The Future of Romania Under New Leadership
Regarding the Opinion page article "Romania Stumbles Again," Oct. 8: Since the reelection of President Ion Iliescu of Romania on Oct. 11, the Western media have pounded the Romanian president, and the two-thirds of the Romanian people who voted for him, with accusations that the regime is returning to a communist-like economic system. Such nonsense not only distorts a common-sense approach to the realities of the Romanian economy but is highly destructive to the attraction of the foreign investment which
the country desperately needs.
Mr. Iliescu won reelection on a platform committed to slowing the pace of economic reform - not eliminating it. His concern is that the breakdown of the large, inefficient, state-owned enterprises will cause massive unemployment that might then lead to social upheavals and dislocations and potential chaos in Romania.
The country cannot destroy millions of factory jobs throughout the country unless there are social protections in place to retrain those workers.
Since Romania lacks the hard currency to pay for such programs, and Western investment in the country has been insufficient to counterbalance the loss of such jobs, protection of the Romanian population from a rapid shift in the economy would seem to make a lot of sense.
Virtually everyone in Romania recognizes that the country needs foreign investment in order to prosper. So why do the Western media pummel the Romanian people for choosing a rational, slower course of change?
Why do they keep referring to Iliescu as a former high-ranking Communist when the heads-of-state of Russia, Ukraine, and other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States were higher ranking Communists and more recently active in the Communist Party - not 20 years ago like Iliescu? Mark A. Meyer, New York, Romanian-American Cham. of Comm.
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