Fidel Castro Cheers “Political Victory” of Greek PM

Fidel Castro.  Foto: escambray.cu
Fidel Castro. Foto: escambray.cu

HAVANA TIMES (dpa) — Former Cuban President Fidel Castro, who championed a non-payment movement on Latin American foreign debt back in the 1980s, congratulated today the Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, for his “political victory” in the referendum in Greece on Sunday that rejected a new austerity plan.

“I warmly congratulate you on your brilliant political victory, the details of which I followed closely via Telesur,” Castro wrote in a letter published today on the official Cubadebate website.

Fidel also said that Greece “arouses admiration among Latin American and Caribbean peoples,” by the way it defends “its identity and culture” against “external threats,” referring to the current crisis in the euro zone.

Castro, who retired from nearly a half century leading Cuba in 2006, also wished Tsipras “the greatest success”. The Greek PM announced today that his government will return to the negotiating table with international creditors regarding the aid his country needs to stay afloat.

The Greeks rejected on Sunday by more than 61 percent the austerity measures and spending cuts demanded by Greece’s international creditors, led by Germany, to grant more loans.

The victory of the “no” in the referendum called by Tsipras has raised fears that Greece will have to leave the euro, the common currency of the European Union (EU).

Raul Castro, the current president of Cuba, also congratulated Tsipras today. The “no” vote in the referendum “shows the majority support of the Greek people to the courageous policy of the government over which you preside,” wrote the younger brother of Fidel Castro.

Other Latin American leaders including Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, and Bolivia’s Evo Morales, also publicly expressed support for Tsipras.

 

 


36 thoughts on “Fidel Castro Cheers “Political Victory” of Greek PM

  • July 18, 2015 at 12:36 pm
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    Now is the time for Fidel Castro Ruz to send a further letter of congratulations to Alexis Tsipras and little brother Raul can add a post script.

  • July 15, 2015 at 7:55 am
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    The Greek government lied about the state of their finances. The creditors lent the money on the false assumption that the government of Greece was honest. Now they know that they were lied to, the creditor states of the EU are unwilling to lead Greece anymore money without an ironclad agreement to manage the Greek economy responsibly.

    To write off the debt is to reward malfeasance and fraud. Spain & Italy are watching what happens in the negotiations with Greece. If the Greeks are given a free pass, then the Spaniard and Italians will demand the same. That would be the end of the EU and and the start of a deep European economic and political crisis.

  • July 12, 2015 at 3:51 pm
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    Fidel Castro cheers “Political Victory” of Greek PM.
    Where is the Greek PM today?
    Seeking to borrow even more that the Eurozone, ECB and IMF offered and which Greeks rejected, with his Finance Minister describing them as “terrorists”.
    Come on Fidel, what price your support now and what would you advise PM Tsipras to do?
    Speak up!

  • July 11, 2015 at 4:41 pm
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    too much technology ,spell check defeated very sorry no offense” strongest ever ”
    should have read.
    Thank you

  • July 11, 2015 at 4:32 pm
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    This photograph is by far the srongest ever ,the eyes of a truth.

  • July 11, 2015 at 9:26 am
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    Your ad hominem attacks are beneath the quality and aim of this debate. NOTHING I have ever written supports such a heinous terrorist act. Your display of “keyboard courage” betrays an inadequacy to defend your position on its merits. Nothing that has been published for public consumption offers proof that the CIA authorized this or any airline bombing. Conspiracy theorists have a right to your opinion but it remains only that. …an opinion.

  • July 11, 2015 at 6:27 am
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    MOSES, you seem to like the “kind of democracy” that supports the terrorist bombing of Cubana Flight 455 and it’s aftermath. I don’t. My knowledge of it is based on Peter Kornbluh and the declassified FBI and CIA documents he has posted on the U. S. National Security Archive website. I’M SURE YOU ARE A BETTER SOURCE, HOWEVER.

  • July 11, 2015 at 1:24 am
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    Yes Dani, see Step 2 above! But why should Greece be allowed to live on other folks money? Perhaps because they elect socialist governments?

