With three Athens-based television stations streaming into his home, Nicholas A. Bazos (photo), 72, is keeping close tabs on the fiscal crisis and resulting civil unrest unfolding in the country of his birth.
And what he sees might be a warning for the United States.
“If we continue on the spending binge we are on without enough income coming into the government, we will probably have the same problem,” Bazos said. “I hope it’s a lesson for us.”
Bazos was 14 years old when his family emigrated from the Peloponnese peninsula in the wake of Nazi occupation during World War II and a post-war Communist uprising. He’s now a regular visitor to his homeland and keeps in contact with friends and family there.
The daughter of a friend was one of three people killed earlier this month when rioters set fire to a bank in Athens, Bazos said.
Dimitrios A. Dimitroglou, 47, of East Longmeadow, left Greece when he was in his 20s to attend graduate school in the United States. Now a food scientist with Friendly Ice Cream Co. in Wilbraham, Dimitroglou believes the need for government cutbacks in Greece has been apparent for years.
“The politicians didn’t want to take the measures because they were unpopular measures to take,” Dimitroglou said. “How deep the cuts will go, how it will affect their lifestyle, has yet to be seen.”
Joining the Eurozone with its common euro currency has made it more difficult for Greece because it cannot devalue its currency and boost exports, he said .
Manny D. Rovithis, owner of Manny’s TV & Appliance stores around the Pioneer Valley, believes the debt Greece took on to build stadiums and transportation networks for the 2004 Summer Olympics also contributed to the problem.
“They did a great job, but they are suffering now,” Rovithis said. “Just like our kids are going to be paying for this war and all the troubles we’ve been having now in America.”