topics that were of interest to me – Los Toros, Franco, La situacion en Catalunya, Los Ultras Sur de Real Madrid y El festival de Las Fallas en Valencia. But I soon remembered that Spain, the Basque Country, and Ireland have endured similar tragic times as a result of nationalist, separatist or as some may say, terrorist groups – The IRA in Ireland and ETA en el Pais Vasco en Espana. Furthermore, I asked my classmates, housemates, and friends if they had ever heard of ETA to which I got a resounding ‘no’ followed by ‘what is that’. As you can imagine, my reaction was along the lines of ‘Oh Lord’. To be fair we were only born when times were at their toughest, but some of these people have been on Erasmus in Spain or are history Gurus, yet they still haven’t heard of ETA, its significance and the effect they had on Spain and the trauma caused Spanish people over a significant period of time. A sense of relief came over me when I asked my parents about the group and they started rattling off knowledge about them embedded in their brains.

 

 

While teaching in Spain last year, my interest deepened regarding this topic after being told stories from the people I worked with (who have endured these tough times at first hand) and the family I lived with. As well as that, the group would come up often enough in the news – about raids and arrests the police made etc, and the disarmament of the group that happened while I was there.

 

My Project

 

 

ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna) meaning Basque homeland and liberty in the Basque language, were a formerly armed left-winged Basque nationalist and separatist organization. They formed in 1959 and evolved from a minority group who promoted the Basque culture to a paramilitary group who engaged in a violent campaign of bombings, assassinations and kidnappings in the Basque country and throughout Spain. From the year 1968 to 2010 (when it announced ceasefire) they killed 820 people, injured thousands more and kidnapped dozens. Many countries and organizations classify them as a terrorist group like the UK, US, France, Spain and the European Union. There are c. 300 prisoners of the group in jails across Spain, France, and other countries. Their motto, which can be seen above, “Bietan Jarrai” means “keep up both” refers to the 2 figures in the group’s symbol. The snake represents politics and the axe symbolizes armed struggle. Even though they announced many ceasefires over the years, 2010 was the most formal and is still in place today. The group saw its disarmament only this year (the act of reducing, limiting, or abolishing weapons). In this day ETA has political figures in government like Arnaldo Otegi, the general secretary of the pro-independence group Sortu who spent 6 years in prison for being a leader of ETA and trying to rebuild the illegal Batasuna party which was taken away by the law many years ago.

They also had the support of Gerry Adams. Both the IRA and ETA had very similar views as regards pro-independence. They recognized each other and believed both could achieve what they really wanted. However, both used violence as well and killed many people and both have left a significant mark on the people of their countries.

 

 

My aim of this project was at first to generally inform university students and those oblivious about ETA and their significance in Spanish society. However, my mind changed after coming across this particular article from El Pais (see below), which captures the views of former members of ETA who have been to prison for many years for their actions and involvements with the group. I decided to put a brief background about the group in this project (see above) and if people are interested and want to delve deeper into more information, they can feel free to do some research or get in contact with me.

 

The difficulties began from the get-go. It took me weeks to find the right article even after the module lecturers Dr. Helena Buffery and Pedro Fernandez suggested and sent me material, I still wasn’t quite happy. Some texts I liked were already translated, some texts didn’t quite stand out to me or grab my interest, others were biased and quite controversial. I needed to find a text that genuinely interested me so I could put 100% effort into it. I came across the article on the 24th of October and got instant approval from Helena.

The first draft is all well and good; you translate words and verbs using your own knowledge and websites like spanishdict, wordreference and linguee. I even have the advantage of living with a Spaniard but I couldn’t count on him to help me all the time as he has a course of his own to do. A translation is not just understanding a word in a sentence. As Christine Nord says, we have to consider pragmatic, inter-lingual, inter-cultural and text-specific problems. This is where a whole new level of difficulty comes into play. I had to work out the deeper meaning behind the direct translation, restructure sentences so the word order is correct while still making sense and the flow was natural and proper. The use of the reflexive ‘se’ also caused some hassle for me. As I was translating incorrectly to what the article or person was saying in the original language. I did ask my roommate to take a look, and he highlighted that one difficulty for non-native Spanish people is getting used to and translating the reflexive and how it can change the entire meaning of a phrase or sentence. Grasping the feelings behind the words of these people was also quite hard but it refers back to the problems specified by Nord mentioned above.

