Elisa López Aguado answers questions about Spanish political party PODEMOS


Interview conducted by Jaime Ortega.



Elisa López Aguado

She has worked as a journalist in several media, 

from a multisource video agency or a local radio channel in the US to a prestigious national TV in Spain.

She is now part of a Financial Communications Department in Madrid.


1) What does PODEMOS offer to Spain that the PSOE or PPV do not? Why is Pablo Iglesias considered the new hope for Spain’s youth?

PODEMOS sells a beautiful speech inspired by a “real-social-conscience-perspective” its leaders say they have. This new party aims to change Spanish political atmosphere, end with corruption and save Spain from its still alive economical crisis –even it is way lower than a couple of years ago. What is supposed to differentiate PODEMOS from PSOE or PP is truth and the change ambition. Even though PSOE is a left-wing party, PODEMOS says it is asleep and not fighting for citizen’s real rights.

On the other hand, PP, now governing, is a liar for them. There have been a number of politicians from that party involved in big corruption cases and thus they say PP just wants to be powerful no matter what and betray the citizens that gave them the power. It is not that Pablo Iglesias is considered as the new hope for Spain’s youth, because he is not acclaimed like that. The point is he is seen as a chance to change from a two-party system to more possible alternatives in the country so citizens can really use their right to vote.

By an increase of the offer of real parties in the political sphere, citizens would be able to put their priorities first when completing ballots and not turn to the tradition we had in Spain, which was “If the current government has done it wrong, I will vote to the other party, and when the other party fails in governing again, I will come back to the other party”.

2) How did PODEMOS gain so much political terrain in such short period of time?

PODEMOS appeared in the perfect moment to compete as a real alternative to an asleep PSOE that does not stop PP and a corrupted core in PP that has touched the whole party. Also, crisis always lead to revolutions, people get tired of arguments and bureaucratic solutions and want to see real changes on the streets. That is the reason why PODEMOS is gaining so much political weight in statistics and questionnaires, because “they allegedly have no past” and want to give Spanish society a good solution to its problems.

3) A lot of socialist voters are turning to PODEMOS, does PODEMOS plan to help the working class by heavily taxing the wealthy (Corporations, Monopolies…)?

It is true they want to control the wealthy more, logically, so their fortunes are well-declared in Spain and taxes evasion is not that easy. By doing that, the tax income would increase and could be reverted on social politics –such as decreasing working hours from 40 to 35 or establishing retirement at 60– that are difficult to work out and need backing. Nevertheless, the working class would obviously still need to pay taxes, and it is not that clear they would be lower.

4) How does PODEMOS plan to keep up with pension plans, employment, and get rid of the Spanish brick bubble that has damaged the Spanish economy?

That is the problem. Their program is a utopia. [The Spanish brick bubble is not longer a problem, though, it exploded in 2008 and the sector is now recovering little by little.] For keeping up with pension plans and employment they just have positive ideas on their fliers that have no development long-term plan or sustainability. Actually, PODEMOS recognized the program they presented in Europe “was not realistic” and needed to be reedited.

They pretend to decrease the hours of work from 40 to 35 and retirement age to 60 years old instead of 67. How could that be possible? We could assume those extra benefits that could maintain that new economical panorama would come from the benefits of the sectors –such as telecommunications, energy, education, transportation or pharmaceutics– they want to expropriate or the extra taxes the State would get from the wealthy.

5) According to a lot skeptics in the EU, PODEMOS is not a viable option to rule Spain. Do you agree?

Related to the previous question, I agree to those who say PODEMOS is not a real viable option. If they win, apart from having convinced people with empty rhetoric, it is because –I can tell you– we have no democratic culture yet. Sadly, even though we want to tell ourselves Spain is mature enough in terms of politics, almost nobody reads the programs or ask him/herself about the origin or future purposes of the party.

