Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Friday, March 12, 2004

Latin America condemns terror attacks in Spain

Leaders of Latin American countries joined the worldwide condemnation Thursday against the bloody bomb attacks in the Spanish capital of Madrid which claimed at least 192 lives and wounded 1,400 people so far.


Leaders of Latin American countries joined the worldwide condemnation Thursday against the bloody bomb attacks in the Spanish capital of Madrid which claimed at least 192 lives and wounded 1,400 people so far.

Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva said, "All Brazilis mourning. We follow the international community to repudiate, firmly and unconditionally, this barbaric act that violates the minimal principles of respect for human rights and civilized coexistence."

Mexican President Vicente Fox said his country "will tirelesslycontinue to fight terrorism on all fronts and using the means of international law and solidarity."

Fox stressed Mexico will not provide refuge for terrorists, referring to the statement that members of Spain's separatist group Basque Homeland and Freedom (ETA) had been hidden in the country.

The bombs exploded around 7:30 a.m. (0630 GMT) in a commuter train arriving at Atocha station, a bustling hub for subway, commuter and long-distance trains in Madrid.

Blasts also rocked trains or platforms at two stations on a commuter line leading to Atocha. The Spanish government said therewere four explosions altogether.

It caused massive panic. Police resorted to using taxis to take the injured to hospitals as insufficient ambulances were available.Hospitals were struggling to cope with the huge influx of bomb victims and appealed for blood donations.

The Spanish authorities said Thursday the death toll continues to rise, as more people died in hospitals and rescuers found more bodies at the site of the explosion.

Spain has blamed the attacks on the ETA which is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.But the group has refuted the accusation.

The attacks made Spain suffer on the eve of a general election scheduled for Sunday. The political parties have suspended campaign which was largely dominated by separatist tensions in regions like the Basque in northern Spain.

Honduran President Ricardo Maduro described the attacks as a "terrorist act, a barbaric act, a demoniac act" which brought pain to the Spanish people and the world. The remarks was echoed by President of the Dominican Republic Hipolito Mejia.

On Thursday, Chilean President Ricardo Lagos extended condolences to the Spanish government over the attacks.

"This is an attempt against the people who work," said Lagos, referring to the fact that many victims were students going to schools and people swarming to work as the blast took place in rush hour.

Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Nicaraguan President Enrique Bolanos offered condolences to Spanish King Juan Carlos I and Spanish ambassador to Nicaragua respectively.

The leaders of Argentina, El Salvador, Paraguay also voiced repudiation against the blasts.

Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo said that the string of blasts in Madrid showed the necessity to adopt a global strategy against terrorism, while Colombian President Alvaro Uribe noted that "all nations need to share a global and solidary policy" against terrorism.

The Venezuelan government said President Hugo Chavez was following the situation and willing to offer all necessary aid andsupport for all initiatives aiming at ending terrorism.

Meanwhile, a number of international organizations condemned the series of train bombings in the Spanish capital as well.

Hours after the bombings, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the attacks "in the strongest terms" and called on countries to cooperate in the effort to bringthe perpetrators to justice.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan condemned the deadly bombings, saying, "It is indeed with profound shock and indignation that I learned about the terrorist attack in Madrid today." He called fora swift capture of the perpetrators.

Cesar Gaviria, secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS) considered the "brutal acts perpetrated by terrorists" as "a demonstration of weakness and cowardice."

Sergio Paez, President of the Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), condemned the blasts in Madrid.

"Terrorism constitutes the main threat to democracy and the system of liberties," Paez pointed out in Chile's capital Santiago.

The Central American Parliament (PARLACEN) and the Andean Parliament also deplored the terror attacks.

Source: Xinhua

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