 

Furthermore, Spanish verbs, in general, can have many different meanings and finding out the right one took time but when you realize what is being said the feeling of achievement is quite satisfactory.

El Proyecto

ETA’s Lost War

After 20 years of condemnation, a group of prisoners return to a changed, pluralistic and foreign Basque Country.

 

Next to a frayed flag calling for the reallocation of ETA prisoners to Basque country’s prisons, three consecutive doors explain the new Basque reality in Tolosa. La Jara, an Extremaduran cultural center, and a Mosque share the first door. In the next sits the Evangelic House of God Centre, managed by a rapper looking pastor – and then the Chinese Haozailai Bazaar which remains open all day. Only at the end of the street, you can find an authentic Basque hairdresser and a fruit store where Tolosa beans are on show along with Palos strawberries.

 

ETA announced its disarmament for the 8th of April on Friday, marking an end date for its penultimate chapter. Many of its prisoners, are now regaining freedom after having served an average of 20 years in jail for blood crimes – six years ago there were around 600 members of ETA in Spanish prisons and now there is no more than 280 – not only do you come across a society dressed in uniform – furniture from Ikea, clothes from Zara, but also away from their old demands. Some of them like Josu Amantes, Fernando Etxegarai, and Oihana Garmendia, don’t feel ‘either defeated or frustrated’, but according to Maritxy Jimenez, a psychologist who served ETA for 17 years at first hand, explains that others have a sensation ‘of having lost the war and they live with it under a lot of pressure.” They return to a world where, all of sudden, they don’t mean anything.

 

In 2003, sitting at the pediment of Zubieta, a small locality on the outskirts of San Sebastian, Arnaldo Otegi, who then was the leader of the Batasuna Party[1], declared to  ‘la pelota vasca’ (a political documentary by Julio Madem): “I have a Cuban Friend who always says that we are the last indigenous people of Europe. The day that people from Lekeitio or Zubieta eat in a hamburger restaurant, American rock music is heard, everyone wears American clothes, stop speaking their language to speak English, and instead of being contemplating going to the mountains, everyone is using the Internet; well for us that will be such a dull world, so dull that it won’t be worth living.”

 

Only 14 years after, just step outside the pediment of Zubieta – now surrounded by newly built town-houses-, follow the N1 for 20 kilometers and enter Tolosa to discover that, in the first building after the petrol station, lives this ‘so dull’ world which Otegi was afraid of. The end of ETA’s terrorism has favored the coexistence to the point of building a postcard of tolerance – a mosque next to a Chinese shop and a place of evangelical worship – impossible in the ultra-national landscape that the military intended to impose. In 1995, 45.3% of Basque people cited “terrorism and violence” as one of the main problems there, while in 2016, the percentage had lowered to 0.7%. After announcing the military will surrender at the beginning of April, how many Basque people will remember terrorism in the next CIS (Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas) study.

 

 

«When a very strong civil conflict ends,» explains Imanol Zubero, professor of sociology at the University of the Basque Country (UPV), «There are two groups who suffer the oblivion, the astonishing speed with which society can forget about the past. One is that of the victims, who ask themselves how those years of suffering can be forgotten; the other is for those who have considered themselves as heroes because they have gone as far as killing and being in prison for many years for the land of the Basque country. Some and others realize that society has already forgotten them.” Zubero, who for many years had a bodyguard and still went to prisons to examine ETA prisoners enrolled in university, has observed how in recent times, and in a very accelerated way, the community is being broken over the years and nobody is responsible.”

Spotlight

 

Historically, ETA took care of the militants who were kept under their discipline and put them in the spotlight – including killing, like in the case of Yoyes[2] – those who decided to embark on their own way. “This homogeneity”, explains Imanol Zubero, “has been breaking. There have been male and female prisoners who are opting for, with the support of Bildu[3], individual ways to take advantage of the opportunities of legislation and leave prison as soon as they can. And, also from outside, the families of those who welcome individual ways don’t want to have anything to do with prisoner groups. There has been a very clear breach, which is seen in support demonstrations for prisoners. You see that all of a sudden a person is missing that used to go and right away you find out that the son or daughter of that person have gone to or have been released from a Basque prison. It’s a thing that used to be done through the back door, but now is being done with the support of Bildu and this is generating a lot of conflict between the left-winged Abertzale”[4]. ATA has emerged from there, a minority group for now who accuse current political leaders – including Otegi – of being traitors for having given up on the prisoners and armed fight.

