The Challenge: ETA (2020)

The story of how the Guardia Civil, a militarized police force, fought for nearly half a century against ETA, a ruthless terrorist gang dedicated to murder, kidnapping, extortion and arms and drug smuggling while cynically demanding independence for the Basque Country in northern Spain.

Last episode

Only the Pain Remains
Oct 29, 2020


Oct 29, 2020

1. Darkness and Silence

Terrorist gang ETA is born in the Basque Country, in northern Spain, during General Franco's dictatorship (1939-75), as a movement that is supposedly fighting for freedom. All begins in 1968 with the first murder, that of traffic officer José Pardines Arcay, a guardia civil who pulls over a couple of terrorists while they were going to collect explosives. Soon there will be more crimes, until reaching the assassination of Luis Carrero Blanco, the president of Franco's government. Franco dies and democracy is established, but ETA will continue to kill.

Oct 29, 2020

2. The Escalation of ETA

With Franco's death, many political prisoners are released; some are true victims of the dictatorship, others are mere murderers, like the Etarras, who will go out and walk a path of death; like Jesus María Zabarte, the Butcher of Mondragón, one of the most bloodthirsty. ETA starts an open war against the State, with the assassination of businessmen, politicians and military, while bringing terror to the heart of the civilian population.

Oct 29, 2020

3. Fire and Lead

The escalation of ETA reaches an unusual level: car bombs that kill dozens of people, especially guardias civiles. Their aim is to force the government to recognize the independence of the Basque Country. And to do so, it will eliminate anyone who stands in its way, including its dissident members. But the State is reacting with operations that put ETA on the ropes, one of them with the help of the CIA.

Oct 29, 2020

4. Path to Negotiation

The State agrees to negotiate with ETA, although its leaders have no intention of giving in to anything and continue to put dead people on the table. Especially in view of the year '92, the great showcase of Spain with the Universal Exposition of Seville and the Olympic Games of Barcelona. At that critical moment there will be a great victory for the State and the Guardia Civil with the dismantling of ETA's leadership.

Oct 29, 2020

5. Total War

The new ETA leadership is even more bloodthirsty than the previous one. One of its main decisions is the attempted assassination of José María Aznar, the right-wing candidate for the presidency of the government. Kidnappings and murders of politicians, public figures and guardias civiles follow. During this period a young Basque councilman, Miguel Ángel Blanco, from Ermua, Biscay, unknown until then, is kidnapped, which triggers the end of ETA.

Oct 29, 2020

6. The Beginning of the End

The assassination of Miguel Ángel Blanco will raise society against ETA. The State is fighting back by outlawing its political arm and getting the sentences upheld by the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The ideologue of the last actions of ETA, Kantauri, falls thanks to the Guardia Civil in the most important coup since the dismantling of the gang's leadership.

Oct 29, 2020

7. Check ETA

ETA is back on the ropes, but it is a dangerous injured animal that will try to blow up the financial center of Madrid. However, a terrorist action, which has nothing to do with the gang, seals its fate: the bloodiest attack in the history of Europe. On March 11, 2004, 193 people die in a series of jihadist actions that shook Madrid and shocked the world.

Oct 29, 2020

8. Only the Pain Remains

ETA is finished. Even so, it is trying to resume its pressure on the State, which is once again negotiating with its representatives. But the die is cast. The leader of the gang, Txeroki, falls while the latest murders are committed in Spain and France. Finally, on September 5, 2010, ETA broadcasts a statement through the British BBC announcing the cessation of violence. The struggle is over. The rest is silence...