Friday, September 2, 2011

Three ETA suspects arrested in Venezuela

Three ETA suspects arrested in Venezuela

The three suspects have been identified as Elena Barcena, José Ignacio Etxarte Urbieta and Francisco Javier Pérez Lekue. They reportedly attempted to escape from Cuba to Venezuela by boat.

Authorities in Venezuela have arrested three veteran members of armed Basque group ETA. They are Elena Bárcena Argüelles, known as 'Neska', José Ignacio Etxarte and Javier Pérez Lekue, antiterrorist sources reported on Friday.

The three were arrested by Venezuelan authorities after the boat in which they were attempting to escape from Cuba ran aground in an area knownas Los Roques, antiterrorist sources reported.
Along with Barcena, Etxarte and Pérez Lekue, Venezuelan authorities also arrested an Haitian citizen who was helping them to escape.

Some months ago, Elena Bárcena and Javier Pérez Lekue wrote a harsh letter of complaint to the Cuban authorities for refusing to allow them to leave the island. After being refused permission by the authorities in Havana, the three decided to leave the country of their own accord.

The three suspects are currently being held by authorities charged with trying to enter the South American country illegally, sources have reported, adding that the area where the boat ran aground is popular with tourists.

Although Cuba was once an ideal destination for 'retired' top-ranking members of ETA, it would seem that for the three people arrested on Thursday, their stay in Cuba became intolerable.

On February 8th this year, they wrote a letter to the island's Government complaining about their treatment at the hands of the Cuban authorities. The letter in question was signed by Bárcenas and Pérez Lekue ('Niko'), who had been trying to leave the country for some time claiming that, for them, it had turned into "a prison" in which they did not want to spend "even one day more".

The pair described the government in Havana as "jailers" and accused them of failing to comply with the terms of a 1994 agreement in which Cuba agreed to grant ETA members permission to leave the island.

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