 

The feeling of the end of time, of every man for himself, is also observed inside the prisons. This has been greatly confirmed by an expert in the fight against antiterrorism – who asks not to be named – like José Luis de Castro, the judge of the Prison Supervision Court. “For some time now”, warned the expert, an idea exists between them that everything is over. For the past two years, orphans have been left behind to manage. Unlike in the previous era when they secretly received very precise instructions from the lawyers of the group – when there is a hunger strike, when there is a protest without leaving from the cells, now the debate is open. It was even published in the Gara[5] newspaper last December. And what lies behind the debate, which the lawyer Iñigo Iruin devised, is to link the group to Sortu[6] instead of, as always, to ETA. Like this, they would become independent prisoners as opposed to ETA prisoners.”

The change of surname could provide them with penitentiary benefits and even being relocated to a prison located in the Basque country. The Prison Supervision judge has observed for a year and a half “the increase in the number of ETA prisoners worried about updating their records, of having it ready for the next steps they can be given.”

The expert in the fight against terrorism who asked not to be named added, in any case, it isn’t foreseeable that for prisoners who are about to serve a sentence, opt for a more moderate path. “Those who have a few months left aren’t going to regret anything because their outlook is: ‘I’ve endured 20 years here, mostly in solitary confinement, and I go out with my head held high’, why is (in quotes) ‘terrorist dignity’ important for them. I want everyone to know that 20 years in prison failed to break me.”

 

A very changed Society

 

This attitude can be found in the following 3 ex-prisoners who have agreed to tell their situation after spending half of their lives in prison. Josu Amantes was detained in Brittany in 1992 and has spent 22 years in French and Spanish prisons after being convicted of explosive attacks committed in 1983 against the HQ of the Biscay bank killing 3 people. Amantes was seriously injured during a bombing of the GAL in a bar in Bayonne. Similar to like, Fernando Etxegarai, who was in prison for 21 years from 1987 to 2008 for carrying out 9 attacks without any fatal victims- and for Ohiana Garmendia- from 2009 to 2015 in French prisons for her membership as a recruiter for ETA- is neither considered defeated nor believes that the ultimate objective  –“a socialist and independent Basque Country”-is unachievable. “Yes it is true”, admitted Amantes, “that when I came out I found a very changed society. You find a youth that is a little demobilized. But of course, that also needs to be put into context. Our time was boiling, they were the times of action, reaction, action; It was all booming. But when I came out I found objectives and a very lively debate that remained the same as when I left but pursued with other tools.

However Etxegarai admitted in the same line “as the political situation is now, people won’t vote for independence in a hypothetical referendum, the important thing is letting people vote, either we win or we lose.” Whether or not it has been worth so much death and prison, no one takes a step backward, while choosing their words carefully because depending on what they say, Justice can incriminate them. Fernando Etxegarai says “ the methods were what they were, but at least I tried. I believed and believe in some objectives, and despite how tremendous it was to make the decision, at least I have the peace of mind to say I tried.” Oihana Garmendia added: “We will ask ourselves that type of question for the rest of our lives. But when you make a decision you make it with full awareness, despite the possibilities being quite grey: prison, death or disappearance.” Maritxu Jimenez, the psychologist, the third to warn: “I don’t remember anyone asking whether or not it was worth it. If at some point we mentally break, it won’t be in this way. We break because we think when we get out of prison the worst part is going to be over but we do not take into account the difficulty of adapting. ”

 

Fernando Etxegarai, who is part of the management of Harrera (welcomed in the Basque Country), an association that helps prisoners take their first steps out of prison- from an ID card to medical care- explains that, after so many years in prison, there are prisoners that are heading towards poverty: “There have been cases of other processes in which it is possible to provoke a crime precisely because of the marginality in which these people remain.”

