Designations of Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) Members Miguel de Garikoitz Aspiazu Rubina and Jose Ignacio Reta de Frutos

Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
March 22, 2011

The Secretary of State has designated Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) members Miguel de Garikoitz Aspiazu Rubina, also known as Txeroki, and Jose Ignacio Reta de Frutos under Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism. As a result of the designation, all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction in which ETA members Aspiazu Rubina or Reta de Frutos have any interest is blocked and U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in any transactions with them. This action will help stem the flow of financial and other assistance to these ETA members.

Txeroki, an ETA military leader, is currently detained in France facing terrorism charges. A Spanish court has charged him with planning to stage attacks in Valencia to disrupt the 2007 America’s Cup yacht race and for the 2006 attack on the Barajas International Airport in Madrid. Reta de Frutos, a long time ETA member and explosives expert, failed to appear to begin serving an eight year sentence in Madrid. He is currently a fugitive from justice. Their engagement in ETA’s terrorist activities, including murder, bombing, raising funds and providing logistical support for a terrorist organization, constitute a threat to U.S. interests.

ETA, designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1997, is responsible for killing more than 800 civilians, police, and military personnel, while injuring thousands since it formally began its campaign of violence in 1968. ETA has primarily used bombing and assassinations, targeting Spanish government officials, security and military forces, politicians, businessmen, judicial figures, journalists, and tourists. Between 2007 and 2010, more than 400 ETA members have been arrested. Since 2008, Spanish and French authorities have apprehended six of ETA’s top leaders. These arrests have significantly reduced the group’s activities. Ambassador Daniel Benjamin, the Department of State’s Counterterrorism Coordinator stated, “Today’s designations of Txeroki and Reta de Frutos underscore the Department’s concern regarding ETA’s unrelenting role in promoting instability in Spain. We will continue to work closely with our Spanish allies in an effort to further degrade this group’s capabilities.”

PRN: 2011/439