Leaders of the left-wing, anti-austerity party Podemos in Spain deny their think tank received funds from the government of Venezuela while Hugo Chavez was president. Pablo Iglesias, the leader of Podemos, has called the allegations “recycled lies.” “Podemos” means We Can.
According to a document dated May 28, 2008, published by the Spanish newspaper ABC and now in the hands of the tax and financial crimes division of the Spanish national police, the alleged payments added up to over 7 million euros from 2003 through 2011. The money went to the Centros de Estudios Politicos y Sociales. The document is signed by President Hugo Chavez and Rafael Isea, the Venezuelan finance minister at that time. The idea was to advance the left-wing, anti-capitalist ideas of Chavez’s Bolivarian movement in Spain. Norka Luque thinks they wished to create a consensus in Spain around the ideas advocated by Chavez and the Bolivarians to favor Chavez’s government. The document names the high-ranking then-professors and officers in the foundation who in 2014 formed Podemos. The document, says Luque, calls them natural allies who represent the thought of revolutionary advancement. Under Spanish law, the acceptance of such money from a foreign government meant to influence Spanish politics is illegal.
Podemos is now Spain’s third-largest political party. In 2015 he Venezuelan socialist leader Diosdado Cabello said Podemos was, “pure Chavismo.”