Grecia

Regreso a Grecia

Un muchacho griego, hace medio siglo, harto de la falta de trabajo y el caos que lo rodeaban en su país natal, consiguió escapar a Suecia. Sobrellevó allí la difícil vida del inmigrante. Ganándose la vida como podía, aprendió la lengua y tan bien que allí se descubrió una vocación de escritor y comenzó a escribir en sueco. Tuvo bastante éxito. Tanto, que pudo ganarse la vida escribiendo novelas y ensayos. Se casó con una sueca, tuvieron hijos, nietos, se compraron un apartamento, luego una casita de verano y un pequeño piso donde él se encerraba mañana y tarde a leer y escribir.…  Seguir leyendo »

Greece’s new prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis.CreditCreditNgelos Tzortzinis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Last month, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, a Harvard-trained former banker, was elected prime minister of Greece. His victory — and that of his party, New Democracy — was widely greeted with a sigh of relief. The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn had been removed from Parliament, and the leftist Syriza from government. For some, the adults were back in charge.

But there is a problem with the consensus: It isn’t true.

New Democracy, far from being a moderate, liberal force, seems to be a right-wing party with pronounced authoritarian tendencies. And Mr. Mitsotakis, who promised to unite the country, is following divisive and polarizing policies.…  Seguir leyendo »

En las últimas elecciones europeas fui candidata en las listas de Syriza en Grecia, a pesar de ser italiana. Una candidatura simbólica —después de 20 años en el Parlamento Europeo, que culminé en 1999, no tenía ningún deseo real de volver a empezar— cuyo propósito era mostrar la solidaridad de la izquierda italiana con el esfuerzo titánico de Tsipras para hacer frente a las terribles e injustas condiciones impuestas por la Troika. Me unen a Grecia todas las décadas que informé sobre el país como periodista, empezando por la ocasión en la que fui arrestada por el régimen de los coroneles después del golpe de 1967.…  Seguir leyendo »

Greece has a new prime minister. Kyriakos Mitsotakis took office immediately after leading his conservative New Democracy party to a landslide victory in the country’s general election on July 7. His dramatic victory ended 4½ of government by Alexis Tsipras and his far-left Syriza party. And that’s why the significance of this election extends well beyond Greece: Mitsotakis has shown how a traditionally oriented party can take on populists — and defeat them.

Syriza’s left-wing populism was based mostly on anti-market bias, a bit of technophobia and a strong measure of social envy. This kind of populism can be defeated relatively easily in liberal democracies — simply because the numbers don’t add up.…  Seguir leyendo »

Greek voters just elected the first government in which a single party won a parliamentary majority since the economic crisis began in 2010. On July 7, a little fewer than 6 million people voted in more than 21,000 polling stations to elect the 300 members of the Greek parliament and install a new government. Twenty parties ran; only six of them got more than 3 percent of the vote, which is the threshold required to place a member in parliament.

Here’s what happened

So, who won? It was New Democracy’s leader, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the son of former prime minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis, who served from 1990 to 1993, and the brother of former New Democracy minister and former mayor of Athens Dora Bakoyanni.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sunday’s parliamentary elections amounted to a stinging defeat for both left and right populism in Greece. After a long slog in bailout purgatory, and 4½ years under a populist government of the hard left and the nationalist right, Greeks turned decisively to the establishment center-right New Democracy party, led by Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Now it is up to the new prime minister to deliver the reforms that will permanently consign the forces of extremism to the margins.

Ousted prime minister Alexis Tsipras, leader of the leftist Syriza party, came to power promising to end austerity and rid the country of the endemic corruption of the old political system.…  Seguir leyendo »

It may have been the worst recession to hit any economy in modern times. Between 2007 and 2014, Greece lost a quarter of its economy; hundreds of thousands of people moved abroad; unemployment peaked at almost 28 percent, hitting nearly 1 in 3 of the working population. Extremist parties of the far left and far right came to power, railing against shadowy foreign enemies, spinning dark conspiracy theories and making impossible promises.

Under their leadership, the crisis grew worse. In the summer of 2015, the Greek government, led by a former young communist, Alexis Tsipras, nearly crashed out of the euro, the common European currency.…  Seguir leyendo »

Salvar a Tsipras puede que ya no sea posible. El mito cayó en combate hace tiempo pero, después de cinco años de gobierno y de la domesticación de la izquierda radical que ha representado Syriza, quizás bien vale la pena intentarlo. Al menos desde la Comisión Europea, conscientes de que tienen algunas deudas pendientes con un país y un primer ministro doblegados hasta la extenuación.

