On 7th March 2008, after her night shift in a factory, Marian Romero said goodbye to her husband Isaías Carrasco, who was getting ready to leave to go to work in a motorway toll booth. After a while, Marian and her eldest daughter heard some noises and when they ran down into the street, they came across Isaías getting out of his car, badly hurt.  Isaías Carrasco had been shot and killed by ETA. Romero became a widow with three dependent children aged 20, 14 and 4. The youngest of them, Adei, witnessed the scenes of his wounded father from the window of their home.


Name: María Ángeles Romero

Age: 44 (1967)

Profession: Factory worker

Family status: Widow. Three children.

Place of origin: Born in Quintana de la Serena (Badajoz), resident of Mondragón (Gipuzkoa) since de age of five.

GROUP: Relatives of victims.


- On 7th March 2008, after her night shift in a factory, Marian Romero said goodbye to her husband Isaías Carrasco, who was getting ready to leave to go to work in a motorway toll booth.  Isaías Carrasco had previously served on the Town Council of Mondragón for one legislature for the Socialist Party of the Basque Country – Basque Country Left (PSE-EE).

- After a while, Marian and her eldest daughter heard some noises and when they ran down into the street, they came across Isaías getting out of his car, badly hurt.  Isaías Carrasco had been shot and killed by ETA.

- Marian Romero became a widow with three dependent children aged 20, 14 and 4. The youngest of them, Adei, witnessed the scenes of his wounded father from the window of their home.


“We were a normal family. Just like any other family, with our problems, joys and sorrows….An average family. Isaías worked as a motorway toll booth operator.  Sometimes he even did extra work to help out more at home.  I had a temporary job.”

“When I was pregnant, Isaías told me that he might become a councillor after the next municipal elections because he was on the PSE-EE list.  I didn’t like it at all because I knew that this was going to change our lives. But he had held on to this hope for years and in the end we respected it. Isaías was in the end elected councillor and received police protection around 15 days before he started at the Town Council of Mondragón. Then our life changed quite a bit.  We were conditioned to having two people behind us all the time and we lost our family privacy. ”

“Isaías hadn’t had a very normal life from the moment he got bodyguards.  When our daughters Sandra and Ainara were born he had spent a lot of time with them. By contrast, he didn’t take Adei out much, out of love I think and for fear that something might happen to him when he was with him. That’s why he didn’t play outside with him much. On top of that, when any one of us went out with Isaías we attracted a lot of attention because of the bodyguards; there were seven of us then.  So he preferred to spend more time at home than going out with us. There were also friends who didn’t want to go out with Isaías because of the bodyguards.  With some there was no problem at all but there were others that left him out a bit because they objected to the bodyguards.”

“Adei was growing up and Isaías wanted the situation to return to normal. When he’d finished his term as councillor, he gave up the bodyguards and started going out to play with his son and things went back to normal a bit. They went out to play football, they went outside in the street…Isaías started to act more like the father had been with Sandra and Ainara.  It took him a lot to get close to his youngest kid. Adei remembers his father and sometimes says that he used to let him win the football or hide the TV remote control so he didn’t switch the cartoons off.”

“Before the attack there were no signs that Isaías was under threat or being watched.  I just remember that we once received a letter in the letter box at home that said something like we know where you are. We didn’t think this piece of paper was important.  But, unless he did receive a threat and didn’t tell me so I wouldn’t worry, there was nothing. ”

“When they killed my husband, our children were aged 20, 14 and 4. Perhaps the situation shocked my middle child a bit more because she was right in the middle of adolescence.  Isaías had got rid of the bodyguards because he wanted a bit more of a normal life, above all to be with his youngest kid, Adei.”

“I still often ask myself today why him, if he never did anything wrong to anybody, was a very good person, never picked on anyone, and didn’t talk politics… Why him? I don’t understand why they chose him and what criteria they used for singling him out. He wasn’t someone who stood out for his political work, or someone who was in the media…. He hadn’t done anything.”

