Tomislav Karamarko: Still the One!

Tomislav Karamarko – candidate for president of Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ)

When seemingly everyone in a society wants to have a say on something on political party elections, and goes about saying it, then it’s clear there’s a burning need for changes that seek to bring about stabilisation of society.

Elections for leadership of a political party usually attract some media attention, but do not saturate it. In Croatia, though, issues relating to the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) leadership elections due on Sunday 20 May have literally flooded the Croatian media since January 2012. A barely informed reader would easily form the impression that general, not single party elections are afoot in Croatia. Everyone seems to want to say their bit, whether member of HDZ or not. The candidates for president of HDZ (initially six, now 5 ) have been placed in a public arena (psychologically not unlike the ones where Gladiators fought wild animals during days of Roman Empire). Dirt slinging, lies, accusations, slander … have replaced the spears, the chains, the swords…

The most dust has been raised against the candidate receiving most support from within HDZ membership – Tomislav Karamarko.

HDZ is the main political party in opposition in Croatia so its internal elections are a “big deal”. But, it is a poor political tactic to undercut one’s opponent’s ideals simply to champion one’s own.  It is even worse to spread untruths about candidates.

Instead of onstage bickering (gladly reported by the Croatian media) about opponent’s past deeds or ambitions, the people would want to hear about how each candidate plans to mend Croatia’s economy’s lacerations and outline an effective exit strategy from society’s divisions on whether communist crimes should be brought to justice and from widespread corruption that has almost paralysed the psyche of the ordinary battler on the streets.

Frankly, the most important issue is how each candidate for HDZ leadership plans to lead the party in the future and subsequently, should electoral “lady-luck” be so inclined, how they plan to lead a future government.

HDZ as a political party has been in strife for a number of years, and lately, given the criminal corruption charges against its former leader Ivo Sanader, it has been branded by some as a criminal organisation. Sanader is the one (along with former president of Croatia Stjepan Mesic) who has been most responsible overt and covert actions in the push to move HDZ away from its founder’s (Dr Franjo Tudjman) ideals. While it’s not unusual for political parties to undergo transformations and shift ideals to suit a democratic progress in society the outcome of the attempted HDZ’s transformations over the past twelve years is chaos within the party and chaos in society. As, HDZ was the popular people’s movement that led Croatia out of communist Yugoslavia, it only stands to reason that its symbol in the hearts of the people is still very strong.

It is blatantly obvious that Croatia cannot make the desperately needed step forward in democracy and economic stability unless the political bickering yields a leader who has the strength and determination to translate political spins into action.

Tomislav Karamarko had rejoined HDZ late last year, not having been a member for many years. Some say, with negative connotations, that he has ambitions to one day be the president of Croatia – as if ambition is a bad thing. Such critics need to realise that all progress is made out of ambitions; ambitions are positive and desirable. No change is achieved without ambitions.

Croatian people are largely sick and tired of corruption, the people want the rule of law and fair opportunities to succeed in life; they’re tired of the never-ending rows and insults about World War II divisions (Ustashe and Communists) – which group had the absolute right to kill and which one didn’t. The antifascists (communists) have held steadfastly to their purpose that Croatians who were against communism, deserved to be killed – and anyone who tries to pursue communist crimes is called an Ustasha (fascist)!

Only last week Josip Boljkovac, antifascist suspected of war crimes in WWII has called Tomislav Karamarko an Ustasha! That just demonstrates in what dire need Croatia is to rid its public alleys of people such as Boljkovac.

Karamarko has been criticised by some in the Croatian media, and outside it, as the person responsible for “handing over” general Ante Gotovina to the ICTY in the Hague.  These critics choose to ignore the fact that Croatia had legislated for cooperation with the ICTY many years before 2005 and that any person in the public service position under whose duties it fell to assist in the cooperation with ICTY needed to perform their duties as public servants under directions of their government superiors. It must not be forgotten that Croatia’s EU accession negotiations were stopped because it was assessed that cooperation was not what it should have been.