La Syriza original se erigió en azote de la austeridad y de la troika. Después de los resultados conseguidos en las elecciones al Parlamento Europeo de 2014, cuando quedó claro que su llegada al poder era cuestión de meses, la izquierda europea se regodeaba en el optimismo de ver como los partidos a la izquierda de la socialdemocracia avanzaban posiciones en el sur de Europa y parecía que podían llegar a tener influencia en los respectivos escenarios nacionales.…  Seguir leyendo »

“The Battle of Piraeus” in 403 B.C., by 19th century painter, Panagiotis Zografos.CreditCreditHistorical Picture Archive/Corbis, via Getty Images

Piraeus, the gritty port city that has provided Athens’s naval and commercial power throughout its tumultuous history, is the theater of a new conflict, one that pits local interests against economic development and a superpower’s global strategy. At least that’s the story that Greece’s dueling politicians are telling.

Greek archaeologists have stalled an investment of more than 612 million euros offered by a Chinese-owned company seeking to revamp and expand Piraeus’s port as part of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative. Early last month, Greece’s Central Archaeological Council, an advisory body, proposed declaring everything within the limits of the ancient city of Piraeus — most of which overlaps with the modern-day port and commercial center — an archaeological site.…  Seguir leyendo »

A medida que el tren del Brexit avanza sin dirección clara, merece la pena recordar otro episodio dramático de la política de la Unión Europea como una posible guía: el Grexit que nunca ocurrió. Si bien casi todos durante la crisis del euro entre 2010 y 2015 estaban convencidos de que Grecia acabaría fuera de la eurozona, si no de la UE, el país sigue siendo miembro de ambas.

En apariencia no hay mucho que comparar. A diferencia del Reino Unido, Grecia es una de las economías más pequeñas de la UE, tristemente célebre por la debilidad de sus instituciones y economía, y receptora neta de fondos de la UE.…  Seguir leyendo »

Keratsini, a working-class neighborhood in Piraeus, Greece. The poor in Greece have become poorer while the middle class struggles with a growing tax burden.CreditCreditEirini Vourloumis for The New York Times

Greece’s government, a coalition of a radical left-wing movement and a nationalist right-wing party in power since 2015, celebrated the end of the country’s third bailout agreement last August as a “return to normalcy.” Our European Union partners and creditors, who disbursed 288.7 billion euros in loans over the previous years, also rushed to declare victory in the crisis that began in 2010.

Everyone wants to see an end to the Greek crisis — not least the Greek people, who have been exhausted by the long and deep recession, by the continued austerity and reforms whose benefits they have not seen.…  Seguir leyendo »

Las guías de viaje afirman que Lesbos es un paraíso en el mar Egeo. Y lo es. Pero dentro de ese paraíso existe un infierno: el campo de refugiados de Moria, un espacio previsto para unas 3.000 personas en el que malviven hacinados 9.000 hombres, mujeres y niños, esperando un visado que debería concederles el sistema judicial griego —actualmente bloqueado—. Muchos de ellos llevan más de dos años en ese limbo inhumano. La mayoría de los refugiados de Moria han llegado desde Siria, Irak o Afganistán y están heridos física o psicológicamente. Han perdido a sus padres o madres, a sus hijos… sus casas, sus vidas, lo han perdido todo.…  Seguir leyendo »

As of Aug. 20, Europe’s bailout for Greece was officially over. So how did Greece’s decade of ruinous economic crisis affect its citizens — not just economically, but socially? Research and experience have shown us that some crises, such as natural disasters, bring people together. We found that that’s not true for economic crises.

The crisis in brief

In 2009, Greece’s government announced that its budget deficit was 12.9 percent of the country’s GDP, four times the European Union-mandated 3 percent limit. That announcement triggered a financial crisis. Greece had to borrow 289 billion euros to keep its economy running and prevent its expulsion from the euro zone; the loan came conditioned on Greece’s acceptance of austerity measures.…  Seguir leyendo »

Russia’s effort to keep Ukraine under its thumb prompted a revolution in 2014 and a war that has claimed more than 10,000 lives. It also prompted, on Monday, what may be one of the most serious splits in Christendom since the Great Schism between Rome and Constantinople in 1054 and the Protestant Reformation 500 years ago. This new crisis has deep historical roots, and could shape religious and secular ties among many countries for years to come.