“The attack happened on 7th March. I remember that day every day. The clothes I was wearing, what I did… everything.  I’d been working at night. I got home from work at 7 in the morning and he was asleep. I made time, I took the kid to school and I went to work in a house where I used to clean. When I returned home it was a very nice day. I gazed through the window and thought about the people there who were hanging out their washing.  When I arrived Sandra, Isaías and Adei were all at home. Isaías told me that he was going to do an errand for Sandra and that he wanted his trousers ironed for work.  Sandra asked him laughingly why he should have his trousers ironed if no-one was going to see them and we laughed.  I told him to get a sandwich and the trousers and go to work, which is what he always did, because I had to go to bed. He was pigheaded and did the opposite.  He left and when he returned home, Sandra had given him the wrong instructions for the errand and they started laughing.  I still hadn’t had any sleep after work and I said to him “Are you going or what? I’ve got to go to bed and sleep so I can go to work tonight! And he left.”

“I remained in the room with my daughter Sandra. We heard a noise and my daughter said it was gunshots. I told her it couldn’t be. I don’t know why but something told me that I had to go down outside and I ran out of the house.  I kept saying to myself on the way down the stairs please, let me open the door and see Isaías going to work in the car. On the way I heard another noise. I opened the door to go out in the street and I saw Isaías fall down. There were cars in the street but I didn’t have to look, I went straight over to him. He was lying down with his eyes open.  He kept looking at me and wanted to say something but he couldn’t speak.  After so many years together both of us knew it was his time to say farewell.  He was covered in blood. ”

“I held his head in my hands and he had an expression on this face that told me he going to die, that he was dying. I saw that he had a bullet wound in his neck. I lifted up his jumper and saw two more bullet wounds. I looked and saw the pain on Isaías’s face. He tried to say something to me, but I knew he was going. He kept bleeding and I tried to cover the wounds.  Sandra came over, hugged him and told him to please hold on because the ambulance would soon be there. She started shouting for help, took off her jacket and covered him because no-one gave us a blanket. One of the neighbours said something to me that I should calm down because the ambulance was on its way.  The only thing I remember is people and me shouting. The ambulance was never going to come. I remember Isaías’s face most, his eyes and my hands covered in blood.  After months and years the images still come back to my mind and there are places where I can’t go because I remember the attack.”

“I have the consolation that he did not die alone.  I whispered something in his ear that only he and I know. Then they took him away in an ambulance and since they wouldn’t let me go with him, I remember that I left. There were a lot of people on the way but no-one came near me. I went to my brother’s and he told me that he would take me, that I should go home. I don’t know how I got back upstairs to home. I went to wash my face and all of my face and hands were covered in blood.  I don’t remember how I got to the hospital or anything.  I have these lapses.  The next thing I remember is the doctor coming in. He told me to be calm because he was still alive, that they were reviving him, but I had the feeling that he was no longer alive. After a while he came back and I knew that he was going to tell me that he was dead, that he`d fought for his life but his wounds were fatal. Then the doctor asked me if I wanted to see him and I said yes. When I went out there were lots of people and lots of cameras.”

“When we said goodbye he was lying on a table and he didn’t have the expression of suffering on his face that I had seen, full of pain and blood. He was now calm, just like he’d rested. I stayed a while with him to say goodbye and I saw that same old smile of his and it looked like he’d found peace.  I thought that once Isaías had stopped suffering, I was going to be alright.  What I didn’t know was all that was to come after.”

“It was like he’d gone away on a journey. I thought that when he came back I would have lots of things to tell him, but it turns out that he never came back again. There were days when I thought he would come back, but the truth is he didn’t.  Now I know that he would be very proud of his kids.  Proud of Sandra for her strength. ”

“I’ve learnt through this that perhaps I haven’t appreciated all the things we have in life. I value things much more now. But I don’t know what the death of Isaías and that of other people have brought.”

“It’s difficult being a father and a mother. There’s a huge emptiness.  Bringing up your kids, when one is in the middle of adolescence and another is four and on top of that witnessed the attack.  You return to work and there are people who welcome you back but there are others that don’t, and it seems that on top of that you’ve done something wrong. You ask yourself what you’ve done, why they’ve changed their attitude and you don’t know why.  I’d never had this experience before; I’ve lived in Mondragón since I was five and I don’t understand this attitude. What have I done? Not content with killing Isaías, I don’t know why there are people who react like this with me.”