Also, since Pablo Iglesias has always thrown the idea of the complot PP and PSOE have to stop their rise, the negative information brought up by the media is thought to be a part of it. In a more European context, PODEMOS is not viable for one of the solutions they offer to exit the crisis. They say the debt Spain has with the EU should not be paid even though those credits the EU gave the country were indispensable to solve the biggest problems we faced. It is very similar to the new Greek Government. Tsipras spreads the same values and is generating refusal in Europe, so the equation tells us that same thing would happen with Iglesias.

– President of the ECB, Mario Draghi, IMF president Christine Lagarde, and European Commission president Jean Juncker oppose change in Spain with PODEMOS. Will it affect the relationship with the EU if PODEMOS wins?

As I said in the previous question, I do think so, it would be damaged.

– A lot of EURO skeptics have turned against Germany and France for imposing their rule over other countries with less financial power like Spain. Is there a possibility that Spain leaves Euro?

I don’t believe so. As long as I know, leaving the Euro would not only leave Spain out of league in terms of commercial relationships with the EU but also worldwide. Nowadays, I think our PIB is 60% based in foreign trade. The peseta is way cheaper than dollars, for example, so all the commercial operations we develop now in Euros and thanks to which Spain gets high benefits would, simply, be reverted.

6) Will PODEMOS give Catalunya, and the Basque Country leeway to declare independence from Spain following the track of PSOE?

Yes, as they proclaim citizens right to convoke referendums to decide about every matter.

7) PP and PSOE accuse PODEMOS of lack of preparation. On their view, PODEMOS capability to improve Spanish politics is far from realistic, claiming it’s not organized well.  What does PODEMOS response about these allegations?

PODEMOS wants to erase traditional parties such as PSOE and PP from the political sphere since they “haven’t acted in benefit of Spanish citizens but betrayed them”. PODEMOS calls those party members “casta”, which means “caste”, a despicable powerful social group. Pablo Iglesias’ party believes they represent a sort of conspiracy against the rise of PODEMOS so they don’t get wings to fly, and they turn to that idea every time PP and PSOE accuse them of lack of preparation. PODEMOS responses saying they are afraid of change and that they know they are perfectly organized, but they do not prove their efficiency with facts.

8) Other critics point out that PODEMOS is a hidden communist ideological party. Has PODEMOS classified itself more towards socialism, communism or neither? If it’s not communist why do critics compare Pablo Iglesias with Nicolás Maduro from Venezuela, or SYZIRA in Greece?

PODEMOS claims they are different, they are the change. They never pronounce the words socialism or communism but they obviously tend to those ideological positions and that’s why critics compare Pablo Iglesias with Maduro and Tsipras. Iglesias supports both leaders’ ideas even though sometimes he tries to hide his link with Chavism, but it is true.

9) Will Spain and US friendship be jeopardized with PODEMOS on power? What does PODEMOS expect from the US in response, if PODEMOS wins the elections?

I do think that friendship can be jeopardized, just as the one between Venezuela and the US.

10) What would Spain look like in the future with PODEMOS in power, if they indeed win the elections?

I feel very pessimistic about this. Extreme ideologies never bring good times to countries and History has my back on this. I do not have the authority to forecast, but I imagine a general long-term blocking from the main economies we have had relation with that would damage Spain if PODEMOS won the elections. Also, a surreal popular feeling among Spanish population, thinking of “less working, less compromise leads to better life-quality”,  idea that would separate social classes even more and could increase levels of poverty in our country –like what happened in Venezuela.

The only positive consequence I try to see among all this is political parties could be more conscious about transparency, being legal and not corrupt, not betraying citizens’ trust on them… That is happening nowadays as a result of lacking moral leaders. Sincerely, PODEMOS has given importance to the idea of being transparent by bringing the debate back to public opinion. Despite that fact, I have seen PODEMOS leaders also have a dark past so I am not confident. Juan Carlos Monedero, for example, has been paid by the Venezuelan Government for consultancy and then he had to elaborate a complementary tax declaration after the Treasure warned him they knew he had extra-profits from that activity. Is that a proper behavior from one of the leaders of the party that wants to rule Spain? Answer yourself.

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