Politico has listed Greece’s left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras among Europe’s six “die hard fans” of Venezuela’s socialist President Nicolas Maduro whose regime is accused of locking up opposition leaders and violating human rights.
“[Tsipras] once mentioned Venezuela as an anti-capitalist model and his aides say one of his heroes is [Maduro’s predecessor Hugo] Chavez, with whom he shares a birthday (July 28),” the Brussels-based website said.
Quoting recent reports in the Greek media, Politico mentions that as opposition leader Tsipras sought cheap Venezuelan oil and diplomatic support in the case of a Greek exit from the eurozone. The article also refers to the Greek prime minister’s alleged trip to Moscow in July 2013 for secret talks with a Venezuelan official.
Other high-profile European figures featuring in Politico’s list are British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Podemos chief Pablo Iglesias in Spain, France’s far-left politician Jean-Luc Melenchon, Italy’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, and Pope Francis.
On Thursday, Maduro recognized the Socialist Party-dominated constituent assembly as the Latin American country's most powerful institution in his first appearance at the deeply controversial legislative body that was inaugurated six days ago.
The recent election of the 545-member assembly drew international condemnation for usurping the authority of Venezuela's opposition-controlled congress. Critics have said the election cast aside any remaining checks on Maduro's power.
According to a recent report in the Financial Times, the Greek government resisted calls among EU governments for sanctions against Maduro’s regime following the country’s violence-tainted elections. [Combined reports]