  • July 11, 2015 at 1:18 am
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    Greece is back again seeking to borrow from the IMF and ECB. Germany is a capitalist country. Where is socialism working? North Korea? Cuba? Syria? Venezuela? Argentina?

  • July 11, 2015 at 1:13 am
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    So after all this, where is Tsipras now? On his way to try to borrow another E53 billion from the “terrorists”, the evil ECB and that much condemned by socialist thinkers, the IMF.
    Where and when can we expect Fidel Castro Ruz to offer further congratulations on another “brilliant political victory”?
    The Greek people put their faith in Tsipras and his socialist thinking twice – and now comes pay day!
    When will Fidel comment upon the activities of the Chinese stock market controlled by the Xi government and millions of Chinese being impoverished?

  • July 10, 2015 at 10:33 am
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    my friends .
    The IMF and ECB is nothing more than tools of slavery , it is what the 1% the controls the 1 % need to have leverage to do whatever they want to certain population .
    I saw a video clip of a member from the European political establishment ,I believe it was from the sixties in black and white , his statement was more or less as follow and I quote (send us someone to unite us weather from heaven or hell )
    European desire for unity made them reckless , after all Europeans fought wars among themselves where unification was part of the argument .
    In my opinion the Greek people are nothing more then victims off policies which is out of there control .
    If you were to look at history of American business for example the railroads , nuclear and large construction projects.
    you will notice one common denominator , capitalist wants to take the profit and leave the liabilities to someone else , as its going on right now with the nuclear industry in the U S .
    And I will say to hell with them , it is time they practice what they preach and take responsibility for their own actions , so they lose some no big deal , they will survive it happened all through human history , except this time capitalism become parasitic .
    If you look at the real estate market today it is more or less stable , buying a house those days requires 25 % down , before the economic crisis banks where given out half a million dollar loan on a utility receipt , if you could breathe you got the money , the difference between then and now is old fashioned discipline ,laying it right there in front of someone is exactly the policy that drug dealers do to get someone addicted , capitalist system did the same thing , the capitalist system bears all the blame for what happened to Greece and everywhere else , after all money was borrowed from the capitalist and not from the socialist , rules and requirements should have been set before the money was given out .
    when all of those with good credit we’re giving credit business was drying out ,bankers lowered the bar and started dumping cash right left and center,
    keep in mind that the average American education is 9th grade , to the majority of the public that includes the Greek , complicated decisions involve money is a simple one do I have it or I don’t without thinking of the future .
    The amount of manipulation that the capitalist system inflicted on the average borrower equals to brainwash.
    The idea that we need to trust greedy capitalist system and turn over our lives is hogwash , simply put it they are too greedy to be trusted .
    Therefore a civilized socialized society is the only way to guarantee peaceful coexistence .
    To me it is painful to see hungry people in the streets begging for money , human dignity is everything.
    once I was at a fast food joint , and a senior citizen was standing next to the trash can asking people if he could have what they were about to throw away this is happening in the richest country on the planet ,
    Germany today is what the capitalist system looks at as a socialist society , they happen to be the most successful economy on the planet today , they have rules and regulations that cannot be imagined in the US , Socialism works what it needs people who believe in it and willing to make it work .

  • July 10, 2015 at 2:05 am
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    When you lend money to someone you take a risk and for that risk you take a massive interest. It’s as much the fault of the creditors lending money without first checking the ability of the country to repay. They should cut their losses and write off most of the debt.

  • July 9, 2015 at 10:17 pm
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    Bingo! That’s your problem. …wait for it. …you think that there are only two sides to all things Cuban. You know who else thinks that? Fidel Castro. He said, “Inside the revolution, everything. Against the revolution, nothing”. I know nearly one hundred Cubans in Miami. I don’t know even one of them who is pro-BATISTA. That’s a silly argument that you keep making. I am on the side of free and open elections in Cuba, a legal and independent press, freedom of speech and assembly. On your list, who is on that side?

