Ein Zeitzeugengespräch zur OPEC-Geiselnahme
Am 21. Dezember 1975 überfiel ein Kommando, das sich „Arm der Arabischen Revolution“ nannte, unter Führung von Ilich Ramirez Sanchez (genannt „Carlos“) das Hauptquartier der Organisation Erdölexportierender Länder (OPEC) in Wien. Unter den Geiseln der Terroristen befanden sich 11 Erdölminister.
Bundeskanzler Bruno Kreisky führte Verhandlungen mit den Geiselnehmern mit der obersten Maxime Menschenleben zu retten. Am folgenden Tag ließen die Terroristen die in Österreich wohnhaften Geiseln frei. Den Geiselnehmern wurde im Gegenzug ein Flugzeug zur Verfügung gestellt, mit dem sie zusammen mit den 33 verbliebenen Geiseln nach Algerien und Libyen ausreisen konnten.
Ein Zeitzeuge, der bislang noch nie öffentlich über seine Erlebnisse gesprochen hat, ist Jose B. Lopéz – damals ein Mitarbeiter Ecuadors bei den Vereinten Nationen in Wien. Durch Zufall sollte Herr Lopéz eine wichtige Rolle bei der Lösung der Geiselkrise spielen. Er blieb auch später in Österreich.
Das ist seine Geschichte:
“In 1975, I was one of six Ecuadorians in
One of them was Eduardo Cabezas, the chargé d'affaires. He was my friend. I was
here for the United Nations and I worked next to the Rathaus – before the
Vienna International Center was built. On this day, I had lunch with my
colleagues in an apartment in Grinzing and I got a call from Cabezas wife: ‘Good
morning, have you heard the news? They have taken the OPEC-ministers hostage
and Eduardo is there. The Ministry of the Interior has called and they need
somebody from the embassy to take part in discussing the problem. Since Eduardo
is a hostage and there are not many Ecuadorians, you have to go to the Ministry
of the Interior, where all the OPEC-ministers are meeting.’ When I arrived
there, I just said: ‘Ecuador’. So they let me in. I knew one or two persons from
the Venezuelan OPEC-delegation, but no one from the Arabic side. As we were
sitting there, we were informed that the terrorist demanded to be flown out of
the country. A messenger came and I wrote a message to my friend: ‘Eduadro,
don’t worry, we will try to do something.’ And he sent me back a not: ‘You will
do it. I am at peace. This will end up good.’ I also wrote a message for the
terrorist leader: ‘Don’t kill anymore.’ Then they opened a telephone connection
and I said: ‘Hand me the phone.’ I said: ‘We have to arrange a deal.’ Carlos
said ‘OK’ and we spoke together in Spanish. It was helpful to speak directly to
After Kreisky arrived in
he came to see us. He was addressing us with ‘Excellency’. I was not arguing
with him at that moment that I was not a diplomat. I was about to laugh, but
kept my cool. It was already one o’clock in the morning and Kreisky asked: ‘What
are we going to do?’ And I asked him: ‘What are they demanding?’ His answer
was: ‘They want to be flown out and every OPEC-member has to agree to that.
This is the question. What’s your answer?’ Nobody said anything until I spoke
up: ‘The government should meet the demands of the terrorists to save human
lives’. And Kreisky asked the group: Are you in agreement with the ambassador
of Vienna ?
Nobody said anything against it. Then I signed an agreement in the name of
Ecuador. Afterwards, I called Carlos from the offices of the Ministry of
Interior: ‘Everything will be arranged. You will be taken to the airport tomorrow
to leave wherever you want to go.’ Ecuador
A few days afterwards, I took my children to the airport. And as I stand there, by chance, Kreisky comes up to me: ‘Mr. Ambassador, thank you. You saved it.’ Unexpectedly, I did a good job. I did not tell my story for a long time – even my children did not know.”