Venezuelan ties with Spanish radical left party Podemos

What is Podemos?

Podemos is a Spanish political party. It originated in the aftermath of the 2011–12 Spanish protests against inequality and corruption. It was officially funded in 2014 by Pablo Iglesias, lecturer in political science at the Complutense University in Madrid. After the European election (May 2014) they joined GUE Group at the European Parliament (European left) electing five MEPs, including their leader Pablo Iglesias. (El Mundo)

Are they popular?

Yes. Since the first election they have continued to gain consensus. Current poll suggests Podemos as second political party in Spain.

  • PP 27.1%
  • Podemos 25.7 %
  • PSOE 20.1%
  • Ciudadanos 6.5 %
  • IU 4.6 %
  • UPyD 4 %

What are their policies?

Podemos presents itself as anti-establishment, anti-austerity and heavily youth– and Internet based movement.

Among others requests, Podemos wants to prevent profitable companies from firing people, introduce a 35-hour workweek, redistribute wages more fairly and guarantee gender equality, as well as to abolish private hospitals to return to a fully state-controlled health care system. (El MundoNew York Times)

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Who is funding Podemos?

Although Podemos spokesperson says that they are receiving funding only from volunteers, Centro de Estudios Políticos y Sociales (CEPS), a foundation with ties to the leaders of Podemos, received at least €3.7 million from the government of deceased Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez over the course of a decade. (El Pais)

It is clear that Pablo Iglesias at that time had close ties with the Venezuelan dictator as he mentioned in his CV (see sentence highlighted)

Schermata 2015-02-27 a 15.31.03

The journalistic investigation made by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released a report at the beginning of February detailing its findings based on nearly 60,000 internal HSBC documents from 2006 to 2007 leaked by whistleblower Hervé Falciani.

After few days of the release of the investigation, Pablo Iglesias proudly announced to have hired the whistleblower Falciani as anti-evasion consultant. Probably Iglesias didn’t know on the top of the Falciani list there was their main sponsor: the Government of Venezuela. (International Business Times)

Venezuela had third-largest amount of money stored in Swiss banks. 

Juan Carlos Monedero, board member of Podemos, is under investigation for having gained more than 425,000 euro from Venezuela in 2013 and for having only partially declared it. Also Pablo Iglesias is facing some tax fraud investigations. (El Economista)

Considering that there are legitimate uses for Swiss bank accounts and trusts, a political party which calls for the maximum of fiscal transparency, receiving money from a Government hiding its money abroad, is not the maximum of coherence.