  • July 9, 2015 at 8:19 pm
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    Nidal, it is about balance. Those CEO salaries have no basis in reality. It is absurd that they take such salaries As to the banks, I have no sympathy for them. Greece needs to stop living off loans and start collecting taxes.

  • July 9, 2015 at 5:51 pm
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    Moses, anything that departs from the Cuban narrative as espoused by pro-Batistia/pro-Mafia enemies of Cuba is, I guess, “naive” to you. I’m quite familiar with Felipe Perez Roque and Carlos Lage, two of Fidel’s favorite people till — rightly or wrongly — he felt they betrayed the revolution. Raul turned 84 and Fidel is almost 89. What about vilifying Diaz-Canel, Vidal, and the leader of the island’s twentysomethings, Cristina Escobar. Controlling the narrative, even in a democracy, can make the Mafia look like Mother Teresa angels. It’s time someone besides propagandists controlled the Cuban narrative in the U. S. I still say it was wrong for Emilio Milian, the great Cuban-American newsman, to get car-bombed because he complained about terrorism against innocent Cubans. The same for Jim DeFede, the great Miami Herald columnist, who got fired for excoriating Miami members of Congress for supporting/protecting terrorists. If I ever, in this forum, see you take the side of Milian, DeFede, etc., as opposed to Batista, Lansky, Posada, etc., I will salute you. There are two sides to the Cuban conundrum, not just the one that sates the revenge, economic, and political motives of a few.

  • July 9, 2015 at 4:06 pm
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    I have repeatedly criticized US policies towards Cuba from the Monroe Doctrine onwards and especially the embargo which I have described repeatedly as counter to US interests as it has provided a scapegoat for the Castro family regime to explain that all the negative things which occur in Cuba are a consequence of the embargo, and by so doing escape responsibility for their own policies, decisions and incompetence. If you Rich are suggesting that the Castro family regime and the Communist Party of Cuba are not communist (ie: commies) and that what they are practicing is democracy, then I should explain that my support is for parliamentary democracy not for one-party states which obviously represents your view of democracy. Note that I say one-party states – irrespective of left or right. In my view there is little point in votes when there is no choice.
    It is in my view ridiculous to suggest that democracy-lovers and commies are synonymous.
    I refer to your comment about the “tact of accusing democracy-lovers as being “commies” has mostly been condemned in recent decades”
    I speak as a democracy-lover who supports the freedom of the individual, not the system of dictatorship over the “mass”. I respect your passion for the latter but do not support it.

  • July 9, 2015 at 3:45 pm
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    Nidal Shedadeh to state that the mess in Greece (constructed by the Greeks) is no different from every other country is obviously incorrect. If correct, then every other country would be in the same mess. The obvious answer to those like you who blame the lender for the failure of the borrower to pay interest, let alone repay the debt which they chose to incur, is to not lend money when they come with their begging bowl. The logical argument for you to support is for other countries, the IMF and ECB to not lend any more to Greece, but to let it resolve its own problems.
    The mess that Greece is in is a consequence of its own decisions – it chose to borrow and having done so, chose to borrow more – ad infinitum. Just a Cuba is in debt to China and will be expected to pay interest and make repayments. The decision by the Castro family regime to borrow from other countries is the decision of the regime which constantly seeks what it describes as foreign investment but over which it seeks to maintain control.
    Time for you to take a class in basic economics and to understand that a countries economy is its production.

  • July 9, 2015 at 3:02 pm
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    Bam….well said!

  • July 9, 2015 at 8:03 am
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    So only democracy as you define democracy qualifies? Sen. Joe McCarthy exercised his version of democracy. As hateful as it seemed, it was also ‘democratic’. You keep referring to the Flt.455 tragedy as if you have proof connecting it to the US government. Obviously you don’t. Castro – bootlickers who claim to love democracy seem to only love the style of democracy that agrees with them.

