Spain’s New Communist Deputy Prime Minister Once Presented a Show on Iranian Funded Propaganda TV

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 29: Leader of Podemos (We Can) party Pablo Iglesias speaks during the final day of the investiture debate at the Spanish Parliament on October 29, 2016 in Madrid, Spain. Rajoy is due to be elected again as Spanish Prime Minister after the expected abstention of the …
Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

The socialist Prime Minister of Spain narrowly won a vote of confidence in parliament, allowing him to form a coalition government with Pablo Iglesias, a hard-leftist and former Iranian state television host who praised communist dictator Mao Zedong.

A vote held in the parliament of Spain on Tuesday saw MPs narrowly back socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez by a margin of 167 to 165, meaning that Sánchez was able to form a coalition government with Pablo Iglesias, the leftist leader of Podemos.

Out of the 350-seat parliament, Sánchez’s Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) currently has 120 MPs and the Podemos have 35 seats, meaning that the government will govern from a minority position. Spain will now be governed by a coalition government for the first time since democracy was restored following the collapse of the Franco dictatorship in 1978.

Within the coalition, Pablo Iglesias will serve as deputy prime minister, with a remit of combatting allegedly man-made climate change and reducing poverty under Spain’s 2030 agenda, according to El Pais.

A former lecturer at the Complutense University of Madrid, Iglesias became politically active in the 1990s, when he joined Spain’s Communist Youth League, later hosting a television show on an Iranian state-owned network and founding the Hugo Chavez-backed Podemos party.

Following the financial struggles of his own media company, Left Hand Media, Iglesias was picked by Iranian owned and funded Spanish language network HispanTV,  on which he began hosting Fort Apache, a television programme that provided a platform for his leftist ideology.

In a 2012 episode of Fort Apache, Iglesias defended working for the theocratic regime in Tehran, saying: “Who has been one of the fundamental allies of Hugo Chavez? Iran, which has contracted me on television, too – a state that murders communists, where women have to wear burqas, but politics is like this. Some people have to work for Coca-Cola or Walmart.”

On the Iranian backed-programme, Iglesias praised Chinese dictator Mao Zedong as “astute”, declining to mention the 60 million deaths that occurred under Mao’s brutal reign. In another episode, he also lionized the Colombian terrorist group FARC, despite the guerillas being responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths.

While Iglesias would presumably be too busy fulfilling his role as deputy prime minister of Spain to carry on hosting the show, Hispantv never announced that the Fort Apache programme was discontinued, and has given no indication Iglesias will not continue to host the show in the future.

Following the vote that ensured his new position, Iglesias broke down into tears, delivering a bouquet of flowers to ailing Catalan MP, Aina Vidal, as supporters chanted “Yes you can” while raising their left fists. In Spanish ‘Podemos’ means “we can”, a reference to the “Sí se puede” chant of communist leader Cesar Chavez, that was later used in its English version “Yes we can” by President Barack Obama during his election campaign.

The coalition government plans to start by raising taxes on people earning more than 130,000 euros per year, according to the BBC.

Santiago Abascal, the leader of the Spanish populist party Vox, took the opportunity of Tuesday’s confidence vote to denounce the coalition government, saying that the formation was an “illegitimate” union with the “communist” Podemos. He went on to criticise the government for failing to tackle the violence and rape associated with mass migration to Spain.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka

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