Greece: SYRIZA leader hails Venezuela's anti-capitalist example

June 17, 2012

In the June 17 elections, anti-austerity Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) came a close second with 26.9% of the vote. The right-wing New Democracy came first with more than 29%, amid huge blackmail and threats from major governments and financial institutions, and will now attempt to form a coalition government.

SYRIZA's vote rose just over 10 points from the May 6 poll, after which no party was able to form government. In the 2007 elections, SYRIZA won about 5% -- its drastic rise a sign of widespread rejection of the bail-out package and associated savage austerity measures imposed on the people of Greece.

The article below is reprinted from Venezuelan left-wing website Aporrea. It has been translated by Owen Richards and first appeared at his Venezuela: Translating the Revolution site.

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During an interview with Latin American TV station Telesur on June 12, the leader of the Greek left-wing coalition SYRIZA, Alexis Tsipras, pointed to Venezuela as a model to follow to leave behind the capitalist model dominant in Europe.

“The example of Venezuela is characteristic,” Tsipras said. “[Venezuela's socialist president] Hugo Chavez was able to achieve important things for his country through a peaceful process. He carried out the nationalisation of the natural sources of production. And he did so while under the constant attacks of the big end of town.”

He pointed out that for many years, Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela had followed the same recipe of neoliberal shock measures that are being applied to Greece today.

Tsipras insisted that the Greek debt “is an old story, nothing new”, and has been accumulating for a long time. He said it “formed at the base of a model that was based on borrowing” and extreme consumerism.

“No one expected that in 2012, Greece would be at the threshold of a humanitarian crisis … left with debts we couldn’t pay.

“Greece wasn’t ready to enter the eurozone. We’re still paying off debt from the Olympic games and corruption … all those years of development, those years, a bit before and a bit after entering the euro we were left without a social reserve.”

Tsipras said that the social, economic and political development of Latin America is a “shining example” that he would consider if elected prime minister in the June 17 general election.

“Chavez would not be in power today if his people had not supported him when those dark forces carried out their coup to overthrow him.” In 2002, a military coup backed by the United States and Venezuelan capitalists was defeated by a popular uprising of the poor and many soldiers.

“We too know that here a dark past confronts a hopeful future (…) our greatest opponents aren’t [New Democracy's Antonis] Samaras and [PASOK's Evangelos] Venizelos; our opponents are the forces of the financial power of bank capital.”

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