Ariagona González, number three of the PSOE candidacy to Congress for Las Palmas and number three on the electoral grid for the Cabildo de Lanzarote
“The light that guides me in politics is my honesty, my principles and my values”
Ariagona González, partaking in the electoral roll for the Cabildo of Lanzarote and the House of Representatives of the province of Las Palmas in representation of PSOE, besides currently holding the position of Socialist Advisor and vice-secretary of the Executive Council Dolores Corujo. In the following interview she explains the political improvements that her party offers for the upcoming elections.
What led you to partake in politics?
I have been affiliated with the PSOE since I was 22, through the Juventudes Socialistas. My connection with politics started with the desire to change reality and to invest our efforts on a more just and egalitarian society. I have always defended and will continue to defend that all people should have identical rights and opportunities in any field, whether we are men, women, homosexuals, Jews, Muslims, Africans or Europeans. In this sense, the Socialist Party is the one that best reflects what I feel and think and that is why I am proud to have joined their ranks.
This has been a recurring question for me when I decided to partake in the electoral roll for the Cabildo in 2015 and when I applied to the Senate, a little over three years ago. We came from a time when the recession had been terrible, and the cutbacks generated the loss of rights of many people. The people’s disaffection towards politics and the system was not the best breeding ground to start a public campaign but I have always defended that only responsible actions and commitment permit changes, bad politics, corruption, revolving doors, all that has frustrated the expectations and hopes of citizens.
What should be the qualities to succeed in public activity?
I believe that the first quality is to be an honest person, with principles and consistency with the values of the political formation in which you serve. The political world is very complex, and you face numerous problems, internal and external squabbles, the opposing parties that seek profitability with your mistakes instead of contributing in a constructive way to improve the lives of people … the light that guides me in this path is my honesty, my principles and my values. I want to go to bed with a clear conscience and know what I have put all my effort into doing things as well as possible.
Is the role of a woman in politics difficult?
Yes and no. The compulsory zipper system in the PSOE (electoral list in which men and women occupy alternate positions) has given the possibility to many women to be in starting positions, thanks to José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. And this organizational decision has been exemplary for other systems, as has also happened with the primary processes to promote internal democracy and the participation of militancy. When the leadership is not chosen, the result is always fairer, also for our gender. Perhaps the next assignment will be the free naming of the leading and intermediate positions in the government, in the election of the representatives for the public entities … Sometimes it feels like, when we are not forced to be egalitarian, we opt for men. In my party we try to be exquisite with parity, although it is not always achieved.
In relation to women’s political participation and leadership, what have been the main achievements of the feminist movement?
I believe that one of the main achievements has been the law against domestic violence, a reference to regulations in other countries, which has helped many women defend themselves and react to episodes and behaviours of physical and psychological aggression. If we compare the figures of victims of domestic violence with those of ETA terrorism, there have been more deaths of women and yet we have taken too long to react; the administration, society, the judiciary …
And it makes me proud that it was the PSOE, during José Luis Rodríguez Zapateros term who were responsible for this Law. No one can deny that our party has always been based on feminism and equality, so the achievements for women’s rights as well as the achievements for the LGTB movement are ours.
What is your experience as the Vice-Secretary Executive Council?
This post allows me to be aware of the reality of both my party and the island because they share the problems we have in Lanzarote and the ideas to solve them. For someone like me, advisor in the Island Council of Lanzarote and aspiring to a seat in Congress, is a fundamental platform and a permanent school.
What made you decide to run for Congress for the province of Las Palmas and the Island Council of Lanzarote?
Because I believe that we must continue fighting to recover the Welfare State that the Popular Party snatched from us; because we must continue fighting for real equality between men and women; because there is much more to do and more after the setback generated by seven years of conservative government. And above all, fight against the threat posed by the Right wing and Extreme Right wing political parties, which want to take us back to the last century.
What do you think are the main ideological attributes of the Socialist Party?
The PSOE is a worker-based party that cares about ordinary people, we do not try to favour any sector, but we try to ensure that there are rights and opportunities for all citizens. In short: recover the welfare state and their living conditions. In addition, we defend transversal feminism to achieve real equality; we promote the fight against climate change through environmental policies that protect the planet.
At the regional level, we are very concerned about the levels of poverty, among the highest in the State, just as Canarian healthcare is among the most deficient and worst valued … We have a series of pending subjects that can only be solved by political institutions.
Why should the people vote for you in the up-coming elections?
Because we will continue to defend people in their work, family, private, public and everyday lives… The service record of this very brief Government of Pedro Sánchez is good proof of that: We have managed to increase the minimum wage to € 900, we have revalued pensions, we have regulated a law of equal rights between men and women, we have abolished the “sun tax”, we have developed a youth employment program…In other words, we have developed a series of policies with which we have recovered levels of welfare that others stole from us. That is why I stand for election and that is why I believe people should support the Socialist Party, because I believe that we are the only possible guarantee for change, we will be involved and will make decisions. We are the only Left wing party with real possibility of leading the country, with security, experience and effectiveness. We have shown throughout our history: When the PSOE has governed in Spain, people have had more rights and freedoms and have consolidated achievements, only threatened later by the reactionary Right.
What the PSOE project management in this new stage?
If we reach the Government of Spain, we will follow the path that Pedro Sánchez started, a path to recovery of rights for people, a recovery of the Welfare State where the pharmaceutical co-payment disappears. And if we reach the Government of the Canary Islands, we will work to achieve an improvement in Public Healthcare and an improvement in Education. Similarly, if we reach the mandate in the Island Council, we will work to update new territorial instruments, which are important to have greater penetration of renewable energies on the island, among other relevant issues. And, above all, what we will do both in the Government of Spain and in the Government of the Canary Islands and Lanzarote will be to legislate for the benefit of the people.
How do you see the political future in general?
The necessary improvement of the policy is in the hands of politicians. The parties must be more transparent, we have to take more into account our actions towards the people, and towards the institutions … The public management must be transparent and involved in the real problems. And we should leave the theatrics, the drama and the pretence behind, and to seriously face the problems and the solutions.