Voters in Greece gave a resounding No vote in a July 5 referendum on austerity measures required by the European Union as a condition for further bailout money from European partners. Over 60 percent of Greeks voted No. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, however, gave assurances that the vote makes for “no winners and no losers,” but is instead “a victory in itself” for having proved that “democracy cannot be blackmailed.” 

Speaking on television after the polls closed, Tsipras said that “social cohesion” must be restored in the Hellenic Republic. An immediate result of the referendum was that Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis resigned on July 6, having admitted that some of his European negotiating partners had preferred to see him depart. He was buoyant, however, about the results of the referendum, which he said “will remain a unique moment in which a small country rose up against debt servitude,” adding, “Like all struggles over democratic rights, this historic No to the Eurogroup’s June 25 ultimatum will come at a great price…It is essential that the tremendous capital given to our government by this splendid No should be immediately invested in a ‘Yes’ to reasonable solution: an agreement that includes debt restricting, lessened austerity, redistribution to the needy, and real reform.”

In distant Argentina, which is also facing revenue shortfalls and crippling debt, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner wrote on her Facebook account after the Greek vote: "Greece: decisive victory for democracy and dignity…solidarity with the brave Greek people and their government." She added, "We hope Europe and its leaders understand the message from the vote. You cannot require anyone to sign their own death certificate."  A decade ago, Argentina defaulted on millions in debt. Currently, creditors in the United States are seeking to recoup millions in Argentine bonds following a U.S. court decision last year in their favor.

Another Latin leftist, Bolivian President Evo Morales referred to the Greek referendum as a blow against  "European imperialism."  A critic of capitalism, Morales said  "I congratulate the great Greek people for the triumph of their 'no vote' over debt, which is a defeat inflicted on European imperialism," adding that the referendum is "the beginning of the liberation of the European people."

Not far behind was President Raul Castro of Cuba who was quoted in Granma, the official Communist newspaper, "I extend sincere congratulation for the 'No' victory in the Greek referendum…That result shows the Greek people's majority support for the brave government policy over which you preside," he told Greek Premier Tsipras.

There was an echo in Europe too. Nigel Farage of the UK Independence Party, a former commodities broker and fierce critic of the EU,  said in the pages of The Telegraph, “Despite the scaremongering and bullying from those in Brussels, we are waking today with Greece having delivered a resounding No. That comes despite EU bosses saying that it would mean a Greek exit from the Euro, not to mention the heavy economic pressure placed on the Greek people to go along with the wishes of Brussels. It is a crushing defeat for those Eurocrats who believe that you can simply bulldoze public opinion.”



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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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