Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, whose socialist administration has been a staunch supporter of the radical leftist anti-austerity parties rising to prominence in Greece and Spain, claimed on a national broadcast last week that Greek PM ‘Comrade Alexis’ Tsipras has agreed to visit Venezuela and several other socialist Latin American nations.
“I have invited Comrade Alexis to visit us whenever he can,” Maduro said in televised remarks last week. He noted that he had spoken to Tsipras on the telephone, and that the Greek leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza) had “remarked on all the pressures he had.” “They applied the savage neoliberal model– savage– on Greece,” Maduro exclaimed, adding, “now a brave young man has come to rescue the glorious history of the Greek people.”
The Venezuelan government has vocally supported Tsipras’ Syriza coalition in their campaign to fight against paying their debts to the European Union. In separate public comments, Venezuela’s second-in-command, National Assembly head Diosdado Cabello, declared Syriza to be a “Chavista” outfit, claiming that both the victories of Syriza in Greece and the socialist Podemos Party of Spain were proof of “Chavismo traveling around the world.”
Venezuela also joins Russia in extending an invitation to Tsipras to visit. The Russian government announced that President Vladimir Putin had invited Tsipras to visit Moscow “at a convenient time” upon his election to the head of his nation’s government.
Russia also did something Venezuela, with its abysmal economic situation, could not do: promise to review any requests for money from Greece. “Russia is not in a very easy financial situation at the moment due to the unilateral illegitimate line of our Western colleagues… [but] if any appeal from the government of Greece should come, then… it will, of course, be considered,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov this week.
The support Syriza’s coalition government has received from the international left has also come in the form of rallies approving of Tsipras and company’s increasingly belligerent behavior towards the European Union. While Greek and European Union officials are currently attempting talks to negotiation how Greece will pay its debts to the greater continent, the Syriza government has publicly claimed it will not negotiate at all with the EU. Officials from Germany in particular, which largely financed multiple Greek bailouts, have said they are “not optimistic” that Greece will reach an agreement with the European Union at all.
In response to these tensions, leftist elements in Athens organized thousands in the city’s Syntagma Square on Sunday to call for the EU to forgive the debt completely. Greek newspaper Ta Nea also reports large gatherings in Greece’s big cities of Patras and Thessaloniki. The protestors– both in Greece and elsewhere in Europe– posted photos on Twitter with the hashtag “#mazi,” the Greek word for “together.” Many of the signs protesters displayed off-color language both in Greek and English.
— Damian Mac Con Uladh (@damomac) February 16, 2015
— george mastropavlos (@g_mastropavlos) February 16, 2015
— Joanna P. (@Inflammatory_) February 15, 2015
— Derek Gatopoulos (@dgatopoulos) February 11, 2015