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The End of ETA (2007-2011): Narratives from the Media and from the Actors
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The Basque separatist armed organization ETA laid down arms in 2011 after forty years of armed campaign for independence. It was not a consequence of political negotiations. The Basque group did not achieve its goals. Yet, it unilaterally decided to end its armed activity forever. This research analyzes why and how ETA ended its armed campaign. It clarifies the events from the collapse of the last peace process in June 2007 to the announcement of the definitive end of ETA's campaign in October 2011. It analyzes the evolution of ETA and the Basque conflict from the end of the 1970s and identifies the casual factors that led the Basque group toward its end. Thirty-eight in-depth interviews with actors directly related to those events and public and non-public documents produced by agencies involved in the process have been the main sources, as well as the accounts provided by the media at the time. The vast bibliography on Basque conflict and literature on the end of terrorist groups have been the main references for the analytical section of the research. This dissertation contends that ETA laid down arms because its constituency withdrew its support. The leadership and social base of the political movement to which ETA belongs concluded that armed strategy was not effective anymore and, furthermore, was damaging for the Basque pro-independence movement. After an internal struggle, in which the faction advocating for exclusively political means prevailed, ETA was driven toward a unilateral abandonment of armed struggle.