Commentary: Alexis Tsipras’ Dangerous Cuban Game

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A Tweet from Apostolos Doxiadis summed up my feelings while watching Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras praising the memory of Fidel Castro at a memorial service with hundreds of thousands of Cubans in attendance.

“Not in my name, as a Greek. Not my PM, the man commemorating Castro,” Doxiadis Tweeted to his followers.

And while, as an American citizen I don’t have much room to talk and obviously, Alexis Tsipras isn’t my prime minister by virtue of my citizenship, I do have room to speak as a Greek.

Tsipras told the crowd that he was proud to represent “the Greek people, a people who lives in a corner of the world very far from you, but very close to the values for which you have struggled and continue to struggle.”

He then went on to call Castro “an international symbol of struggle and resistance whose example inspired popular struggle across the world for independence, freedom, justice, and dignity.”

It’s well-known that Castro was Tsipras’ childhood hero. I won’t criticize him for that. People need heroes. Hell, I don’t want people making fun of me for having Madonna as my childhood hero. We all should be free to pick our heroes, right?

I also won’t criticize Tsipras for traveling to Havana— spending hundreds of thousands of euro of Greek taxpayer money at a time when Greece really can’t afford the excesses and not to mention being the ONLY European leader to go.

Political leaders make judgement calls and choices and this was Tsipras’ choice, to be dealt with and justified by his own government. That’s not my call to make, but those in power an they will have their electorate to answer to.

I also won’t engage in the discussion about who Fidel Castro was.

We can argue opinions about his ideology for days on end, but facts cannot be argued. I borrow the words from my friend Stelios Taketzis who posted recently on his Facebook that “I can argue opinions, I can’t argue facts. The minute you tell me that the tree I have in my back yard is a car, I stop the discussion.”

And one fact remains.

Fidel Castro was a ruthless dictator who silenced his critics in the harshest possible way— many by death. Fidel Castro’s revolution did not represent a struggle for freedom.

And when Alexis Tsipras speaks to hundreds of thousands of Cubans at a memorial for their departed leader and channels the spirit of the Greek War of Independence and even compares it to Castro’s revolution— well, we have a serious problem.

Greeks fought the oppressor power— the Ottoman Turks— to be free.

Castro fought and became the oppressor, depriving people of their rights to free and individualistic expression— the very core of why Greeks fought.

One is fundamentally opposed to the other and Alexis Tsipras is playing a dangerous game of historic revisionism and a misrepresentation of, not only his country, but of millions of people outside of Greece who identify themselves as diaspora Greeks or hyphenated Greeks.

Mr. Tsipras— believe what you want. Pick your heroes and hang posters of them in your bedroom. I don’t care. But cease with the false representation or correlation of the Greek struggle for independence and freedom with a revolution of a dictator who refused his own people of their own freedom for over fifty years.

Tsipras’ full speech (in Greek with Spanish translator) to the people of Cuba:

 

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13 Comments

  1. As you, I would have much rather his hero was Madonna as well. As a Greek American I am embarrassed to have him associate Castro with independence , freedom, justice and dignity.
    Castro’s policies is not what makes me a proud Greek American.

  2. John Kartsounis on

    I too am embarrassed by Tsipras and his revisionist agenda and Marxist propaganda. All Hellenes should be outraged by his outlandish remarks, especially those equating the 1821 War of Greek Independence against the yoke of the Ottoman Turks with the advent of the Communist, Castro dictatorship in 1959. The Castro regime has killed and tortured and imprisoned countless political dissidents and Mr. Tsipras has the nerve to speak of Castro and freedom in the same sentence! We all should be disgusted!

  3. Dont forget that the rest of the world is laughing at this whole Tsipras junket (if they heard about it) and it does strengthen the case made by the northern Europeans that Greece deserves as little debt relief as possible — given the money will be wasted on symbolic stuff like this trip (in that the money spent can’t be used to help reduce Greeks’ suffering) and hiring Syriza supporters in the public sector, why should Eurozone taxpayers lose their investment in the Greek bailout…

  4. Extreme leftists like Tsipras take what they can (in this case the Greek War of Independence), twist it and use it to suit their agenda. Why oh why Greeks did you vote these people in? I remember now, it was a scam. Time for Greece to turn back to the right?

