Open Letter to Mr. Panagiotis Theodorikakos, Greek Minister for the Interior on Direct Voting by Greeks living in USA in Greek national elections.
Dear Mr. Panagiotis Theodorika
I heard you today (9/22/2019) on the Greek-American radio broadcast of GAEPIS CosmosFM promoting giving the Greek Diaspora of USA equal rights as Greeks in Greece in voting from USA directly on Greek National elections
The effort that is currently being made to get the Greeks who live in other countries to vote directly from their residence country in Greek national elections without having to go to Greece to vote requires more stringent analyses than has been given by Greek Governments to date!
As I have lived in USA for over 70 years I will like to see some thorough analysis on this direct vote issue effort by bringing to you for your consideration some information based on the Greek-American diaspora’s historical actions that I lived through.
As the Greek Diaspora in USA generally has limited easy access to pro-Greek unbiased sources of information on the issues confronting Greeks in Greece, and a resolution of some of the issues that benefit Greece may be seen unfavorably by USA interests. This issue raises some basic questions, e,g,, who should be leading this effort to allow the Greek Diaspora in USA to vote on Greek national issues? Why the people that are now promoting this direct USA to Greece vote initiative, who from the Greeks in USA should be allowed to vote directly from USA in Greek national elections, who should manage this process, etc, and based on thorough analysis of the findings, set requirements and then the Greek government can decide whether giving the Greek Diaspora in USA “carte blanche” on the privilege to vote in Greek national elections from USA is, an asset or a liability to democracy in Greece.
As I have lived in USA for over 70 years I will like to see some thorough analysis on this direct vote effort by bringing to you some information based on the Greek-American diaspora’s actions when Greece was governed by the USA government (e.g., President Nixon, Agnew, Kissinger etc.) that supported the brutally oppressive undemocratic Junta (1967 to 1974) the Junta that was used to facilitate the Turkish invasion of Cyprus . Let me also note upfront that my comments are based on my experience as an activist in USA against the Junta and may not apply to Greeks living in other countries ( e.g., Canada, Australia, Germany,…). I cannot speak with the same confidence for the attitude of non-USA living Greek Diasporas . Conditions were different and thus their attitude is likely to had differed from those of the Greek Diaspora in USA: the USA government to serve its interests was supporting the oppressive brutal Greek Junta until it served its purpose , i.e., .the Turkish invasion of Cyprus
In USA most of the established Greek diaspora during the USA supported brutally oppressive Junta years, 1967-1974( e.g.,the Greek-American Orthodox Church, the Greek-American MME (radio, newspapers, clubs/organizations e.g,, AHEPA: the “Greek American diaspora complex”) would not speak out against the oppressive Junta, for doing so they considered it will be interpreted anti-American, that it would thus weaken the ties of the ” American-Greek diaspora complex”(to paraphrase the President Eisenhower metaphor). So it was not uncommon during the USA supported brutally oppressive Junta years, 1967-1974 for the USA established Greek diaspora to label Greeks that opposed the Junta communists and/or trouble makers. There was a minority of Greek-American democrats and some American democrats that at the time spoke out against the Junta’s oppression, Some USA MME , such as, The New York Times blamed the “faulty Greek character” for the American supported oppressive tragedy that befell Greeks without a word of criticism from the above noted controlling Greek-American elite complex.
I hope the above noted historical observations motivates you to reconsider whether giving the Greeks living in the USA the privilege to vote from USA in Greek national elections is an asset or a liability to democracy in Greece, and have a more realistic view/expectations from the USA Greek diaspora’s perspective when voting in Greek national elections.
I do not mean to imply with the above that the Greek-American controlled diaspora and its Greek controllers do not love Greece. Although I love the Greek-American diaspora, truth is dearest to me.
Demosthenes Konstantatos P.hd., M.Sc. , MBA
Greenwich CT USA