As soon as she returned from her month of vacation, Isabel Díaz Ayuso decided to open a new political front. The president of the Community of Madrid started the course with the announcement that she will fight to lead the party in the region. Accustomed to setting her own calendar, she took that step forward without agreeing to it with the president of her party, Pablo Casado, who had other plans: to hold a PP convention taking advantage of the tailwind of the polls to relaunch the party towards the new electoral cycle that It is expected to start in Andalusia.
With no budgets in sight or large projects to start, Ayuso decided to exploit his international profile. He went to Italy to collect an award from a neoliberal think tank that recognized his management of the pandemic with the title of “the flame of freedom.” And immediately afterwards, she undertook a tour of the United States -which led her to be absent from the start of the PP convention- where she has taken the opportunity to launch provocative messages, including a crusade against “indigenism”, which she has described before the Spanish journalists who accompany her during the trip, like “new communism”. In this new cultural war that the Madrid president is promoting, she has even tried to clash with Pope Francis, whom Ayuso alluded to in some controversial statements with the White House in the background this Tuesday.
“It surprises me that a Catholic who speaks Spanish speaks like this in turn of a legacy like ours, which was to bring Spanish precisely, and through the missions, Catholicism and, therefore, civilization and freedom to the continent American, “said the Madrid president in statements to the Spanish press from Washington. Ayuso was referring to a letter that the Pope has sent to Mexico apologizing on behalf of the Vatican for the “sins” committed by the Catholic Church during the colonization of America. Those of the conservative leader were not improvised words, like almost nothing she does, although it sometimes seems like it. Her press team rushed to send the message almost immediately to all the Spanish media that have not accompanied her on her American tour.
If the team of advisers wanted an answer from the Pontiff, so far they have not gotten it.
The attacks on Bergoglio are not even an invention of the president’s cabinet. For a long time, Pope Francis has become the target of all kinds of attacks by the most recalcitrant right wing that attacks his reformist proposals within the Church, for his Jesuit training and for his criticism of the political and economic powers. .
Francis is not the first Pope to apologize for the role the Church played in the European colonization of America; Before that, Benedict XVI and John Paul II also did it. But the letter sent to Mexico has served Ayuso to place him at the center of his criticism and to highlight one of the objectives of his trip: his defense of Hispanidad and the Spanish legacy of five centuries ago, after the revisionist movements that are proliferating throughout America.
“The trip has three legs: an economic part, a political part and a cultural part,” Ayuso herself explained this Monday in a telephone interview with esRadio from New York. The last, the cultural one, described it like this: “What we want to vindicate is the Spanish legacy in America, especially at the time when there is a revision of history, a Manichean revision not only by the new communism that is the Indigenism that is throughout the continent, but also by some tendencies that are causing statues to be demolished in the United States itself or questioning the party of October 12 “.
The cultural crusade against “indigenismo” that Ayuso intends to lead has not started with his tour of the United States. The launch of the Office of Spanish, which has given Toni Cantó another public salary, is one of the mainstays of that strategy and also the last institutional acts in which the Madrid president has been with the Latin American right of Chile, Ecuador or Venezuela. Even the controversial site that the Madrid City Council has given to Nacho Cano, a friend of the president, is related to Ayuso’s new mission, since the theater that will be erected in the marquee will represent a musical that pays tribute to conquerors such as Hernán Cortés .
Nor is it a speech invented by Ayuso. It is the former president of the Government José María Aznar from the FAES foundation who has been behind this cultural war against left-wing Latino movements for years. That is why it is not by chance that it has been precisely FAES who has organized a large part of the Madrid president’s agenda for the US, according to sources from the PP to elDiario.es.
In its framework for the defense of “freedom” in Latin America, an ultra-capitalist network known as the ‘Atlas Network’ also plays an important role. It is a network of lobbies Right-wingers worldwide whose objectives are to promote ultra-liberal policies in developing countries, among other missions, and deny everything that has to do with communism. Atlas Network maintains important links with the Spanish right wing. Aznar, through FAES, is one of the central figures of this network, which in recent years has spread throughout Latin America, where he is pressing for neoliberalism to regain hegemony on the continent.
In that triangle between FAES, Atlas and Ayuso is the explanation of the president’s tour of the United States. But also his previous Italian award, a few weeks earlier. The Bruno Leoni Institute, the neoliberal think tank that awarded him the award for his management of the pandemic, is also part of the Atlas Network.
The “economic leg”
All this network linked to the defense of the ultra-liberal and capitalism “against communism” constitutes another of the “legs” of Ayuso’s trip to the United States, as she herself explained on esRadio. In addition to the pro-Hispanic agenda, which the Madrid president will end this Thursday with a meeting with congressmen members of the Hispanic Caucus on Capitol Hill, the PP leader defends her trip as a way to attract foreign capital to Madrid. To do this, he has held a series of meetings in which he defends his low-tax policies against the Pedro Sánchez government, with meetings with investment funds, with Wall Street Jounal executives and with the founder of the economic news agency Bloomberg.
“They are very surprised when we tell them the way of life that we have given ourselves in Madrid of freedom and low taxes,” said the Madrid president of her own administration on Tuesday, who did not hesitate to contrast her neoliberal policies with those of the central government. “It is difficult for them to trust us from a fiscal point of view, because they perceive Spain as a very rigid country, which does not trust private companies, knowing that our Portuguese neighbors have a much more flexible and, therefore, reliable regime”, added. And then he urged the government to implement its low-tax model throughout the country.
His team assured, a few days before heading to the Americas, that Ayuso was going to keep a low profile in terms of his constant attacks on Sánchez: “There it is not well seen to criticize the president, he is unpatriotic,” they said. Some interpreted that announcement as a way of marking distances with Casado, who has taken his attacks on the Government to different forums of the EU.
But the president has not taken long to return to make the usual opposition to the Spanish Government from the other side of the pond, at least in all her interviews with Spanish media. His international trip will end on Saturday in Valencia on the big day of the PP Convention, which has reserved a residual role for him. The extent to which she will be willing to take on that high school role remains to be seen.