Sofia Castañón (Gijón, 1983) has been the winner in the primaries of Podemos Asturies, for which she will occupy the general secretary of the party. In this interview, performed before the result was known, Castañón advances that his priorities will be to present his roadmap to the militancy and meet with the United Left to draw up the United We Can strategy for the 2023 elections.
What are the pending subjects of Podemos in Asturias six years after its foundation?
I believe that the territorial implantation in the councils and that our people can work with decent means is a pending and urgent task. For the same reason, that the militancy also finds true spaces for direct participation, which are always in the organizational documents but have never been put into practice. We also need to strengthen our alliances and capacity to influence Asturian politics. Without that strength, it is difficult to be relevant enough to achieve useful changes in the lives of most of the people of Asturias.
Why do you think a change in the general secretariat of Asturias was convenient?
In addition to what I have just pointed out in terms of territorial implantation and electoral strength, I believe that the political cycle demands new leaderships, choirs, feminists, as a team, and a repositioning of Podemos Asturies as a relevant force in the context of public discussion. A coherent country project and not just a reactive and dismissive response to sectoral issues.
To what extent has the entry of Podemos into the central government influenced the organization in Asturias?
Well, it should be a great opportunity to establish a coordination that allows taking the Asturian agenda to the highest level of institutional politics, as I have been trying to do in my role as deputy spokesperson in Congress. We hope to start taking advantage of this opportunity based on the fantastic work that the people who make up our candidacy in the CCA will develop.
When they appeared in the 2015 elections, they aspired to govern in Asturias. To this day, do you see that aspiration farther from the strength of the PSOE?
It is undeniable that our poor results in 2019 and Barbón’s “embellished arecismo” augur difficulties to govern Asturies. But I am optimistic and if I have taken this step it is because I believe that I can strengthen Podemos Asturies, respond to what the public expects of us and arrive at the 2023 electoral appointments in better conditions. Because we went out to win, how could it be otherwise.
Has the demand for the Huerna toll distanced the regional and national leadership of Podemos?
I would have liked to be able to better coordinate my political action in Congress with our Asturian leadership, not only on this issue but on many others. For my part, I stand firm in the demand for the abolition of the toll: it is a matter of justice and there are solid arguments for it. But I am proud to have led the initiative to get the amount lowered in the meantime, an example of the useful policy we want to do.
Are you afraid that the loss in the first line of a reference like Pablo Iglesias will take its toll on Podemos?
It is evident that losing such a relevant and beloved figure in our organization always poses a great challenge, but we are on the right track, consolidating new leaderships such as that of our Secretary General Ione Belarra, feminizing and coalescing Podemos with strong support from the militancy.
Do you see a leadership of Yolanda Díaz feasible in electoral terms?
We have to respect their times to make a decision of this importance, but it not only seems feasible to me but also deeply exciting, and that is how we are perceiving it in society. An opportunity to continue expanding our electoral horizon, to gain strength that allows us to promote even more improvements for the lives of the people.
What will be your first decision?
Activate the work plans of each area and secretary of the CCA, in order to draw up the country project, the model for the future that we want to defend for Asturies, and call an assembly with the militancy to present that roadmap. Meet with Izquierda Unida and draw the United We Can strategy for 2023.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.