The parting shots of a corrupt old bastard. Or, Iliescu leaves office.
So Ion Iliescu is coming to the end of his time as president of Romania. He’s been president three times now, despite the fact that constitutionally he’s only supposed to be able to do it twice. Since Christmas 1989 when the Ceasescu’s were booted out of office (and off this mortal coil), he has been president aside from a four year aberration from 1996 to 2000.
So, now, though no-one expects him to go far, he is no longer president, but he has decided to just do a few little errands before he walks off into some senatorial role. The first was to pardon Miron Cozma, the leader of the miners who swept into Bucharest in 1990 and 1991 looting rioting and burning stuff in a clearly state sponsored (i.e. Iliescu sponsored) attempt to ensure that the democratic reforms sweeping Eastern Europe didn’t take too much of a foothold in Romania. These events are often credited with being responsible for Romania’s sloth in adopting reform and in keeping up with the rest of Eastern Europe. And since of all the former Warsaw pact (nonUSSR) countries Romania is the least advanced in the sense of implementing democratic reforms, having a functioning economy and not being corrupt, something must be to blame. Cosma was of course jailed (eventually) for his role in this anti-democratic palaver, and the rumour always was that it was Iliescu that was behind it. Freeing him as your final act, tends to leave people with the same impression.
But people were well pissed off about this. Even the American government (not one currently to be pro-democracy) were shocked, as was the vast majority of Romania. So, 24 hours after he had announced his release, Iliescu took it back “No, only kidding! Free Cozma? The very idea” I don’t know if Cozma actually got out of jail during this time or whether he was just packing up his suitcase in his Bucharest cell when the news came through. I have this image of him walking out the prison gates, taking a deep breath and walking off down the street, when round the corner, sirens blazing comes a police car. They pull him over and say “You’re re-nicked, mate”.
The other thing that he (Iliescu) did was to award some Romanian medal of honour to that complete psycho nationalist fascist nut job Cornelius Vadim Tudor. That’s right. I guess this is an award given to great Romanians (or people born within Romania’s borders) for their services to the world, or Romania or something. Anyway, giving it to that right wing nazi is like slapping the world in the face and saying fuck you. Elie Wiesel, the holocaust survivor and writer, who was born in Maramures, and was a previous recipient of this medal, promptly, and unsurprisingly, sent his back. CVT actually is (or at least was until recently) a holocaust denier, so to give him the same medal as Wiesel is a sick joke of horrendous proportions.
The good thing about all this, is that surely, if there was any lingering doubt in anyone’s mind about Iliescu's wankishness, then this must have dispelled it.
How to win friends and influence people
One of the countries in Europe where the US still has some friends is Romania. Romania is one of members of the “coalition”, and is in the New Europe that that mofo Rumsfeld referred to in one of his infamous speeches. (Have I ever told you how much I hate Donald Rumsfeld? Cancer’s too good for him). Anyway, to get back to the USA and its friends in Romania, well, they may just have lost most of them. You see it’s like this. A few weeks ago, a US embassy employee who was pissed as a fart was driving some US Govt vehicle through the streets of Bucharest. He runs a red light, and slams straight into a taxi, killing its passenger. Now, just possibly the embassy could have got away with this, and just shipped the offender home, but unfortunately for them the passenger was not just anyone, but was in fact the bass player with Romania’s answer to the Rolling Stones. So this is not some random unknown Romania being killed and having his death swept under the carpet. This is Teo Peter we’re talking apart (that’s his name by the way, I don’t know if it means Uncle Peter as it sounds like it ought, but if so, it sounds like a fictional paedophile. But with that all similarities with Bill Wyman must end). So, the US Embassy shipped this drunken moronic murdering bastard home, and of course the Romanian press and people are up in arms about this incident. The embassy spokesman came out and said how they’re going to definitely prosecute him in the US, honestly, but frankly the damage has been done. I suspect the general Romanian sanguinity with the US in general may be evaporating as fast as Iliescu’s brain cells.