 

Maritxu Jimenez says that some of ETA prisoners, when they go out on the street, “they do not get emotional or feel emotion, they do not identify them because they have them stored away so they do not hurt them; many have a debt to the dear people and suddenly feel nothing towards these people.” After a life of escaping, committing attacks or in prison, loneliness becomes your best friend. Josu Amantes says “When I went out on the street, since I had no walls stopping me, I walked and walked, kilometers, at a fast pace, like a madman. I needed to release the poison that was inside me.”

[1] “Batasuna (English: Unity) was a Basque nationalist political party based mainly in Spain that was banned in 2003, after a strongly contested court ruling declared proven that the party was financing ETA with public money.”

 

[2] “María Dolores Gonzalez Katarain, also known as Yoyes, was an iconic woman leader of Basque separatist group ETA who became a symbol because of the tragic circumstances of her life.

Yoyes was the first woman to enter the senior ETA leadership, but she decided to leave the organization to start a new life. Her former comrades regarded her as a traitor and she was killed by ETA in 1986 in her hometown of Ordizia, during a local festival, in front of her three-year-old son”

 

[3] “a leftist, Basque nationalist and pro-independence political coalition active in the Spanish autonomous communities of Basque Country and Navarra.”

 

[4] “a term used to refer to the parties or organizations of the Basque nationalist/separatist left, stretching from social democracy to communism.”

 

[5] “Gara is a bilingual newspaper published in the city of Donostia-San Sebastián in the Basque Autonomous Community.”

 

[6] Basque socialist political party founded in February 2011

References

http://www.spanishdict.com

http://www.wordreference.com/es/translation.asp

https://www.linguee.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abertzale_left

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batasuna

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gara

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sortu

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mar%C3%ADa_Dolores_Katarain

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EH_Bildu

 

 

La guerra perdida de ETA

Junto a una bandera deshilachada que pide el acercamiento a Euskadi de los presos de ETA, tres portales consecutivos explican en Tolosa la nueva realidad vasca. En el primero conviven el centro cultural extremeño La Jara y la mezquita de la asociación islámica Litaarafu, en el siguiente se aloja el centro evangélico Casa de Dios —gestionado por un joven pastor con aires de rapero— y, a continuación, permanece abierto todo el día el bazar chino Haozailai. Solo al final de la calle se puede encontrar una peluquería auténticamente vasca y una frutería donde se exhiben alubias de Tolosa junto a fresones de Palos.

ETA anunció el viernes su desarme para el 8 de abril, poniendo fecha para su penúltimo capítulo. Muchos de sus presos, que ahora están recobrando la libertad después de haber cumplido una media de 20 años de prisión por delitos de sangre —hace seis años había unos 600 etarras en las cárceles españolas y ahora no llegan a los 280— no solo se topan con una sociedad vestida de uniforme —muebles de Ikea, ropa de Zara— sino también muy alejada de sus viejas reivindicaciones. Algunos de ellos, como Fernando Etxegarai, Josu Amantes y Oihana Garmendia, no se sienten “ni derrotados ni frustrados”, pero otros —según explica Maritxu Jiménez, una psicóloga que atiende a expresos de ETA desde hace 17 años— tienen la sensación “de haber perdido la guerra y lo viven con mucho peso”. Regresan a un mundo para el que, de repente, ya no significan nada.

En 2003, sentado en el frontón de Zubieta, una pequeña localidad a las afueras de San Sebastián, Arnaldo Otegi, por entonces líder de Batasuna, declaraba para el documental La pelota vasca: “Tengo un amigo cubano que siempre dice que nosotros somos los últimos indígenas de Europa. El día que en Lekeitio o en Zubieta se coma en hamburgueserías, se escuche música rock americana, todo el mundo vista ropa americana, deje de hablar su lengua para hablar inglés, y en vez de estar contemplando los montes, todo el mundo esté funcionando por Internet; pues para nosotros ese será un mundo tan aburrido tan aburrido que no merecerá la pena vivir”.

