Ignacio Arsuaga Rato (*1973) is a Spanish lawyer and ultra-Catholic campaigner, who serves as president and CEO of the Spanish anti-abortion platform HazteOir.org ("Make Yourself Heard"), and also as president of the ultra-conservative CitizenGO foundation and petition platform, active in 50 countries.
Arsuaga is a trained lawyer and a member of the Bar Association in Madrid, his hometown, where he lives with his wife and five children. He was brought up in a Catholic family, with his uncle being the former vice president of the Spanish government and former manager of the IMF, Rodrigo Rato.1
Arsuaga says that he had his religious calling in 1991 during a pilgrimage to the city of Czestochowa in southern Poland on a World Youth Day.1 "There I became aware that Jesus Christ, the Church and faith are not only a moral code or doing good to others, but there is a person who loves me madly, wants my salvation and is waiting for me in the tabernacle," he explained in an interview to the religious portal Camino Católico.
Arsuaga graduated in law at the Universidad Pontificia de Comillas (ICADE),2 a private Catholic university run by the Society of Jesus. According to his CV he has worked for multinational companies such as Andersen and American Express. In 1998, Arsuaga made his masters degree in International Law at the Fordham University, New York. That year, according to his CV, "Arsuaga became familiar with the American grassroots movements and studied specifically their lobbying activities and the tools they used for citizen involvement in politics and the public arena. Based on his American experience, Mr. Arsuaga founded HazteOir.org in 2001."2
HazteOir.org is a Spanish ultraconservative platform rallying against an imputed "gender ideology," and all its alleged causes and ramifications: feminism, contraception, abortion, divorce or gay rights.
Initially, HazteOir.org was created as an online petition website but over the years grew into a powerful ultraconservative lobby. Its first petition demanded from the Spanish Government more efforts to support married couples and families, but over the years it has extended its scope including the organization of mass rallies against abortion. According to Arsuaga, HazteOir.org has currently approximately 550,000 members who participate in its campaigns.2
According to his CV, Arsuaga has been a professor of "New Technologies and Citizen Participation" at the graduate program "Master of Political Action" at the University Francisco de Vitoria (Madrid). He was awarded a Masters of Applied Political Studies, a degree conferred by the Secretary of State of the Spanish Government.3 In 2007, he participated as a speaker at a Symposium on e-Democracy, organized by the Council of Europe (Strassbourg).
In May 2012, HazteOír organized the 6th edition of the World Congress of Families (WCF) in Madrid. During the following 7th WCF congress in Sydney Ignacio Arsuaga was awarded the title “Man of the year in defense of the natural family.”4 In May 2013, HazteOir was declared an organization of public interest by Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz (Partido Popular),5 which gave it tax and economic benefits, as well as free legal aid.6
In October 2015, the leader of the HazteOir platform also became editor of Actuall, a digital medium whose philosophy is "to promote the participation of citizens in the defense of human rights, from conception to natural death."17
In 2017, a hacker group called ACAB Gang was hacking the servers of HazteOir and subsequently published the roughly 20,000 documents and several databases amounting to over 20GB of data. "They lay out in detail the lobby's strategic planning, from internal reports, contact lists, court cases, to financial documents. There's also a great deal of private information concerning chairman Ignacio Arsuaga, including his private calls."8
Arsuaga's communication reveals that he had his son doing a hormone treatment in order to prevent that he becomes a homosexual.8
Arsuaga also serves as a member the Selection Committee of the World Congress of Families. During the 2019 holding of the WCF, Arsuaga can be seen together with Matteo Salvini on a picture, both having been speakers at the conference.9
- 1. a. b. c. Joaquín Vera, " Ignacio Arsuaga, el líder iluminado de HazteOir contra la 'inquisición gay,'" El Español, March 4, 2017, https://www.elespanol.com/reportajes/20170303/197980564_0.html.
- 2. a. b. c. Ignacio Arsuaga's CV, https://www.dropbox.com/s/flczv5k88j6ad3u/CV%20IAR%20in%20English.docx?dl=0.
- 3. "WCF Profiles in Leadereship: Ignacio Arsuaga," World Congress of Families Newsletter, Vol. 3, Nr. 9, November 2009, https://web.archive.org/web/20101230020703/http://www.worldcongress.org/wcfnl/pdf/2009/wcfnl.0909.pdf.
- 4. “Ignacio Arsuaga, ‘Hombre del Año en defensa de la familia natural,’” El Imparcial, January 29, 2013, https://www.elimparcial.es/noticia/117790/sociedad/ignacio-arsuaga-hombre-del-ano-en-defensa-de-la-familia-natural.html.
- 5. Iván Gil, “¿Quién conduce el autobús de HazteOir? De la secta ultra El Yunque al pariente de Rato,” El Confidencial, March 2, 2017, https://www.elconfidencial.com/espana/2017-03-02/quien-es-hazte-oir-autobus-transfobo-el-yunque_1341111/.
- 6. “La Utilidad Pública,” Fundación Gestión y Participación Social, April 18, 2011, http://www.asociaciones.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=658&Itemid=41.
- 7. "Publicaciones por Ignacio Arsuaga Rato," Actuall, https://www.actuall.com/author/iarsuaga/.
- 8. a. b. La Imilla Hacker, "HAZTEOIRLEAKS: INTERVIEWING ACABgang!," El Desarmador, April 7, 2017, https://eldesarmador.org/hazteoirleaks-entrevista-a-acabgang-en.html.
- 9. "Speakers," World Congress of Families XIII, Verona, 29-31 March, 2019, https://wcfverona.org/en/speakers/.