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     Spanish TV personnel, indeed all Spaniards were sad and grim today. ETA, a gang of violent young men, had first declared a truce, then announced an end of it. Spain was relieved when two vans full of explosives were stopped on the way to Madrid before they could be blown up.
     Despite this, two stolen cars filled with explosives blew up in a Madrid residential area, killing an army officer and causing wide damage. The illusion of peace was destroyed. All non-Basque parties denounced the renewed terrorism and swore not to be intimidated. The Basque nationalist government was more cautious, condemning the violence and saying that it was breaking talks with the political arm of ETA, which had said it regretted the deaths but did not condemn the bombing. The Catalan parties, usually sympathetic to the Basques, joined the Spanish parties in condemning the crime.
     European governments sent messages of sympathy. Except for the Balkans and Corsica, Spain is the only European country where terrorist violence is now taking place. The continent was clearly afraid that it might spread.

Ronald Hilton - 1/21/00