He Assassinated Her Husband. They're Friends Now

'Guardian' tells the story of a widow who agreed to meet with her husband's killer in Spain
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2023 4:55 PM CDT
Out of an Assassination, a Most Unusual Friendship
A man shows a banner in support of people killed by the dissolved basque armed group ETA in Pamplona, northern Spain, Friday, Dec. 28, 2018.   (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

In July 2000, Luis Carrasco stood lookout as a fellow member of his assassination squad executed a perceived enemy inside a crowded cafeteria in Spain. Carrasco and his two partners—the shooter and a getaway driver, though they alternated duties—belonged to the Basque separatist group ETA. The man they killed was Juan Mari Jauregui, who once served as civil governor in the province of Gipuzkoa and publicly denounced ETA's violent tactics (though he embraced his own Basque heritage). The story about all this by Giles Tremlett in the Guardian is not, however, focused on the since-disbanded ETA but on an unusual friendship that grew out of the 2000 assassination—one between Carrasco and Maixabel Lasa, widow of the man he killed.

While in prison, Carrasco came to question his own actions as a younger man and sought to make amends. In 2011, an intermediary set up a prison meeting between him and Lasa, who had begun running a victims' group. "Everything about me is bad," Carrasco told Lasa. "There is nothing good in me." She responded, "If that was true, neither of us would be here now." Lasa doesn't believe in forgiveness, exactly—she prefers the term "second chance." Carrasco is out of prison on parole now. Remarkably, Lasa introduced him—the man who took her husband away—to the woman who is now his girlfriend. "I realize people will be dumbfounded by this," she tells Tremlett, but she adds that her husband would approve. "Juan Mari would have liked seeing these people take responsibility for their past and wanting peace. They have a right to remake their lives after prison." Read the full story. (Or check out other longforms.)

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