  • July 9, 2015 at 7:47 am
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    Your rambling comment never made it’s point. The business of America is BUSINESS. We would do business with the Devil himself if there was profit in it. Until the embargo is lifted no real business will take place. In the meantime, transportation and information services which touch on the periphery may seem exciting but do little to change economic conditions. READ THIS PART CAREFULLY: Until Cuba begins to build products for export to attract hard currency, the economy will not grow significantly. “Miami Cubans” are key to Cuba’s future. It has been their remittances that have kept Cuba afloat since the collapse of the Soviet Union. It will be their investment capital that moves Cuba forward. By the way, the list of Cubans you claim are the dealmakers of the future are simply mouthpieces. The Castro family mafia would never empower their true replacements with the visibility these puppets currently enjoy. Do you remember Feliz Roque and all the hype he enjoyed? Your comment is also naive.

  • July 8, 2015 at 10:32 pm
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    This mess the Greek find there country in is no different from any other country , it was and is the big banks who manipulated everybody to get their way , keep in mind we’re talking about merchants of death.
    How many average citizen in any country have much to say about the interest rate ?
    United States like to claim capitalist and not a socialist government except when it comes to corporate welfare queens .
    With the economy crisis that we went through , why didn’t the capitalist system take care of their own?
    Companies in capitalist system should have been allowed to fold , someone else will come along and taking there place , instead of average people get the pockets picked by the big bank and their puppets cropped politicians who are owned by the bank.
    Read the following parts of an article that I came cross
    William Milnes became a poster boy for runaway executive pay when he retired as CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont in 2008 with a $7.2 million golden parachute. In the media firestorm that followed, Milnes retreated to his Florida residence. But he resurfaced last year when he sued his former employer for an additional $575,000 in severance pay he says BCBS still owes him.
    Is it right for the capitalist system to pay CEOs Multimillion dollar packages at the same time his employees averaging $50,000 a year , is it right for someone responsible for health care slashes benefits of sick patients so he could increase his pocketbook .
    come on where does it end , the so-called capitalist system is based on slavery we may not see individuals tied with chains or punished using whips and cannonballs
    The capitalist system is based on a lot of people losing so a handful of parasites can make it ,
    Keeping in mine the one percent that controls the one percent that controls all of humanity to me there nothing more than parasites .

  • July 8, 2015 at 8:57 pm
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    Moses, after the Castro clocks “run out,” it is already apparent that non-Castros such as Miguel Diaz-Canel, Josefina Vidal, and Cristina Escobar will determine the future of Cuba. Oh, I know that Americans are being told that Marco Rubio will be Cuba’s future, especially if and when he or Jeb Bush becomes Commander-in-Chief. But all the Senators, Governors, and Mayors visiting Cuba in recent days seem to understand that the Castros are very, very old and non-Cubans are effecting the monumental changes on the island. Such visitors, you might note, are.requesting upfront to meet Diaz-Canel, Vidal, and…as with the Atlanta mayor last week…the brilliant 26-year-old Cuban journalist Cristina Escobar. Miami Cubans, of course, will ride the anti-Castro propaganda for all its worth right to the end, and it’s worth a lot politically and economically as the Miami Cubans well know. But propagandizing America for the past six decades has been a lot easier than recapturing Cuba. And, Moses, that is not a “tired old line” because it is quite topical. It seems most of the world — including Cardival Cruise Lines, Jet Blue, and all the other business people seeking commercial ties to Cuba — understand that. Yet, I can understand how letting go of the status quo might hurt the political, economic, and revenge motives of…a few.

  • July 8, 2015 at 8:39 pm
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    Carlyle, my passion is democracy. I think America’s right-wing Cuban policy since 1898,,.and especially since 1952…has done more to harm the image of the U. S. and democracy than any other single thing. Cubana Flight 455 is a prime example, but far from being the only one. Taking the Nixon-McCarthy tact of accusing democracy-lovers as being “commies” has mostly been condemned in recent decades, Carlyle. So, be more original.

