Latin American Leaders Congratulate Greece on Referendum Win

Source:  TeleSUR

6 July 2015

Leaders from across the region issued their congratulations to the Greek people following the historic referendum.

latam leaders congratulate tsiprasLatin American leaders have congratulated the Greek government and its people, following Sunday’s historic referendum, in which voters elected to reject debt austerity proposals by their European lenders.

A victory against the financial terrorism carried out by the IMF

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, describing the result tweeted, “The ‘no’ vote in Greece is a victory against the financial terrorism carried out by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).”

The beginning of the liberation of the European people

Bolivia’s left-wing president, Evo Morales, said, “I congratulate the great Greek people for the victory of “no” … which is a defeat of European imperialism. It is the beginning of the liberation of the European people. My respect and admiration for the historic Greek people, the birthplace of democracy. The Greek people have defeated the harshest capitalism”

Majority support of the Greek people for the courageous policy of your government

Cuba’s Raul Castro also sent a message to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras saying “I extend sincere congratulations on the victory of the No vote in the referendum …that result shows the majority support of the Greek people for the courageous policy of your government. I reiterate my highest consideration and esteem.”

Solidarity with the brave Greek people and their Government

Argentine President Cristina Kirchner also lent her support to the Greek people.  She tweeted:  “On behalf of our People and Government, our solidarity with the brave Greek people and their Government.”

Ecuador’s foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño, tweeted the overwhelming vote against the proposed austerity measures by European creditors represented “solid backing” for Greece’s prime minister, Alexis Tsipras: “In Greece, the vote against the policies of cuts the creditors asked for won 61%, giving solid backing to Prime Minister Tsipras.”

A debt audit that found the country’s debt illegal and illegitimate

Ecuador, like Greece, held a debt audit that found the country’s debt illegal and illegitimate and that later led to the South American nation substantially reducing its repayments to creditors. Ahead of the vote, Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, said Greece should ignore the advice of the IMF and international financial bureaucracies

Source:  Latin American Leaders Congratulate Greece on Referendum Win TeleSUR

Message from Raúl to Prime Minister of Greece on referendum victory

Source:  Granma
Havana

raul 65July 5, 2015

Compañero Alexis Tsipras
Prime Minister
Hellenic Republic

Esteemed Prime Minister:

I extend to you my most sincere congratulations on the ‘NO’ victory achieved in the referendum held in Greece, July 5, 2015

This result demonstrates the majority support of the Greek people for the courageous policy of the government over which you preside.

I reiterate the assurance of my highest consideration.

Raúl Castro Ruz
President of the Councils of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba

Source:  Message from Raúl to Prime Minister of Greece  Granma

Fidel’s letter of congratulation to Greek PM on referendum result

Source:  enikos.gr

fidel votes in local elections 2015Hon. Mr. Alexis Tsipras
Prime Minister of Greece:

I congratulate you warmly on your brilliant political victory, details (of which) were followed closely on the Telesur channel.

Greece is very familiar among Cubans. It taught philosophy, art and science of antiquity when we studied in school, and with them, the most complex of all human activities: the art and science of politics.

Your country, especially its courage at this juncture, arouses admiration among Latin American and Caribbean peoples of this hemisphere to see how Greeks, against external aggression, defend their identity and culture. Nor (should we) forget that a year after Hitler’s attack on Poland, Mussolini ordered his troops to invade Greece, and that brave country repelled the attack and drove back the invaders, forcing the deployment of German armored units towards Greece, deviating from the initial target.

Cuba knows the value and the fighting capacity of the Russian troops, which, together with the strength of their powerful ally the People’s Republic of China, and other nations of the Middle East and Asia, always try to avoid war, but never allow any military aggression without overwhelming and devastating response.

In the current political situation in the world, where peace and the survival of our species hang in the balance, every decision, more than ever, must be carefully developed and implemented, so that no one can doubt the honesty and seriousness of many of the most responsible and serious leaderships’ struggle today to face the calamities that threaten the world.

We wish you, esteemed colleague Alexis Tsipras, the greatest success.

Sincerely,

Fidel Castro Ruz

Source:  Fidel Castro’s letter to Tsipras  enikos.gr

Greeks Say ‘No’ to Troika Bailout Terms by Wide Margin

With over 99 percent of the votes counted, Greeks have clearly rejected the austerity reforms demanded by European lenders.

Streets in cities across Greece have erupted into celebrations as results from Sunday’s referendum showed voters clearly rejecting the bailout terms put forward by the country’s lenders.