Solo 14 años después, basta salir del frontón de Zubieta —ahora rodeado por adosados de nueva construcción—, seguir la N-I durante 20 kilómetros y entrar en Tolosa para descubrir que, en el primer edificio después de la gasolinera, habita ese mundo “tan aburrido tan aburrido” que temía Otegi. El fin del terrorismo de ETA ha favorecido la convivencia hasta construir una postal de tolerancia —una mezquita junto a una tienda china y un lugar de culto evangélico— imposible en el paisaje ultranacionalista que las armas pretendían imponer. En 1995, el 45,3% de los vascos citaba “el terrorismo y la violencia” como uno de los principales problemas de Euskadi, mientras que en 2016, el porcentaje había bajado hasta el 0,7%. Después de anunciar que a principios de abril entregará las armas, ¿cuántos vascos se acordarán del terrorismo en el próximo estudio del CIS?

“Cuando se acaba un conflicto civil muy fuerte”, explica Imanol Zubero, profesor de Sociología en la Universidad del País Vasco (UPV), “hay dos colectivos que sufren de manera muy especial el olvido, la velocidad pasmosa con que la sociedad es capaz de amortizar el pasado. Uno es el de las víctimas, que se preguntan cómo pueden caer en el vacío tantos años de sufrimiento, y otro es el de los que se han considerado a sí mismos héroes porque han llegado a matar y a estar muchos años en la cárcel por su sueño de Euskal Herria. Unos y otros se dan cuenta de que la sociedad ya los ha olvidado”. Zubero, que durante años tuvo que vivir con escolta y aun así acudía a las cárceles a examinar a los presos etarras matriculados en la UPV, ha observado cómo en los últimos tiempos, y de manera muy acelerada, se ha ido rompiendo aquella “comunidad de sufrimiento que existía en la izquierda abertzale alrededor de los presos y que era muy sólida”.

Punto de mira

Históricamente, ETA cuidaba a los militantes que se mantenían bajo su disciplina y ponía en el punto de mira —incluso matándolos, como en el caso de Yoyes— a los que decidían emprender por su cuenta el camino de regreso. “Esa homogeneidad”, explica Imanol Zubero, “se ha ido rompiendo. Ha habido presos y presas que están optando, con el apoyo explícito de Bildu, por vías individuales para aprovechar las oportunidades de la legislación y salir cuanto antes de la cárcel. Y, también desde fuera, los familiares de quienes se han ido acogiendo a vías individuales se han separado del colectivo de presos. Se ha producido una ruptura muy clara, que se ve en las concentraciones de apoyo a los presos. Ves que de pronto falta una persona que solía ir y enseguida te enteras de que al hijo o a la hija de esa persona la han acercado a una cárcel de Euskadi o ha sido puesta en libertad. Es una cosa que antes se hacía por la puerta de atrás, pero ahora se está haciendo con el apoyo de Bildu y eso está generando mucho conflicto entre la izquierda abertzale”. De ahí ha surgido ATA, un grupo por ahora minoritario que acusa a los actuales dirigentes políticos —incluido Otegi— de traidores por haber abandonado a los presos y la lucha armada.

La sensación de final de época, de sálvese quien pueda, se observa también en el interior de las prisiones. Así lo han constatado tanto un experto en la lucha antiterrorista —que pide el anonimato— como José Luis de Castro, el juez de Vigilancia Penitenciaria de la Audiencia Nacional. “Ya hace tiempo”, advierte el experto, “que entre ellos existe la idea de que todo se ha acabado. Desde hace dos años se han quedado huérfanos de dirección. A diferencia de toda la época anterior en que recibían en secreto instrucciones muy precisas de los abogados de la banda —cuándo hacer huelga de hambre, cuándo protestar sin salir de las celdas—, ahora el debate es abierto. Lo publicó incluso el diario Gara el pasado diciembre. Y lo que subyace en ese debate, que ideó el abogado Iñigo Iruin, es el de vincular el colectivo a Sortu en vez de, como hasta ahora, a ETA. Así pasarían a ser presos independentistas en vez de presos etarras”.

El cambio de apellido podría facilitarles beneficios penitenciarios e incluso el acercamiento a cárceles vascas. El juez de Vigilancia Penitenciaria ha observado desde hace año y medio “un aumento del número de presos de ETA preocupados por poner al día su expediente, de tenerlo listo para los próximos pasos que puedan darse”.