“I’ve come across other people who’ve expressed their sympathy and when they arrested the person who killed Isaías some congratulated me.  But when they paid tribute to my husband very few people turned up.  I’ve felt more support from my husband’s colleagues in the party and Mondragón town councillors. They are still there. I still feel supported by people like this or by the Madrid Department for Victims of Terrorism, the Fernando Buesa Foundation and other widowed victims I’ve met. I think that all victims of terrorism go through the same thing. At first there are a lot of people by your side and then they disappear.  Now I ask myself where are all the people who demonstrated when they killed Isaías, neighbours, friends…”

“I think I’m still the same with other people. There’s one person who’s also a victim from the other side who I used to talk to before and who I have no reason to stop talking to. This person comes along, gives me her condolences and I say hello as normal. Why shouldn’t I say hello? I think it’s exactly the same person, before or after the killing of my husband. This sort of situation has changed me and I wear a sort of armour.  I’ve lost some friends and made others who give me much more. I get rid of the ones that don’t give me anything.”

“As far as the kids are concerned, Adei has had a bad time. He asks you questions and you try and protect him from this environment. You try but he witnessed the attack and at school the kids say things to him. He doesn’t tell me everything they say or what happens to him.  He keeps a lot of things to himself because he doesn’t want me be sad. There are things that you just can’t avoid and I try to explain as best as I can but it’s difficult to be Mum and Dad at the same time.  Sometimes he calls me a liar because when the attack happened he asked me why his father was lying on the ground and I told him that a car had run him over, I couldn’t think of anything else to say.  Later he asked me why I’d lied to him because he knew that they had killed his father.  So I told him the truth but he already knew because he had heard the shots. He misses his father. I think a person dies when they are forgotten and when people stop talking to them. That’s why we talk about his father with him and on his birthday we light a candle for him.  We try to make Isaías always present.  When a tribute is made we take Adei with us too so that he’s also there and doesn’t forget him.   Isaías will always be his father. At home we talk more about Isaías himself rather than the attack, politics or ETA. We do it so that Adei doesn’t grow up with hatred.”

“I remember that when it all happened with Isaías there was a demonstration because they put the Mayoress of Mondragón in prison. By coincidence she had worked where I did. I was getting the bus and the demonstration went through our neighbourhood, where I lived. When it went past, somebody, I don’t know who it was, called me a murderer. I looked but didn’t see who it was. My brother told me to get out of there but why should I? I was waiting for the bus and they went past in front of me.”

“I’ve never felt hatred.  Helplessness, anger… many feelings, but not hatred. It’s not good because it only generates hatred and I’ll pass it on to my son. And then who knows, maybe tomorrow he could do the same as the murderer of Isaías.  I’m not going to convey this to my son. I want him to grow up in a normal atmosphere. It’s difficult here, although things have changed a bit there are still demonstrations in favour of prisoners and shouts of  Long live ETA, but even so I try to keep my son out of all of this and let him be just like any other kid.”

“Isaías and his energy are missing at home… He was the spark that’s no longer there.  Sandra’s biggest accomplice at home and mate for going to the football matches is no longer there….. Ainara has missed out on having those adolescent talks with her Dad. Adei doesn’t have a male figure at home. He wants to be the one who protects us and he worries about us, but he’s only eight years old and that can’t be.  I miss him. My partner, my friend, my lover… I miss him, the person I got angry with and with whom I used to resolve any problems that came up.”

“I myself feel loneliness. There can be a thousand people by your side but no-one can fill this emptiness. I’m stuck back in the day of the attack; I have the feeling that I’m not progressing. I’d go back to that day, to the moment when I told Isaías to go and let me sleep, then he would go down the stairs and leave for work in the car, and then all of my life would go back to how it was before and not how it is now. But this cannot be. I don’t think my daughters are very happy either because they miss their father.  Four years and ten months have gone by and we miss him so much… Over the years you learn a lot and you realise many things. You have bad days and you feel lonely and that’s when you value people more.”