“What the fuck!”, Bibiana Aido says. We are sitting on leather sofas in a Bogotá basement. A fireplace warms the room. The sound of waterfalls surrounding the building had generated a zen moment that was broken. Aido (Alcalá de los Gazules, 1977) realizes that he has been talking for a long time about something that he does not usually elaborate on, his past. In 2008, President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero summoned him to Moncloa. He listened to it for an hour. At the end, she informed him that she would be the youngest minister in history, at 31 years old, and that she would be in charge of something totally new, the Ministry of Equality. Aido went into shock. Spain, too. All kinds of insults and misrepresentations were written about her that, seen today, 13 years later, make anyone blush. Aido is currently representing UN Women in Colombia.
Question. As a child I sang The International…
Answer. He was six or seven years old; I knew the chorus. It was not common at my age.
P. Did they prepare her for a political horizon, like some parents with soccer kids?
R. No never. My younger sister is not interested in politics.
P. She was sponsored by González, Chaves … She was La Niña.
R. It was more of a legend of the time. I don’t think they influenced my appointment. They are friends and references, but I have never seen them as godparents, nor do I think they have seen me as goddaughter. They called me La Niña because I was very young and very involved in political pacts, in the Socialist Youth. Today we are more aware of a certain gender stereotype that is used with language, in the way we treat people. They would no longer refer to me as La Niña.
P. And your family, how did you spend your time in politics?
R. It was a tough time; I watch her from a great distance. Without regret, because I have a great vocation for public service and I was able to serve my country during that period. I think many things were done, but I see it without any longing. Nobody in my family has longing for that time.
P. She said in this newspaper, shortly after being named, that she was going to be the government’s fucking fly. It was?
R. Certain things were achieved by persistence. Not everything was alliances. We had a very clear commitment from President Zapatero, who was convinced of the gender equality agenda. There were naysayers inside. And society was not at the level of commitment and social awareness of today. The feminist movements are much stronger; They are challenging those asymmetries of power that have brought the world to the point of crisis in which we are today.
P. Are there still many gentlemen in Spain?
R. Politics is still a very masculine space, although we have advanced, it is more balanced than then.
P. Did you enter politics 10 years early?
R. No; I think I had to break some schemes, fall a few times, get up, try to remove the stone from the path so that others that came behind would not fall. I see that stage without any nostalgia, but with the satisfaction and certainty of having done things the best I could.
P. You were made fun of almost daily. Did you feel harassed?
R. Public exposure is part of political life. In the case of women, this exhibition is loaded with gender stereotypes. There continues to be a very high level of political violence against women, not only in Spain. We have data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union for 2018: more than 80% of women parliamentarians suffer psychological violence, almost 45% suffer threats, rapes, physical violence and almost 50% fear for their safety and that of their family.
P. That is a yes?
R. I have already answered you.
P. He coined a phrase against his detractors: “Let them bark.”
R. The resistance grows stronger the further we go. The conflict is never between those who have power and those who do not, but between those who have power and those who are acceding to it. Machismo knows that it has little time left, that it is losing the battle; that’s why he barks more angrily than ever.
P. I know wasapea with Zapatero?
R. He is very concerned and busy with Latin America. For me he is a reference in politics, honest, transparent. Great friend.
P. He has not won much support for mediating in Venezuela.
R. There he develops a responsible work without caring what they will say, without caring about his image.