El experto en la lucha antiterrorista que pide el anonimato añade que, en cualquier caso, no es previsible que los presos que están a punto de cumplir su condena opten por una vía moderada: “Al que le quedan unos meses por salir no se va a arrepentir de nada porque su planteamiento es: ‘Yo he aguantado aquí 20 años, la mayoría en primer grado [régimen de aislamiento], y salgo con la cabeza alta’, porque para ellos es muy importante la, digámoslo entre comillas, “dignidad terrorista”, el que todo el mundo sepa que 20 años de cárcel no consiguieron doblegarlo”.

Una sociedad muy cambiada

Es una actitud que se percibe en los tres expresos de ETA que han accedido a contar su situación tras pasar media vida en la cárcel. Josu Amantes fue detenido en Bretaña en 1992 y ha pasado 22 años en prisiones de Francia y España tras ser condenado por un atentado con explosivos cometido en 1983 contra la sede del Banco de Vizcaya en el que murieron tres personas. Amantes fue herido de gravedad durante un atentado de los GAL en un bar de Bayona. Al igual que Fernando Etxegarai, que estuvo en prisión 21 años —de 1987 a 2008 por perpetrar nueve atentados sin víctimas mortales—, y que Ohiana Garmendia —del 2009 al 2015 en cárceles francesas por su pertenencia al aparato de captación de ETA— ni se considera derrotado ni cree que el objetivo último —“un País Vasco socialista e independiente”— sea inalcanzable. “Sí es verdad”, admite Amantes, “que cuando salí me encontré una sociedad muy cambiada. Te encuentras una juventud que está un poco desmovilizada, pero claro, eso también hay que contextualizarlo. Nuestra época era de ebullición, eran los tiempos de acción, reacción, acción; estaba todo en pleno auge. Pero al salir me he encontrado con un debate muy vivo y con unos objetivos que siguen siendo los mismos que cuando yo me marché, aunque perseguidos con otras herramientas”.

Aunque en la misma línea, Etxegarai admite: “Tal como está la situación política, la gente no votaría por la independencia en un hipotético referéndum, pero lo importante es dar la oportunidad a la población se gane o se pierda”. Sobre si ha valido la pena tanta muerte y tanta cárcel, ninguno da un paso atrás, si bien se cuidan expresamente de que sus palabras puedan ser utilizadas para incriminarles. Dice Fernando Etxegarai: “Los métodos fueron los que fueron, pero al menos yo lo intenté. Creía y creo en unos objetivos, y a pesar de que para mí fue tremendo tomar la decisión, al menos tengo la tranquilidad de decir que lo intenté”. Oihana Garmendia apostilla: “Ese tipo de preguntas nos las hacemos durante toda la vida. Pero cuando tomas una decisión lo haces con plena conciencia, a pesar de que el abanico es bastante gris: la cárcel, la muerte o la desaparición”. Maritxu Jiménez, la psicóloga, tercia para advertir: “No recuerdo a nadie que se haya hecho la pregunta de si ha merecido la pena. Si en un momento se rompen, no es por ahí. Se rompen por expectativas ocultas. Piensan que una vez que salgan ya se ha acabado lo peor y no cuentan con la dificultad de la adaptación”.

Fernando Etxegarai, que forma parte de la dirección de Harrera (recibimiento en euskera), una asociación que ayuda a los presos a dar sus primeros pasos fuera de prisión —desde el carnet de identidad a la atención médica—, explica que, después tantos años en prisión, hay presos que están abocados a la indigencia: “Ha habido casos de otros procesos en los que se puede provocar una delincuencia precisamente por la marginalidad en que quedan esas personas”.

Maritxu Jiménez dice que algunos de los presos de ETA, cuando salen a la calle, “no consiguen ni siquiera sentir, no identifican las emociones porque las tienen guardadas para que no les haga daño; muchos tienen una deuda con las personas queridas y de repente no sienten nada hacia esas personas”. Después de una vida huyendo, cometiendo atentados o en la cárcel, la soledad se convierte en su mejor compañera. Dice Josu Amantes: “Cuando salí a la calle, como no tenía muros que me lo impidiesen, me ponía a andar y andar, kilómetros a paso ligero, como un loco. Necesitaba soltar el veneno que llevaba dentro”.