GIOTOPOULOS PROFILED AS SON OF PROMINENT TROTSKYIST
Alexandros Giotopoulos visited Cuba to learn how to develop an urban guerrilla operation in Greece. Several months ago, the daily Ta Nea (whose publisher also owns To Vima and the Athens News) reported a trip to Cuba by the man Greek authorities suspected of being the leader of 17N.
19/07/2002, page: A05
La Nueva Cuba
Julio 20, 2002
LIKE a ripe fruit ready to be plucked, the man suspected of being the author of the 17N terrorist group's proclamations was arrested on the tiny remote eastern Aegean island of Leipsi on the very day that the pro-government daily To Vima identified him as Alexandros Giotopoulos, also running a detailed biography of his late father, a prominent figure in the Greek and international Trotskyist movement. Mitsos Giotopoulos, who is said to have been an associate of Leon Trotsky, and was known by the name "Witte" during the 1930s, founded the Archeio-Marxist Party of Greece (AKE) in 1947 and got 51 votes in that year's elections.
Alexandros Giotopoulos' alleged ties to armed violence are said to go back to his years as a university student in Paris in the 1960s. According to To Vima, he founded a Maoist group called "May 29" on May 29, 1968. That was the year he was expelled from the Greek Communist Party - which he joined in 1967, according to the same paper - by "a well-known" Greek politician.
The leads to Giotopoulos, 58, were supposedly developed by Scotland Yard, which set up shop in Athens after the June 2000 murder of British military attache Stephen Saunders. Starting their investigation of 17N from scratch, the British police reportedly interviewed dozens of older Greek leftist intellectuals, some of whom had resided in Paris in the late 60s.
The newspaper report indicated that Alexandros Giotopoulos visited Cuba to learn how to develop an urban guerrilla operation in Greece. Several months ago, the daily Ta Nea (whose publisher also owns To Vima and the Athens News) reported a trip to Cuba by the man Greek authorities suspected of being the leader of 17N. To Vima also reported a trip to Chile by Giotopoulos, in a show of solidarity with Salvador Allende, before his "May 29" group finally disbanded, adding that Giotopoulos "joins the faction that insists on the armed struggle of Che Guevara." During the period 1974-75, the story says he returned to Athens and "certain people have strong suspicions that he continues to insist on his views regarding struggle".
The elder Giotopoulos ("Witte") was born in 1901 and left Athens for Paris in 1934. He had already founded the group Ergasia ("Labour") and is said to have been a mentor of the late Trotskyist Michalis Raptis, or "Pablo", who in the past was unfoundedly accused of being behind 17N. The elder Giotopoulos allegedly broke with Trotsky over the Russian revolutionary's instructions to his French followers to operate as a faction of the French Socialist Party. In an October 1933 letter, Trotsky cites a need to "restrain comrade Witte".
Mitsos Giotopoulos and his Archeio-Marxist Party eventually abandoned the international Trotskyist movement.