West 'Betrayed Fighters'
Interview with Romanian President Emil Constantinescu
|The Christian Science Monitor
30 January 1997,
INTERNATIONAL, p. 7.
|By Colin Woodard
Special to the Christian Science Monitor
BUCHAREST, ROMANIA -- The new Romanian President Emil
Constantinuescu has expressed disappointment with Western
governments' lack of support for those fighting for democratic
change in other parts of the world.
In an exclusive interview with the Monitor, Mr. Constantinescu says
he was surprised by the post-cold war politics of Western nations
toward Eastern Europe.
He says they have provided support to authoritarian governments
in the interest of stability.
"After 200 years of successful democracy, I'm afraid even the
United States seems most unconfident in the strength of popular
democracy," he says. "The West is always inclined to support
stability abroad, and the most convenient form of stability is often
authoritarian or dictatorial."
The president's remarks come while popular demonstrations
challenge less than democratic regimes in Bulgaria, Serbia, and
Albania, and following his recent defeat of former Communists in
The neo-Communist regimes that emerged after 1989 provided the
West with "protection against organized crime and unwanted
immigration and even gave them a basis for feeling superior. But by
supporting them, the West betrayed those fighting for democratic
change," he adds.
Constantinescu credits ordinary Romanians with having the
courage to vote for change, even as they knew that needed
economic reforms would cause them great difficulty in the short
Asked if his government faces challenges from remnants of
Ceausescu's security police, he acknowledges that such forces
exist, but says "the extent of popular support during the elections
has them afraid to take actions."
Most Romanians believe that covert intelligence and security
elements still exercise considerable power behind the scenes, a
paranoia given credence by the previous government's obstruction
of investigations into the Ceausescu period, the 1989 revolution, the
Tigru Mures riots, and other events.
Constantinescu says that the has spoken withj "certain officials" of
the various security agencies. "We have the support of the people
and we cannot be blackmailed or bought," he said. "They have
nowhere to go."
(c) 1997, 2004 Colin Woodard. May not be resused without permission.
(c) 2004 Colin Woodard; All rights reserved.