The ‘No’ side is leading in the non-binding referendum by over 60 percent, and are ahead in every electoral district in the country. The margin in the results is much larger than projected.

Greek Referendum Results

pie chart 4a2greeks celebrate referendum victoryAlexis Tsipras votesMore than 10 million people were eligible to participate in the vote, which was called by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras after bailout talks with European lenders failed. The Syriza government also responded by closing the banks and imposing capital controls after announcing it would not make the June 30 deadline for repayment to the IMF.

According to teleSUR correspondents, voter turnout was registered at 70 percent with polling stations closed at 19:00 (local time). In order for the referendum results to be valid, the voter turnout must reach 40 percent.

The referendum in Greece has taken place without any incidents, the Greek Interior Ministry said in a statement Sunday. “Until now, there have been no complaints or reports about the problems during the voting in the referendum,” the statement said.

“Today is a day of celebration because democracy is a cause to celebrate, to be joyful. And when democracy conquers fear and blackmail, then it also leads to redemption, and a way forward,” Tsipras said in a statement after casting his vote in Sunday’s Referendum.

greeks celebrate referendum victory 2

greeks celebrate referendum victory 3

"No" supporters hold a banner during celebrations in Athens, Greece July 5, 2015.  REUTERS/Dimitris Michalakis

“No” supporters hold a banner during celebrations in Athens, Greece July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Dimitris Michalakis

Leading up to the vote, Tsipras urged the people to vote “No”, saying it would strengthen his left-wing government’s position in talks with international creditors also known as the troika, comprised of the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.

“Many may try to ignore the will of a government. But no one can ignore the will of a people who are seeking to live with dignity, to live life on their own terms,” said Tsipras after casting his ballot Sunday. The left-wing leader and his Syriza government have been trying to keep their anti-austerity pledges that propelled them to victory in the country’s January general elections.

long live greek democracyDespite pushing a “Yes” on the bailout deal, European leaders acknowledged that the offer from European creditors may not be on the table following the Greek vote. The current crisis has sent shock waves through the world’s financial markets, which fear the repercussions of a ‘Grexit’ from the Euro.

Source:  Greeks Say ‘No’ to Troika Bailout Terms by Wide Margin  TeleSUR

Greece: The IMF has “criminal responsibility” for the country’s debt crisis

Source:  theguardian.com
Ian Traynor in Brussels and Helena Smith in Athens
16 June 2015

Greece’s prime minister has said the International Monetary Fund has “criminal responsibility” for the country’s debt crisis as it emerged Athens could miss a €1.6bn (£1.15bn) payment to the lender this month.

Speaking in the Greek parliament Alexis Tsipras called on creditors to reassess the IMF’s insistence on tough cuts as part of the country’s bailout.

“The time has come for the IMF’s proposals to be judged not just by us but especially by Europe,” he said. “Right now, what dominates is the IMF’s harsh views on tough measures, and Europe’s on denying any discussion over debt viability.”

A political plan

He added: “The fixation on cuts … is most likely part of a political plan … to humiliate an entire people that has suffered in the past five years through no fault of its own.”

Earlier it emerged Greece was threatening to miss this month’s €1.6bn debt repayment to the International Monetary Fund this month, in a move that would bring it closer to default and ejection from the euro.

“The government will not pay the IMF, if by the end of the month an agreement hasn’t been achieved with lenders,” Alexis Tsipras is reported to have told opposition party leader, Stavros Theodorakis, during talks between the two in Athens today.

Eurozone finance ministers meet in Luxembourg on Thursday for what has been billed as the latest “last-chance” for an agreement, but the negotiating atmosphere is at a nadir since Tsipras came to power in January, talks are at stalemate and hopes of a breakthrough are slim.

Challenging the legitimacy of the negotiations

The eurozone and the European commission said they will only negotiate if Greece tables serious new proposals on fiscal targets, including pensions reforms and liberalisation of the labour market. But Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek finance minister, said he would not take any new proposals to Luxembourg and challenged the legitimacy of the negotiations.

The Greek politician’s threat of default now raises the game of poker a notch further.

“It was said in the manner of “can’t pay, won’t pay,” a senior member of Theodorakis’ centrist Potami party told the Guardian. “If there isn’t an agreement the money simply won’t be there.”

Other aides quoted Tsipras as saying that in the event of an agreement not being achieved non-payment would be the “only route” Greece could take.

Irreconcilable positions

Talks ground to a halt in Brussels last weekend when the Greek team showed up at the commission but no negotiations took place because of irreconcilable positions. Both sides say they are willing to negotiate but are waiting for offers from the other side.