Here’s what happened: The Church of Russia announced this week that it was breaking ties with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, which has primacy in Orthodoxy and which has decided to give autonomy to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.…  Seguir leyendo »

Con el otoño abriéndose paso en Europa, es tiempo de cosechar los frutos de meses de arduo trabajo diplomático en los Balcanes. El día 30 de septiembre, se celebrará un referéndum consultivo en la Antigua República Yugoslava de Macedonia que podría llevar al país a adoptar el nombre de “República de Macedonia del Norte”. Una amplia victoria del “sí” —combinada con una elevada participación— reforzaría enormemente a los partidarios del cambio en el Parlamento macedonio, que deberá pronunciarse sobre la necesaria reforma constitucional. En caso de aprobarse, será el Parlamento griego quien tendrá la última palabra.

La adopción de este nuevo nombre no representaría un mero ejercicio de economía lingüística, sino que pondría fin a 27 años de tira y afloja entre los Gobiernos macedonio y griego.…  Seguir leyendo »

Demonstration in Syntagma Square in Athens, Greece. Photo Getty Images.

On 20 August, the Greek government is scheduled to exit its IMF bailout programme, ending a series of three programmes that have run continuously since 2010. The Greek programme was the largest, most high-profile and most politically controversial in a series of post-global financial crisis bailouts of EU member states organized by the so-called ‘troika’ consisting of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF.

Politically, the course of action taken by the troika has been seen as controversial at best. The Greek economy has now suffered the longest recession of any advanced capitalist economy, overtaking the slump suffered by the US during the Great Depression in 1929.…  Seguir leyendo »

After an astonishing 27 years at odds, in June, Macedonia and Greece reached a dramatic breakthrough in negotiations over what’s known as the Macedonia naming dispute. The dispute was, yes, over the former Yugoslavian nation’s name — but over much more as well, as we’ll see below. And after all that time, the June agreement solved the dispute simply: by renaming Macedonia as the “Republic of North Macedonia.”

What was at stake here — and why did resolving it take nearly three decades? Examining the long and complicated process can teach us a few practical lessons about international mediation.

A brief history of the naming dispute

In 1991, Macedonia declared independence from Yugoslavia and wrote into its constitution that its name was the Republic of Macedonia.…  Seguir leyendo »

A house is threatened by a huge blaze during a wildfire in Kineta, near Athens, on July 23, 2018.CreditValerie Gache/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Four days after the wildfire that raced down from the mountains, incinerating all before it, cars were once again tangled up in traffic jams in this seaside resort’s narrow streets. Search parties combed ruined homes for bodies; volunteers sought out injured and frightened pets. The nation was in mourning, shocked by the magnitude of the disaster, shaken by the stories of victims and the missing.

In a V-shaped bend where on Monday desperate residents and visitors found themselves trapped, unable to escape the heat that melted even the metal of their cars, vehicles carrying survivors who had returned to salvage some possessions, volunteers, journalists and the simply curious edged carefully past one another as they sought a way out of Mati.…  Seguir leyendo »

El lunes pasado, una calamidad bíblica se abatió sobre el Ática. Vi los primeros signos bien entrada la mañana, en el aeropuerto de Atenas, donde me despedía de mi hija que partía a Australia. Un fuerte olor a madera en combustión me hizo mirar al cielo, donde me atrajo un pálido sol, envuelto en la elocuente oscuridad diurna que sólo un eclipse, o una espesa y alta columna de humo pueden causar.

Al atardecer empezaron a llover noticias. Las casas de muchos amigos y parientes en el este de Ática estaban destruidas. Incendios forestales descontrolados se habían extendido hacia la densamente edificada línea costera, aislando los pueblos de Mati y Rafina de Atenas y obligando a los residentes a huir hacia el mar.…  Seguir leyendo »

For centuries, even when Athens was a bastion of the West during the Cold War, Greece and Russia have seen themselves as natural allies. Both are Christian Orthodox nations on Islam’s western frontiers; even as a NATO member, Greece tried to maintain channels of communication with the Soviet Union. Yet a sudden dispute over alleged Russian meddling in Greek affairs has escalated rapidly. This could have long-term consequences for Greek-Russian ties and for the Western Balkans.

This month, Athens informed Moscow that it was expelling two Russian diplomats and refusing entry to two others. Among the accusations: the four were trying to stoke opposition to a recent agreement signed by Greece and a northern neighbor, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, ending a 27-year dispute over the latter’s name.…  Seguir leyendo »