Gitenstein Is Collecting His Allowance

As the U.S. ambassador in Bucharest, Mark Gitenstein managed the rare performance of stirring up anti-American feelings! Romania has always been open to the U.S., including during the communist era; the population has always supported this attitude. Romanians were probably the most pro-American Eastern Europeans. That is probably the reason why they have been humbly swallowing the bitter pills served by Washington, even when the Americans were savagely bombing Bucharest on Easter Day, during wartime and when they left us to Stalin. In the ‘50s, naïve and gullible, our parents and grandparents kept hoping the Americans would come — which in the end they did, but after the country managed to free itself with no help. Up until Gitenstein came to Bucharest, not only did all the U.S. ambassadors have a certain limit of diplomacy in their public statements, they also didn’t bruise Romanians’ abraded dignity.

The lobbyist for whom there was no room in the Obama administration because of suspicions of having a “fondness” for other people’s money landed in Romania believing he had come across an American semi-colony that needed his government and guidance. He chose Monica Macovei* as counselor, Daniel Morar** as street sergeant and Traian Băsescu as performer — the power group that became unbearable for the population. The more upset the Romanians became with Băsescu’s regime, the more protection Gitenstein had for his praetorian guard. The ambassador’s statements of support jumped way over the fence of common sense, stirring harsh reactions from Romanian society, leaving many people wondering why the United States is so unconditionally supportive of such an unpopular regime and the toxic social characters that represent it.

The comparison with the Syrian “democracy” during the demonstrations in January 2012, defending the Romanian “coup d’état” and sending information to Washington about “the massive fraud to the referendum” were the peak points of Gitenstein’s activity, all of which led Romanians to question their friendship with America. During the same time, he showed increasing interest in a few economic matters, dressing up in a coat of words not so much the U.S.’ interest, but a certain group’s interests. The lobbyist in him was working hard for the buyout in the energy sector, the richest among the industries that were still state property. Gitenstein was disclosing the fast buyout on the stock market at a time when the share prices were low.

The ambassador’s speeches started to resemble more and more the press releases of Fondul Proprietatea, which, under this umbrella, became more arrogant.*** At one point, toward the end of his mandate, the ambassador’s voice was actually the voice of Fondul Proprietatea, impertinently admonishing the ministries and the government’s decisions! And now the interest group’s relationship is finally official. Gitenstein will formally become Fondul Proprietatea’s top representative. The lobbyist came to collect his allowance, along with the interest he carefully seeded for himself as ambassador.

Lack of scruples, doubtful morality and dishonest gains, you say? Maybe the ethics committee from the Department of State will clear things out. Welcome to the dough, Mr. Gitenstein! I hope you choke on it!

Translator’s Notes:

*Monica Macovei is a Romanian politician and former prosecutor, as well as a member of the European Parliament. She was also the minister of justice and has been the subject of controversy, having been accused of abuse of power.

**Daniel Morar is the chief attorney of the Romanian National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA).

***Fondul Proprietatea is a joint stock company established by the Romanian government but independent from it. Shares are held by people who lost property under the communist regime.

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