Cypriots are not Fools

Cypriots are not Fools

CyprusCypriots are not fools and should not be treated as such. Or as idiots. People are fully aware of the government’s spin trickery, attempting to convince politicians to vote in favour of a bad law. If approved, it will reduce many families into utter poverty and the loss of their homes. The unemployed and the most vulnerable sectors in society will become the first victims of the proposed law, if approved by parliament.

The present government is actually once again using political blackmailing tactics – just like it did previously. It is now attempting to introduce – indirectly — another “kourema” (cropping) by allowing banks to sell problematic loans of hundreds of homes “en-mass” to third-party investors on the international market.

Meanwhile, the banks keep promising publicly and attempt to reassure citizens that they don’t intend to make people homeless. The collusion between the banks and the government to convince the public “that all is well” is becoming desperate and is quite obvious. Yet, it has been leaked in the press that: “The authorities will allow and facilitate lenders to transfer existing individual loans together with all collateral and securities to third parties at minimum transaction costs without having to obtain the consent of the borrower.”

Reading between the lines, it is of no wonder people don’t believe in official statements that reek of spin and trickery.

The betrayal of the citizens’ trust has left deep scars in people’s minds and will not be so easily forgotten. Two years in power, Anastasiades’ government is still at a loss, without direction as to where the country is going and how to get out of the mess. Things are worse today than ever before; citizens are furiously angry with the government and its policies of what is happening to the nation and demand radical changes, not wishy-washy rhetoric full of promises without results!

In fact, Cyprus has been socially and economically raped, and while the raping continues, banks refuse to reduce the interest rates of their poison-loans to help kick-start the economy. Aside from promises, they continue to offer the highest interest rates across Europe, killing incentive and any hope for recovery. The present government, through deceptive means, plans to bail out failed banks for the second time around, at people’s expense. It’s cheap and easy!

Ethically, banks should bail themselves out and not by the citizens. It is not people’s problem or people’s responsibility or even obligation to do so. Iceland did the right thing by not supporting banks and so did Argentina. That takes daring political decisions that are so badly missing in Cyprus.

When banks were cornered, when they recognized no financial bailout was forthcoming from taxpayers, they soon found money to bail themselves out. In Iceland, they did so because the leadership used the law to protect its citizens and not the banking institutions. No such initiative was ever contemplated by the present or even past governments in Cyprus. Today, the result of those policies is quite obvious; they were wrong from the very beginning!

Before the release of the next loan tranche to Cyprus, Troika demands – a pre-condition — that people who have difficulties paying their loans should have their homes repossessed. Yet, they conveniently ignore the fact that it was Troika’s EU policies that ruined the country in the first place. Today, more than 130,000 people are out of work and forced to live on handouts and below poverty standards. The unemployed and small businesses will certainly encounter payment problems, and not necessarily due to their own wrong doing but due to the government’s bad policies.

The home repossession formulas suggested are complicated, but in short, banks will have the right to foreclose and forcibly sell people’s homes at 50% (and even less) of their current value – keeping in mind that house prices have already dropped by 75%. At the same time, homeowners will be held responsible for the outstanding balance of the same loan.

For example: if an outstanding loan is 150,000 euros and the market value of the property is 200,000 euros, if it is sold at 50% of its value, at 100,000 euros, the homeowner will still owe the bank 50,000 euros and will be legally held responsible for the balance.

Under those conditions, people will not only have their homes repossessed, but under Cyprus law – unless it is revised — also the fear of imprisonment for failing to pay a debt. Ironically, a person in distress may find a new home in prison!

Banks and the Finance Minster are resisting calls by political parties to consider wiping out the balance owed, once people are forced out of their homes. If the proposal is approved, it would actually also enslave and commit the borrower’s children and all the other nine co-signers involved with the case, until the outstanding balance is paid in full. An economic tragedy will then rise out of the ashes of despair, to become the country’s worst nightmare.

That is stuff that revolutions are made of and if the government fails to recognize that possibility, it may have a rebellion on its hands, unless it listens to its citizens demanding fairness and not be so inclined to support EU-Troika and banks at the expense of the people.

In fact, “the right to rebel is the right or duty of people to overthrow a government who acts against their common interests or abuses constitutional powers as authorized by the electorate” – American Constitution.

That is precisely what the government is attempting to do: “act against the common interest of the people.” The right to rebel extends back to ancient China and is enshrined as an effective measure to protect the nation from a bad government.

Fortunately, people have finally wised up. They will no longer tolerate being dismissed or ignored by an elitist government that fails to understand the needs of the people and the country. There is a grassroots movement growing to resist this criminality because the family home of a Cypriot is sacrosanct and he will defend it with his life if necessary!

In view of this, a rebellious move against the government’s attempt to rob people again has grown and mass rallies will become a regular sight across the nation. The entire country is in uproar. This indicates that the general public, labor unions and other organizations can no longer tolerate injustice. They are ready to defend their rights by rebelling against a system that does not support the citizens and the country.

Most importantly, it will demonstrate that in full respect of democratic principles, Cypriots, as a civilized nation, did not rebel the last time their bank accounts were robbed. This time, it’s very different.

The government’s attempt to enforce a bad law may turn out to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Cypriots are not fools and can certainly no longer be fooled by politicians ever again.

That is a good sign for the future and for democracy.

  • Polycrates

    Well written Andreas. It’s time to put an end to the government’s gamesmanship and get on with life. Indeed Cypriots are not fools they have realized the fault electing weak leadership and being involved with the EZ. The Anastasiadis government must fall before any real constructive change/dialogue with the Troika can begin.