  5. Panagis Nikolatos on

    …shame on you fellow Greeks for being illiterate and ignorant.
    …Tsipras might be, and he is for sure, a total failure and -towards my personal view- an incapable clown who found him self leading our country at the most mis-fortunate time. …however!!
    …one should take into consideration that Castro lead the Cuban people against a most brutal regime and took over power. …although he had all the reason and means to enjoy some highly privileged life of his own under Batistas’ regime -he was of middle to high class descent, well educated and of some wealth- he proffered to help his fellow Cubans to stand up, fight it and overthrow it.
    …he landed in Playas Las Coloradas one December morning 1956, leading a group of 82 men and fought all his way through Sierra Maestra to Havana forming -day to day- an army of Cubans willing to die for their country, their dignity and their very existence as human beings.
    …they had chose to do so, cause had they had not, 82 seasick guerrillas ashore were to few to be taken down in the first place.
    …in that aspect, Fidel Castro didn’t impose his will to revolt and overthrow Batistas’ regime. …it was their will too, and they followed him to the very end.
    …taking you a short back in time, if I may, can I ask you this? …do you really know how many man followed Theodoros Kolokotronis on his second attempt to fire up our own Greek War for Independence?
    …just two (2)!! …it is well documented in his memoirs, go find them and educate yourselves.
    …do you know how many followed him in his leadership struggling against the Ottoman Turks (and their Greek cooperators) throughout the mountains of Peloponnese? …how many of them were loyal and how many tried to give him in, dead or alive, for a pouch of grosia?
    …do you know what happened to Kolokotronis during th civil war that followed right after the second year of our revolt against the Ottoman Empire? …let me tell you, we imprisoned him and (how nice!!) we let him free when Imbrahim Pasha was tearing down the land inf fire and bloodshed.
    …and then we (not the Bavarians, we did it again) accused him for treason and managed to sentence him, along with general Dimitri Plapoutas, to death!! …had there had not being of the brave judges Anastasios Polyzoidis and Georgios Tertsetis, the man who fought, 49 years long, for the liberation of our country and it’s worthless people would have died on the guillotine by fellow Greek hands.
    …I didn’t see anything similar attitude against Castro.
    …do you think the Cubans had never had their chances, or the CIA help been inadequate to take down Castro regime?
    …now lets go back in time again. …do you remember which was the very first country, worldwide, to acknowledge Greece’s right of being and independent country? …no my forgetting and ignorant fellow Greeks, it was not Britain, nor France and for sure it was not Germany. …the very first country to extend their hand an hailed our struggle for independence and the right of or cause, was Haiti. …this little country of ex-enslaved who stood up against colonialism and fought and established their freedom and independence as well, some years earlier. (…the sovereign nation of Haiti was established on January 1st, 1804)
    …you see my fellow Greeks, it is a common ground to those countries and people who stand up for certain vital causes such as freedom and independence to support each other.
    …on such grounds it has been of our moral duty and respect against the Cuban people to be represented at the funeral of their leader. …had he have been an oppressor or not, had he have been a successful governor or not, it is firstly to be answered be the Cuban people and secondly be her majesty the history. …no me, nor you could ever claim on the answers or the truth in them.
    …I would only mention to those that still live on their embarrassment that Fidel Castro was not a communist in the first place. …he became one, merely due to the US driven hostile attitude and the greed of the US President candidates’ greed for the Cuban-American votes. …more or less the votes and support, the remains of the pro-Batista Cuban mafia and their siblings were offering.
    …in plain words Castro was not a monster, just before the mighty super power turned him in to one.
    …he went along with the -communist then- USSR until they fall apart too, yet he still managed to keep his power and presidency for an other good 20 years!!!
    …no matter the unfair embargo, disgracefully imposed by who else but the US, he managed to keep his country with a free worldwide acclaimed health system for every Cuban as well as a free educational system. …don’t take my words on that, go find what the WHO and World Bank report.
    …last but not least, Fidel Castro was a nations’ leader and I’m pretty confident he was a leader of some value that Alexis Tsipras was too small to convey to him an the Cubans the respect of the Greeks. …unfortunately for the time being he is our head of state, had we had something better to appoint we would have done so.
    …but yes, as in 2014 we formally paid our respects to the dead Ariel Sharon, definitely the butcher for some thousands innocents in Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps, we might as well pay our respects to Castro

    PS1…thank you for taking time reading my comment.
    PS2…next time you wave our precious national flag on a parade event, make sure you ‘ve read some of our history. …the true one, not that of the government or the media.

  6. Panagis Nikolatos on

    Well, it seems that some people like talking on ideas such as democracy, freedom of speech and the relevant while deleting any post arguing something different to what they think.

    Keep up the good work and praise the qualities of your idea for democracy.

  7. you are not thinking want is good for Greece you are Noobody you ArE a idiot ,,,,,,Alexis Chipras is elected as a leader of European country

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