  • July 8, 2015 at 5:24 pm
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    I agree with the old man that it was a brilliant political win for Tsipras. Giant loss for the people that need Tsipras removed. Greece is a socialist country. It does not need more socialism, it needs less. Cuba strangely is moving towards market reforms and in stilling work in the culture that the Greeks need to adopt. That is what he needed to lecture Greece on. So yea, celebrate the cheap win. A country that does not collect taxes, 1/2 the population does not work and just defaulted is headed into a special period.

  • July 8, 2015 at 4:48 pm
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    All that Greece is seeking to do, is to borrow more! Would you lend them money?

  • July 8, 2015 at 4:42 pm
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    You obviously and clearly don’t read Moses’ contributions to these columns. Such is the myopia of supporters of Socialismo. I do not think that during the time that I have been reading Havana Times that Moses has commented unfairly upon the people of Cuba or the country of Cuba. He and I are both married to Cubans and in my case I live there at home more than half the year – two lengthy periods per year. It is possible as both Moses Patterson and I have demonstrated in writing, to be opposed to Cuban dictators whether they be named Batista or Castro. The alternative for Cuba should not be one or the other, but liberty with freedom of expression, freedom of the media, freedom to vote in a multi-party system.
    Fidel Castro Ruz recently wrote in Granma about the freedom to be Marxist-Leninist and I don’t mind him adhering to his beliefs, what I object to is his and his Castro family regime imposing their views upon everybody else.
    You do the usual thing for Socialismo supporters by extolling the virtues of the educational and medical systems in Cuba. Yes, they are preferable to those in many third world countries, but tell us, have you been in the interior of the hospitals and schools?
    My wife holds a responsible position in education in our city and I have been in several of the schools – from kinder-garden through to pre-university. Walls are plastered with the products of the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of Cuba, ragged school books praise Russia, Vietnam (from which Cuba purchases most of the low grade rice) North Korea and Syria. The dedicated teachers earning almost exactly one dollar per day under instruction, place great emphasis on RESPECT. Children are taught to respect authority above all – and all authority descends from the Castro family regime!
    I have been in only three hospitals in Cuba, each is in a state of dis-repair, each has broken windows, each has holes in walls and each has missing door handles. But in each the medical staff provide astonishingly high professional standards and in each, those professionals have commented about the lack of support from the regime in terms of medical supplies and equipment and failure to maintain and repair the infrastructure which is declining.
    The problems of Cuba do not lie in the quality of its people, they lie in the Castro family regime and the puppet Communist Party of Cuba.
    Only the wilfully blind can avoid recognising this – neither Moses Patterson or I suffer that problem, but record reality.

  • July 8, 2015 at 1:00 pm
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    If you haven’t been paying attention lately, Russia, with an economy the size of Italy, has its own very serious economic problems. Russia is a regional power at best and is in no position to help Greece. China, on the other hand, does have the economic horsepower to help Greece but it is not in their nature to bail out anybody. Name one country that China has bailed out. They will make loans or barter but bailouts are not in their toolbag. The EU is Greece’s only choice.

  • July 8, 2015 at 11:04 am
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    by continuing to urge Greece to borrow and borrow and borrow until it reached the point of having no chance of repaying these loans (which at this point, are larger than several years worth of its G.D.P.), the lenders were oblivious to the consequences (just like the big Wall Street investment banks were oblivious to their practices during the housing bubble of the early 2000’s). At this point, there is no way Greece can repay these loans. At least Germany, France, England can cut a deal, just like their brothers over at the Federal Reserve did back in 2008. They could print “funny money” just like the Federal Reserve, then continue to lend it out at low, or even no, interest rates. Although taking the purgative medicine will be uncomfortable for a while, Greece does have other options (Russia, China). What the European central banks want is for Greece to auction off all its public assets at fire sale prices. Since they’ve already endured more than five years of catastrophic depression (with youth employment running between 60 to 70%, general unemployment at 25% plus, and pension slashed, could NOT paying make it any worse?! Already, the Greek economy is the level of the U.S. economy at the depth of the Great Depression, in 1932.

