Greek-American Republican congressman Gus Bilirakis has sent a letter to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras urging him to support European efforts to restore democracy in Venezuela.
Bilirakis, a Florida representative since 2007, urges Tsipras "to put Greece at the forefront of Europe’s efforts to help restore democracy in Venezuela", noting that "any perception that Athens supports the Maduro regime undermines Greece’s reputation in both US and (Latin America)."
The full letter follows:
His Excellency Mr. Alexi Tsipras Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic
Dear Prime Minister Tsipras,
As European Union governments move to recognized Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president next week, I write to you as the Chair of the Hellenic Caucus and urge you to put Greece at the forefront of Europe’s efforts to help restore democracy in Venezuela.
I am particularly proud that Greece is democracy’s birthplace and that at a time where countries in Greece’s vicinity are becoming increasingly authoritarian Greece has remained a steadfast western democracy. All this gives Greece both special standing and a particular responsibility to promote democracy worldwide.
At a time where Greece’s standing in the United States as a steadfast western ally committed to democracy, human rights and the rule of law is at a high, any perception that Athens supports the Maduro regime undermines Greece’s reputation in both the United States and Latin America. Greece has again and again stood on the right side of history, and now is not certainly the time to stand on the same side as Iran, Russia, and Turkey.
The United States and Greece share democratic values and the same interest in promoting democracy worldwide. I ask you to honor those shared interests and values by calling for free and fair elections in Venezuela.
The people of Venezuela have suffered enough at the hands of the Maduro regime. To have the birthplace of democracy support their call for true democracy and not merely sham elections will give them a morale boost and help their country’s rebirth, which will stabilize the region.
Gus M. Bilirakis
Member of Congress