Socialist youth leader claims “right could be behind” 15-M protest movement

Beatriz Talegón is forging her politicial path by generating headlines

Socialist youth leader Beatriz Talegón in a recent interview.
Socialist youth leader Beatriz Talegón in a recent interview. Fernando Alvarado / EFE

The secretary general of the International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY), Beatriz Talegón, appears determined to forge her political career by making headlines. She shot into the limelight three months ago by launching an attack on senior Socialist leaders for holding meetings in "five-star hotels" and traveling in "luxury vehicles." Talegón also admonished the hierarchy for wanting young members to "applaud and fill spaces with pretty faces."

After saying last week she may consider putting herself forward as the Spanish Socialist Party's candidate for the next general elections in primaries to be held next year, Talegón also turned her focus on the 15-M popular movement: "I am not one for conspiracy theories but at that time of attending protests and assemblies I started to see things that bothered me, and now I say it more strongly: there are those that say that the right might be behind this movement," the 29-year-old told Argentinean station Radio Hache.

Although the interview was taped several months ago, the recording started to circulate on social networking sites on Monday. Talegón states that at the beginning, 15-M was "a cry out against everything, against the system, and was quite right in much of what it said."

However, she then accuses 15-M of "opening the door to the right so it can destroy the welfare state."

"The movement started on May 15 [2011], encouraging people not to vote and the end result was that the critical sector, which is usually the most leftist, did not go to vote and the electoral result was an absolute majority for the right." Talegón went on to say that movements like 15-M attempt to undermine traditional political parties. "They are destabilizing democracy," she added

Talegón's interview caused a Twitter storm overnight Monday, with plenty of criticism aimed at the IUSY leader with the hashtag #detrásdel15M (behind15M). Talegón initially responded by writing: "Behind people with great values are well-designed intentions, which should not be dismissed out of hand." On Wednesday, however, Talegón apologized for any offense caused, claiming she had "never said the right was behind 15-M." She added that the movement had created a "before and after in the social reality of this country."

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