  • July 8, 2015 at 7:12 am
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    Repeating your same old tired lines do not make them any less ridiculous. I have NEVER “pined away” for Cuba to return to a pre-Castro dictatorship political system. I hope that after the Castros clock runs out soon that the Cuban people will develop their own democratic system that best reflects the hopes and dreams of all Cubans. Likewise, I have NEVER swept the Cuban Flt.#455 tragedy or any other attack against innocent Cuban people “under the rug”. Your straw man arguments are beneath intelligent discourse. I can partially agree with you on one small point: Relatively speaking, the US does represent the “good guys” and the Castros represent the “bad guys.

  • July 8, 2015 at 1:08 am
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    Let’s see if Fidel is cheering in one weeks time. Too much time stirring the curds to make cheese!

  • July 8, 2015 at 12:33 am
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    You ask: “How did Greece get into this state?”
    Step 1 they elected a Pasok (socialist) government under Papandopoulus. Step 2 they falsified their submission which enabled them to join the Euro.
    Step 3 the population at large assumed that as they were in the Euro they could now spend like protestant Northern Europeans (who work hard).
    Step 4 the Greek government and the Greek banks borrowed without thought of repayment.
    Step 5 the Greek electorate dumped Pasok and elected an even more left wing government in Syriza – which gets along with Putin a potential relationship which equates with that between the Castro family regime and Maduro.
    Step 6 the Greek government now criticizes its creditors and calls them terrorists.
    I recall as a child in the UK back in 1946 and 1947 collecting money to help to feed the starving Greeks – will that recur in 2016/ 2017?

  • July 7, 2015 at 9:28 pm
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    Anti-Castro/anti-Cuba propagandists in the U. S. long for the halcyon days of the Batista-Lansky-Luciano reign, which it seems Moses Patterson is always pining for. Meanwhile, in the last 8 days among the people who have lauded today’s Cuba are: Sarah Stephens, Center for Democracy in the Americas; Peter Kornbluh, U. S. National Security Archives; Dr. Candace Johnson, President and CEO of the Cancer Institute in Buffalo who is begging the U. S. for permission to access a cancer vaccine developed by Cuba’s world-famed medical scientists; Margaret Chen, World Health Organization who says far richer nations should emulate Cuba’s universal health care, especially its ubiquitous poli-clinics; etc., etc. Now, Moses, explain to us how the Batista-Mafia rule of Cuba showered the Cuban people with far better educational, health, and safety programs than they now have. Start off by demeaning the recent comments of Dr. Johnson, Peter Kornbluh, Sarah Stephens, Margaret Chen, and Dr. Candace Johnson. I realize that providing free and excellent educational and health benefits, and maintaining a safe nation, is not nearly as important as having a handful of billionaires, as in the Batista era when the non-elite majority were routinely brutalized if they didn’t accept their fate. If modern-day Cuba is not the absolute antithesis to Batista, some very important impartial observers believe it is very close. Sweeping such things as Cubana Flight 455 and the car-bombing of Miami’s great Cuban-American newsman Emilio Milian under the rug and pretending they never happened is, I reckon, one way of saying “We’re the good guys and those Castros are the bad guys so let’s hide behind the skirts of the world superpower and punish those Cubans on the island for another 55 years, just to spite the very elderly Castros.” ..

  • July 7, 2015 at 11:11 am
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    How did Greece get into this state?

    Greece was badly prepared for the 2008 financial crisis after a
    decade of overspending. In many ways, the weakness of its economy and
    public finances was akin to that of Spain, Ireland and Portugal, which
    also found themselves brutally exposed after 10 years of living beyond
    their means. Greece, though, was a special case, which was why in 2010
    it became the first EU country to send a distress signal. Since then,
    Athens has struggled to piece together a deal with its lenders that
    allows the economy to recover.

    Why did the government overspend?

