Spanish al-Masdar has conducted this exclusive interview with Roberto Vaquero, the Secretary General of the PML(RC) which is one of the largest Communist party in all of Spain. The interview has been translated from Spanish to English; as such, some minor mistakes might appear in the article below.
Roberto Vaquero was jailed for almost two months, accused of being spearheading a PKK sympathetic movement in Spain. PKK is considered a criminal organization in Spain; this explains why Roberto was temporarily imprisoned in a Spanish jail cell. He was freed after the payment of 6.000€, largely sponsored by activists supportive to his cause. 2 of his colleagues have also been jailed by the Spanish state. One of these colleagues was a party militant who traveled to fight ISIS, he has been nick-named ‘Comrade Martos’ as he does not wish to have his name publicly known. (this interview will be released shortly).
How is that Spanish justice accuses you of spearheading a terrorist organization and being the PKK’s arm in Spain?
In the PML(RC) we have been working with the Kurdish community for almost 12 years, something that we continue to do because we are political people. We had party members who went to fight ISIS in the ‘International Brigades’ which they are called, but it is clear that this was not spawned directly on the basis of the party’s activities. These people also went to fight with the YPG, not the PKK as the indictment says. The police insist in that the brigade were sent by the PML (RC), something they have no proof of because that proof does not exist. I mean, if I was the leader of a terrorist organization as they say, I would have spent more time inside [the jail] and would not have gone on bail for just 6,000 €, which is really nothing.
So they do not have links between you and the PKK as they say?
Of course, they can’t find them because there is no link between us and them. We do not know anyone from the PKK.
Do you think that this attack is due to the political line of the party?
No, I do not think that it is due to the political line. It is for the fear of the Kurdish cause enjoying support in Spain. Then of course, Turkey is obsessed thinking that everyone is from the PKK and they [Turkey] have very good relations with Spain and are able to influence the Spanish government and the Minister of Interior, who in my opinion, is a national shame. That is why the government has orchestrated all this to destroy us in order to make the Kurds have increasingly less support; this is a matter of Turkey.
What is the legal situation in which you find yourself now?
We are outlawed, persecuted and hounded until the judge wants to say something and see what happens. Also, in my case it is very difficult to find work when they say that “you’re the leader of the armed wing of the PKK”.
How have you been affected by this?
I was affected badly. I lost my job and struggle to make a living because they stalk me everywhere… All this while people of the Islamic State are allowed to do everything they want in Spain.
Look, when I was arrested, they put in cells next to 9 members of the Islamic State who wanted to catch [kill] me, and when they did I defended myself. Well, the security of the prison punished me. In addition, these people have all the books they want and I couldn’t even have the books of the UNED [Open University] where I study. Meanwhile, the people of the Islamic State have their Quran, Islamic books, radio, television… These people published my name, my address and everything … what if these ISIS people start killing Spanish people tomorrow? If something happens, the Interior Minister’s hands are stained with blood, because they sell arms to Turkey and Turkey sells weapons to the Islamic State.
Do you think that the aggressions Turkey conducts against the Kurds will intensify?
Turkey has always been a genocidal state, so if I think that there will be an escalation. This will probably lead to civil war, because now some parts of the country have to defend themselves against terrorism.
According to what you have said the Kurdish state, the proposal of the Federation of Northern Syria is spreading to Arab areas where even the majority is not Kurdish such as Qamishli, what does this mean?
You see, what happens is that the Kurds what they are trying is not something ethnic if not political. For example, in the case of Syria, it’s true that people of another ethnic group were sent to try to control the area -who I do not point like criminals because it is normal that all states have migrations of the population-, so the fact that there are Syrian cities, makes the project being developed can no longer be an exclusively Kurdish thing. That is why although from outside can give the impression that it is an ethnic issue, which is walking to is toward something all together facing to a democratic revolution.
ISIS seems to losing territory and has suffered major losses, most recently at Palmyra. Could the war possibly end within a few years?
The problem of the conflict will continue in part by who created it. It really has been the United States who has funded and armed those who rose against Assad and who became the Islamic State. But hey, they already did before with the Taliban. The destruction of the countries has led onto an incredible polarization of society. For example there you have Iraq, before they destroyed, it did not look like the Iraq which is now. And this I can tell you considering a criminal Hussein, one who when he a Communists was catched, he was hanged or one president who gassed the Kurds. But what would, by destroying the country to the point that there are no schools, the conditions for a hate are created, and when someone appears with funding and these criminal thoughts [Wahhabism], the people follows him. Not only is necessary to take their territory, it is necessary too to destroy their criminal ideas. Remember that thousands of people from ISIS are in countries where they don’t control any territory, look France for example. What you need to do is kill those people and especially the root of the problem. What it must be done is that the US should not destroy countries to defend their economic interests, we have to end with the hunger, literacy the people… All this happens by the imperialism.
Bashar al-Assad, what is your opinion about him?
For us, he is a dictator who in his day crushed the Kurds, but he is obviously much better than the Islamic state.
Do you think a solution to the Kurdish conflict could involve Assad?
Look, objectively the main problem is Erdogan [Turkish President]. People are obsessed with Al Assad, but the priority is to stop Erdogan, and to stop his help to the Islamic State which includes letting ISIS fighters cross the border freely. If a real ceasefire happens, and the Islamic State doesn’t exist, Assad will want to negotiate. He has been open to it since the beginning.
Could there be a deal then?
I think so. Moreover, if it were not for Turkey I think would have already been. It would not be like the ceasefire now which is ridiculous, it would really be negotiations. He even respected Kurdish borders at all times.