• Errejón says charges ‘radically false’ and welcomes challenge in court •
Leaders of Spain’s anti-austerity party Podemos have denied fresh reports surfacing through the conservative ABC newspaper Tuesday alleging that the government of the late-Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez illegally channeled 7 million euros in kick-start funding to Podemos via a left-wing think-tank where key members of Podemos’ leadership sat on the executive board.
According to the allegations, Chavez provided the money to help establish Podemos as a political force friendly to his “Boliviarian” revolution in Venezuela, paying millions to the party’s leaders through the Fundación Centro de Estudios Políticos y Sociales (CEPS), which included current Podemos leaders Pablo Iglesias and Íñigo Errejón among its executive board members.
The CEPS website has recently been taken offline, but February 2016 archived web pages found online by Progressive Spain confirm that Iglesias, Errejón and other Podemos leaders are members of CEPS’ executive board and that the foundation clearly looked to Chavez’s Venezuela and other left-wing Latin American governments as a model for “generating dynamic social transformation in Europe and the [Spanish] State.”
While acknowledging their association with CEPS, both Iglesias and Errejón have continued to deny allegations of foreign government funding of Podemos. In Spain’s Congress on Wednesday, Errejón noted that on three separate occasions in 2015 and 2016 Spain’s Supreme Court rejected claims alleging foreign financing of Podemos from the governments of Venezuela, Iran and other sources.