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Last Updated: 03/18/2004Terrorist Splinters
The Death of Somoza by Claribel Alegria and Darwin Flakol though published some time ago, 1996, is well worth a read not only because of its intrinsic interest, but also because of the lessons that can be taken from it in understanding the nature of international terror, and particularly interesting as providing an insight into what happens when freebooters find scope for bloody initiatives.
Above Enrique Haroldo Gorriaran Merlo, international terrorist and assassin, is flanked by his captors.
Claribel Alegria and Darwin Flakol, The Death of Somoza, Curbstone Press, Connecticut, USA, pp 160, paperback. ISBN 1-880684-26-8
An elderly, irascible old lady of my acquaintance once said scornfully in relation to the crime on the streets of London: “I prefer organized crime to disorganized crime.” The same might be said in relation to international terrorism: the variety of terrorist organizations has made security provision as uncertain as the terrorist outbreaks themselves.
In this respect, a short book The Death of Somoza by Claribel Alegria and Darwin Flakol comes to mind. Though published some time ago, 1996, it is clearly and vividly written and bears reading not only because of its intrinsic interest, but also because of the lessons that can be taken from it in understanding the nature of international terror, and particularly interesting as providing an insight into what happens when freebooters find scope for bloody initiatives. As the title suggests, the book recounts a special Latin-American experience, but it is possible to make from it a list that indicates that once a terrorist movement splinters it becomes not only almost impossible to snuff out its every part, but that that almost the only answer lies in containment until the conditions that created the international spurt of terrorism change sufficiently for the terrorist movements, the accumulated experience and material, and individuals to pass into history: this may take at least one generation, maybe two.
The plot to assassinate the former President of Nicaragua, a corrupt and cruel ruler of Nicaragua in 1979-80, was conceived and masterminded in a bar in Managua and finally executed by an Argentinian of Basque descent, Enrique Haroldo Gorriaran Merlo.
The story, recounted by the participants in the assassination including Merlo, underscores a number of important features of international terrorism.
In applying these observations to the current main thrust of international terrorism, led by Islamists and their sympathizers, one is tempted to predict that it will be a long time before terrorist acts, such as took place recently in Spain, will subside. Iraq and Palestine now provides the training grounds for new generations of terrorists as did the Latin-American countries in the 60s, 70s and 80s. While some of the individuals remain, whole generation of terrorists have sunk into history despite the continuation of such unrepentant individuals as Merlo. He was imprisoned eventually but escaped, was picked up again in Mexico and sentenced again in Buenos Aires. He was released from prison with a pardon from outgoing President Duhalde only recently. We may yet hear from him again, but whether we do or not we will go on hearing from the many freebooting and splinter terrorist movements claiming to be for Islam and against US led Globalization. Only history will change this: in the meantime let’s hope we do not lose too many lives or liberties in the international containment of violent splinters.
De los Setenta a La Tablada. Memorias de Enrique Gorriarán Merlo
Enrique Haroldo Gorriarán fue condenado a reclusión perpetua, ingresó en la cárcel de Devoto, y puesto en libertad tras recibir el indulto. Este libro es el resultado del repaso con amigos y colaboradores a la memoria imprescindible para reconstruir su historia, la del accionar político de uno de los más importantes líderes guerrilleros del continente.