March 4, 2024

Screenshots of the university chat rooms where the adviser to the mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, infiltrated.
Screenshots of the university chat rooms where the adviser to the mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, infiltrated.

The PP has taken the elections to the Complutense University of Madrid very seriously. So much so that just a few hours before thousands of students went to the polls ―where the current rector, Joaquín Goyache, won by 54.9% of the votes― an advisor to the City Council of the capital of Spain, Álvaro Crespo , which is part of the mayoral cabinet of José Luis Martínez-Almeida, infiltrated up to at least four WhatsApp groups of students from the Faculty of Political Science to launch hoaxes against Goyache’s adversary, Esther del Campo, current dean of the Faculty of Political Sciences. Crespo launched false statements warning that the Political Sciences faculty itself would be closed on election day and until after Easter due to a supposed breakdown. The objective was that the students of this faculty did not go to vote. He also said in other chats that Juan Carlos Monedero, the co-founder of Podemos, would be the vice-rector of the Complutense if Del Campo won, a hoax denied by Monedero himself. In addition, he also shared a 50-second video where an alleged student named Marta appears with the narration of a voice in off: “I came to this faculty to prepare myself. Esther has made garbage out of the university”. Crespo is not a student. He works as an adviser to Almeida in the City Council in the mayoralty team with a public salary of 50,000 euros gross per year. This newspaper has contacted him and has not yet received a response.

The national president of New Generations, Beatriz Fanjul (i), Isabel Díaz Ayuso (2i), and the elected president of New Generations of the PP of Madrid, Ignacio Dancausa, last November.
The national president of New Generations, Beatriz Fanjul (i), Isabel Díaz Ayuso (2i), and the elected president of New Generations of the PP of Madrid, Ignacio Dancausa, last November.Jesus Hellin 2022 (Europa Press)

This is in addition to the police identification of this Wednesday advanced by EL PAÍS. Several agents of the National Police went to the surroundings of Ciudad Universitaria and identified Crespo himself, the president of Nuevas Generaciones of the PP of Madrid, Ignacio Dancausa, as well as three other advisers to the City Council. They all carried blocks of envelopes and banners in favor of the candidate Goyache, who finally won the elections. The electoral law indicates that no act of electoral campaign can be disseminated or carried out once it has ended. “They were doing electoral propaganda,” according to police sources after the identification.

In the university WhatsApp chats, to which this newspaper has had access, Crespo infiltrates through a web link after 11:00 p.m. on Tuesday. The groups are named after the third and second grade classes of Political Science. They are made up of 49 students and 69, respectively. Crespo also delves into the largest of all, under the name of “UCM Policies” and made up of more than 100 people, where there are students from various stages. In the latter, he infiltrates at 11:20 p.m. through a link to which all students have access. This link is in the group itself. Like an invitation, it is sent via WhatsApp and you are automatically part of the chat. Once inside, in just three minutes, Crespo sends out the following message: “Kids, this has come to me saying that there is no class tomorrow.” “This” is a screenshot of an alleged internal email from the Faculty of Political Sciences – where the dean was facing Goyache, the candidate for whom the PP has campaigned -, which is entitled: “Suspension of activity and closure of the faculty. The body of the text reads: “Due to an error in the repair of the damage suffered on February 27, Canal de Isabel II has proceeded to cut off the water supply throughout the Campus. Consequently, there is no drinking water supply available to keep the services operational, so they have to remain closed. The faculty will remain closed until after Easter and all its activity suspended. We appreciate your understanding and apologize for the inconvenience caused.” It was a lie.

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The text spread like wildfire among the students. This newspaper has spoken with several of those who were part of these chats. Given the growing spread of the hoax among the students, the faculty itself had to come out to deny it with a statement on its social networks the same morning of the vote. “URGENT NOTICE. The Campus has not suffered any new damage. The faculty will remain open at its usual hours. 30 minutes later, the Faculty of Social Work is also a victim of the same hoax and comes out to deny it on its Twitter profile: “NOTICE! Misinformation is being distributed about the closure of the Faculty. It is false, there is no fault”.

In another group, Almeida’s adviser in the City Council releases the aforementioned 50-second recording where a supposed Complutense student announces some images with her voice in off: “I came to this faculty to prepare myself. To have a future. Esther del Campo has turned the Faculty of Politics into a veritable barracks, full of garbage. She encourages wasting time. To avoid it, whether you feel like it or not, you have to vote for Joaquín Goyache so that the Complutense continues to have the prestige it deserves”. In the message, the adviser to the mayor of Madrid says: “Watch this video and I have read that Monedero is going to be appointed vice-rector. What a university they are going to leave us”. He also adds two sad emoticons. Purse came out to deny this hoax days ago.

The WhatsApp group with Almeida’s advisors

Hours before launching these messages, Crespo himself also created a WhatsApp group under the name “AYUDA UCM”. This group included at least four advisers to the City Council: Dolores Montero, adviser to the Works area, Vicente Javier Segura, adviser to the Mayor’s Office, Miguel Ángel Sastre, adviser to the Mayor’s Office, and Jesús Henares, recently graduated in Law and incorporated into the team on February 10, as anticipated by this newspaper. They all earn a public salary of at least 50,000 euros gross per year. In addition to these advisors, another 12 members of Nuevas Generaciones were included for the cause.

In this chat, Crespo writes at 7:42 p.m. on Tuesday: “Hello to all compis and friends. I don’t know if they will have told all your bosses, but tomorrow we need help from the party, that Serrano and the president ask the youngest of us who work in admin (for Administration), so that we can go to the UCM tomorrow for the matter of the elections for rector. In a while I’ll tell you to see how we fit everything. Thank you”.

Serrano is Alfonso Serrano, the general secretary of the Popular Party of Madrid and Ayuso’s right-hand man. The president is Ayuso herself. Posting the message, several advisers launched the thumbs up smiley. Immediately afterwards, another message is added indicating the time and place of the meeting: “We meet at 10:30 at the Ciudad Universitaria Metro exit.”

Sources from the Madrid City Council explain by telephone that these events have nothing to do with the Madrid mayor’s office, despite the fact that their advisers have gone to Ciudad Universitaria during working hours. “Just like they can miss two hours on a Wednesday, they also work on weekends when they are required to do so. His schedule allows this situation ”, they emphasize. Sources of the PP in Madrid argue that they have “always” remained “respectful” and that no directive has been given or any decision or action taken for the benefit of any candidacy.

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