    After a long period as one of the EU’s main recipients of investment
    aid, the funds started to run dry. Brussels switched its support to new
    joiners in the east and the Baltic nations that had entered the EU and
    wanted to join preparations for the euro. Nevertheless, Athens kept on
    spending, helped by its decision to join the euro in 2001. The new
    currency kept borrowing costs down and made it easy to secure funds from
    commercial banks at rock-bottom interest rates, increasing its
    dependence on cheap loans to fill the spending gap. In the 10 years
    before the financial crash, public sector wages doubled and departmental
    spending soared. Already high defence costs continued to soar,
    propelled by years of antagonism with its neighbour Turkey. In 2011,
    three years after the crash, the country was still spending €4.6bn
    (£3.3bn) on defence, representing 2.1% of GDP against an EU Nato average
    of 1.6%.

    Why did taxes fall behind as the economy expanded?

    A report by the EU in 2014 estimated that Greece lost a third of its
    VAT revenues in fraud and avoidance (only Lithuania, Latvia, Romania and
    Slovakia lost more). With a VAT system that has six bands, tax experts
    say it was open to manipulation. Shipping, one of the main industries
    and the source of Aristotle Onassis’s vast fortune, was known as a
    tax-free zone. Income taxes and corporate taxes, traditionally the
    subject of huge avoidance, collapsed in the wake of the financial
    crisis.

    So where did the money come from?

    The Greek government and the country’s major businesses borrowed
    heavily on the international money markets. Among others, they borrowed
    from French and German banks, often in return for French and German
    goods, not all of which worked. For instance, two diesel submarines
    bought from Germany from the bulging defence budget were never
    operational after the Greek navy failed to get them to work.

    Why didn’t the cuts turn things around?

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF),
    which joined the rescue of Greece in 2010 alongside the EU and the
    European Central Bank (ECB), never asked for defence cuts, but insisted
    on reductions to wages. So while the defence equipment budget remained
    intact, soldiers suffered a near 40% drop in salaries. Commitments to
    buy new military equipment were also honoured to placate voters fearful
    of a Turkish invasion, even though the maintenance budget was slashed,
    rendering most equipment unusable.

    Weren’t privatisations on the agenda?

    The creditors expected Greece to pay back at least €50bn of its
    borrowings from state sell-offs when the first bailout was agreed. That
    figure was revised down to €30bn and then €20bn by the time the next
    bailout was agreed in 2012. Five years after the first bailout, only
    €2.5bn of sales have been completed.

    What about defence cuts today?

    The Syriza-led government of Alexis Tsipras
    was asked to cut €400m from the defence budget, less than 10%, to
    secure the last €7.2bn of its previous bailout. It refused, saying the
    most it could cut was €200m. Some analysts said deeper cuts were blocked
    by Syriza’s nationalist and pro-military coalition partner, the
    Independent Greeks. Others blamed the military, which remains
    influential 40 years after it relinquished power and Greece became a
    democratic state.

  • July 7, 2015 at 9:00 am
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    I remember the debate for payday loan reforms in California. I did not understand then as I do not understand now the tone of your comment that implies that the borrower is a victim. Greece has been living beyond their means for many years. That is crime enough but to borrow your way out of trouble and then refuse to pay back what you borrowed with the terms that you willingly agreed at the time you borrowed the money is despicable. I would ask that you Google how the country of Latvia responded to their financial crisis. What you suggested in your comment, encouraging Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland to walk away from their obligations would destroy the Eurozone. Is that what you want?

  • July 7, 2015 at 7:43 am
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    Even the notoriously corrupt U.S. Congress passed a law ending the usurious “payday” loan racket. (Too many enlisted service men and women were becoming slaves to these loan sharks, thus sapping morale.) The Greeks have begun the ball rolling. Will the Spanish, the Portuguese, the Italians and the Irish follow their example? One may always hope (and, in this case, this hope has the likelihood of becoming reality)!

  • July 7, 2015 at 12:20 am
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    Letters of support won’t buy food or pay pensions. Those empty-handed big mouth socialists are all talk. When the rent comes due, they will be nowhere to be found.

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