Plot by media, police, and capital to malign Pablo Iglesias exposed in Spain

Progressives across the world condemn the outrageous ways in which the corporate media/big-business nexus defames popular leaders and leftist parties

July 13, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias (Image via Facebook)

An expose by the Spanish outlet Crónica Libre on July 9 has created an uproar in Spain by exposing a plot by media, police, and big business to malign Pablo Iglesias, a leader of the left-wing party Podemos. The expose reveals that media and police have purposefully disseminated ‘fake’ information, which accused Pablo Iglesias of being irregularly financed by the Venezuelan government led by Nicolás Maduro.

Following the article, progressive sections in Spain and political leaders in Latin America have expressed anger at the attempts by the media-business-politics nexus to discredit leaders of the left-wing parties and the working class.

The Podemos movement was formed in 2014 under the leadership of Pablo Iglesias, in the aftermath of massive anti-austerity protests in Spain. Podemos, launched as a populist, left-wing platform, emerged as a major party by the time of the 2014 European Parliament elections. In 2016, Podemos aligned with the United Left (IU) to form the Unidos Podemos coalition. In 2020, the movement decided to support the Pedro Sanchez-led government in Spain, and it became part of the government through which Pablo Iglesias has served as the deputy prime minister.

Police and media knowingly spread lies

Cronica Libre revealed recorded conversations from 2017, between Antonio García Ferraras, host of the television program Al Rojo Vivo, of the Spanish channel La Sexta, and a corrupt former police commissioner, José Manuel Villarejo. In these conversations Villarejo admitted that he had knowingly disseminated false information against Iglesias to his friend, businessman Eduardo Inda, the director of the news outlet Okdiario. In 2016, Okdiario ran several articles against Iglesias based on ‘sources’ from the interior ministry, claiming that Iglesias had an account in his name in a branch of the Euro Pacific Bank of the Grenadine Islands, in which he had received illegitimate financing from the government of Nicolás Maduro totalling around USD $272,325. Pablo Iglesias and the Venezuelan government itself refuted that allegation in 2016.

In response to the Cronica Libre article, Pablo Iglesias said, “Ferreras’ audios with Villarejo serve to understand how power works in Spain. To weaken Podemos, the power was willing to commit crimes ad nauseam.”

Iglesias added, “Ferreras should not return to journalism. What he has done is an embarrassment for a profession that is a condition of possibility for democracy.”

On July 10, in a tweet, Jean-Luc Melenchon, a leader of the La France Insoumise (LFI), condemned the defamation campaign against Podemos and Pablo Iglesias.

Earlier this week, the presidents of Mexico, Argentina and Chile, along with the president-elect of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, criticized the defamation of Pablo Iglesias, former Vice President of Spain.

Petro wrote, “In collaboration with members of the police, a journalist decides to defame, knowing that the information was false, a progressive movement in Spain. Everything was discovered at the end. It seems like ‘Deja vu.'”

“Fake news has done profound damage to social coexistence,” tweeted Chilean president Gabriel Boric on July 11. 

Boric added, “Here we see what they have done for years to Podemos in Spain, which is not very different from the practices of many in Latin America. Let’s take care of our democracies!”