ATHENS – Arm-in-am with Greek Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, the visiting President of Bolivia and leftist ally Evo Morales also backed Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro despite widespread international criticism that country is being destroyed by despotic-like rule.
Greece was alone in the European Union in refusing to condemn Maduro, who was sanctioned by the United States amid charges of massive corruption, power blackouts, police killing protesters, food shortages and for refusing to allow in humanitarian aid.
Maduro is a favorite of Tsipras, who said he likes Venezuela’s model as a country and with SYRIZA officials praising what they called that country’s “Bolivarian democracy,” despite widespread reports of repression and a near-dictator-like state.
Morales compared Maduro to Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido and warned against any military intervention, which has been hinted by the US as one way to get out Maduro and force regime change.
“Are we returning to colonial times?” Evo Morales said in a speech in Athens, during a rare trip to Europe. “Like Juan Guaido … has he been recognized as the Viceroy of Latin America? I don’t understand that,” he said of the idea of a ruler exercising authority in a colony on behalf of a sovereign.
“Any armed intervention won’t solve social, or political, problems,” Morales said of Venezuela, which has been battered by hyperinflation and widespread shortages of food and medicine. “I salute the resistance of the Venezuelan people, despite the economic blockade, the energy blackouts, the threats of intervention.”
Guaido, the leader of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled Congress, is seeking to oust the Socialist Maduro, with whom Morales has maintained his alliance throughout the crisis, their ideologies in simpatico.
“History has taught that there have been many interventions from the outside, such as the case of Libya and Iraq, and they never offered a solution,” Morales said in translated comments after meeting Tsipras, said Reuters. “On the contrary it abolished democracy.”
“The only solution .. is dialogue, and that is what the European countries should support,” he said. “The opposition of Venezuela should sit at the same table with the official authorities of this country for dialogue and find a solution.”
(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)