Earlier this month, Greece became the first country after Zambia – and the first-ever advanced western economy – to miss an IMF payment, resorting to legislation that allows members to “bundle up” loans by paying them in full at the end of the month.

Greece’s current bailout expires on 30 June, the same day it is due to repay the IMF. Without agreement extending the rescue package and freeing up to €19bn in bailout funds tied to Greek reforms, Athens will run out of cash.

The crisis should be resolved by political leaders, not technocrats

The German tabloid Bild reported that the Greek government had discovered a way of deferring the IMF payment until the end of the year. Greek officials denied the report.

With the chances of a deal on Thursday fading fast, there was talk in Brussels of convening an emergency eurozone summit between Friday and next Monday. That would suit Tsipras who regularly insists that the crisis should be resolved by political leaders, not technocrats.

There is an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday next week. The summit has to grapple with major issues such as David Cameron’s in/out referendum on the EU, sanctions on Russia, and the Mediterranean refugee emergency. Leaders, especially Angela Merkel, do not want next week’s summit hijacked by Greece. But that appears inevitable without a breakthrough.

Refusing to pay the IMF would not formally put Greece in default on its huge government debts – since the IMF is not a commercial lender – but it would represent a big step towards that eventuality and open the question as to whether Greece, without an agreement with the eurozone, will be able to redeem more than €3bn of bonds at the European Central Bank next month.

EU leaders are for the first time talking openly about Greek default and its ejection from the euro.

Valdis Dombrovskis, vice-president of the European commission, said eurozone leaders were discussing “less favourable scenarios” for Greece, while the Finnish prime minister, Juha Sipila, said an agreement with Greece now would require a miracle.

“The possibility of (Greek) insolvency was discussed in the sidelines of the EU summit last week. Several countries have mentally prepared for it,” she said.

Source:  Eurozone braces for Greek exit as Athens threatens to miss IMF payment  The Guardian

Greece: Tspiras Commits to End ‘Failed’ Austerity Policies

The Greek prime minister made clear that a Syriza government would follow through on its campaign promises and rollback austerity policies.

No 741831In his first major speech as prime minister Sunday, Alexis Tsipras reaffirmed his government’s commitment to end the country’s “cruel” austerity program and begin to heal the “wounds” caused by the reforms imposed by previous governments.

“The first priority of this government … is tackling the big wounds of the bailout, tackling the humanitarian crisis, just as we promised to do before the elections,” declared Tsipras.

Reversing neoliberal policies

The Greek prime minister listed a series of measures his government will embark on, including: ending mass layoffs, while reinstating laid off public sector workers; immediately reintroducing collective wage bargaining; introducing a law to stop home foreclosures; and ending to the “crime” of selling off state property.

He also stated that the government would offer free energy, housing and health care to the “victims of the cruelty of the bailout.”

Fiercely opposed to the continuation of austerity policies

Tsipras also made clear that his government is fiercely opposed to an extension of the bailout package, as an extension would mean the continuation of the austerity policies that Greek voters rejected in elections. Instead the government is seeking to reach a deal on a temporary so-called “bridge” agreement within the next 15 days to keep Greece afloat.

“The Greek people gave a strong and clear mandate to immediately end austerity and change policies,” said Tspiras. “Therefore the bailout was first canceled by its very own failure and its destructive results.”

The British newspaper the Guardian, reported that the former head of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, said that it was only a matter of time before the country left the eurozone. Greenspan was one of the major architects behind the international banking system that led to the 2007 financial crisis.

Greece and the eurozone

However, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said Sunday that forcing Greece out of the eurozone would result in the collapse of the whole currency bloc. He contends that Greece is not the only country facing difficulties paying its loans.

“The euro is fragile, it’s like building a castle of cards, if you take out the Greek card the others will collapse,” Varoufakis told Italian state television network RAI.

The new Greek government may have found an unlikely ally in the United States. The Financial Times reported Sunday that the Obama administration has been lobbying eurozone leaders to compromise more with Greece’s new government.

Policymakers in the U.S. appear to be concerned that a protracted budget standoff could damage the global economy.

Some members of the eurozone, particularly Germany, have taken a hardline stance and insist that Greece must press on with its budget-cutting commitments.

“There are limits to how much austerity a society can withstand,” the Financial Times cited a senior U.S. official as saying.

U.S. officials are expected to raise their concerns about the standoff with Greece at this week’s meeting of the Group of 20’s finance ministers in Istanbul, Turkey, and during bilateral meetings in Washington, D.C., Monday between Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Financial Times reported.

Source:  Tspiras Commits to End ‘Failed’ Austerity Policies in Greece  TeleSUR