MONTEVIDEO – The spokesman in Uruguay for Spain’s leftist Podemos party, Jorge Castrillon, said that “informal contacts” have been initiated with the Broad Front, a coalition that includes different leftist groups and supports the presidency of Jose Mujica.
In an interview with the Uruguayan daily El Pais published Sunday, Castrillon said: “We have initiated informal contacts with sectors of the Broad Front ... and we’re working on a social meeting, but we’re open to everyone.”
“Spain has turned its back on Latin America and here very interesting things have been achieved. In Spain, they accuse us of being populists and of wanting to transplant the Uruguayan system. Let’s hope so,” he added.
Nevertheless, he admitted that the Uruguayan National Party and Colorado Party “are not very supportive of the thesis of change Podemos proposes. It’s more, they are linked” with the Popular Party and the Socialist Party, respectively, “who brought (Jose Luis) Rodriguez Zapatero” to the country during the election campaign.
The spokesman praised the politics of the Broad Front, which will continue in power starting March 1 under the leadership of President-elect Tabare Vazquez.
“It interests us greatly to know how the Broad Front resolved the social emergency in which Uruguay found itself as a result of the 2002 crisis. All that’s been done through the Social Development Ministry, the socialization of state spending, seems to us to be an example to follow,” he said.
Castrillon emphasized the “political culture” of Uruguay, which he said he felt is “very respectful ... (and) resistant to corruption.”
“Our country is suffering very high levels of corruption and we want to see how they’ve done things here,” he said.
In October 2014, Podemos formally became the third Spanish political party with a presence and activities in Uruguay, in addition to the Popular Party and the Socialist Party.
Podemos general secretary Pablo Iglesias visited Uruguay last Oct. 1 and met with Mujica in Montevideo, whom he considers to be “an example,” for more than an hour.
“Mujica told us that ethics in politics is fundamental, and that leaders must resemble the citizens. Mujica is an example of that. Some say that he’s poor, austere. We say that he’s normal, that he resembles any citizen,” said Iglesias.