Other criticisms are that Karamarko as former minister of internal affairs did not stop corruption in Croatia. Well, Karamarko may not have stopped the corruption in Croatia (and he could not have done it single handedly even if he wanted) but he did a darn good job of bringing many high-level corruption charges into the courts. Perhaps it is exactly his proven fight against corruption and organised crime that has set many against him as candidate for HDZ leadership. Some might fear that the wrath of a determined corruption fighter will catch up with them, also?

As opposed to other HDZ leadership candidates Karamarko is still the only one that radiates the aura for decisive, desperately needed changes in Croatia: root out corruption and organised crime that cripple the economy on many levels and stick communist crimes where they belong – prison and pillory.

With all the other HDZ leadership candidates one cannot avoid sensing weaknesses and only lukewarm direction for some change, but not change that will lead Croatia into the next phase of democracy that requires the full rule of law and mechanisms that ensure compliance with the law across all levels of society. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


  1. Indeed, when you look around the political scene in Croatia there is no one that stands out as a firm leader like Tomislav Karamarko. And, yes, HDZ is very important because it unified the people towards one goal – to get out of rotten Yugoslavia – once and it can unify it again to get rid of the rotten criminals that poison economy and fill their own pockets.

  2. Sebastijan says:

    Economy is shot, politics just see mud slinging and little real stuff for the future, everyone wants to lead but only very few actually can. You are right Croatia is at crossroads: to continue with political bickering and public displays of dirty laundry while people suffer or go forth with a sharp “knife” and cut the rotten parts out, so to speak. Communist remnants are fighting hard to remain and people must realise that there is no future in that. The future lies in rolling the sleeves up and getting to work on true reforms and weeding corruption out, and wherever possible forcing the wealth gained through corruption to be handed over to government revenue.

  3. Brankec says:

    It’s a lot easier to drop two candidates out of the race than pick the best one. Regardless who wins out of Karamarko, Kujundzic or Milosevic, they will need each other’s support after the elections, so it would be a really good idea to keep it clean. As for the other two bozo’s, as far as I’m concerned, it’s ‘open season’. The commies are praying (haha) that Kosor or Milinovic win because that would be the end of HDZ, but I’m sure they will be disappointed in the end. They will finally have to answer to a stronger opposition on Monday regardless which one of the three candidates wins.

    • Totally agree, love the humour – lots of die-hards in the hunt, lots of dogs from all sides…HDZ needs a good broom but then so do many of the society’s avenues…commies are on their last legs, hopefully

  4. Michael Silovic says:

    Politics has always been a nasty game. The reality of it is that if a candidate come forward with a Croatia First Policy and clearly explains the path we need to take to move Croatia forward then we will have a decisive clear winner.Tomislav Karamarko is clearly someone to be looked at to move Croatia forward and rid it of the negativity if elected. However if he has no Croatia First Policy and plans on being a sheep led by other powers outside of Croatia then he will be deemed just as useless. Policy for the next president needs to address economic interests for the benefit of Croats first with our natural resources benefiting Croatians only, control immigration of foreign nationals into our country who are not of Croatian decent, and monetary issues concerning our debt and loan guarantees from the IMF. The monetary question is the second most important that will need to be addressed. I do not favor Croatia running to borrow money from the EU or IMF and create massive debt to our country but prefer that we keep within our budgets and goals of a Croatia First so that we do not put such heavy burdens on our future with constant taxation. Any candidate that too closely aligns themselves with the EU should be looked at wearily as someone not favorable to Croatians interest.

    • Yes, high time for firm resolve to attack solving problems within Croatia rather than listening to outsiders in everything and anything

  5. That’s it Ina. Thanks a lot:)

  6. Are you sure that Karamarko is not just a successor in the Sanader – Kosor dynasty?

    What scares me is that Karamarko appears to be just an extension of the status quo – the present day ruling elite that would not know democracy and social responsibility if it bit them on the ass.

    If the establishment is working to make him leader, should we trust him? Of course he has an “air of confidence” but that is because he for some reason already knows that he will win. The HDZ elections, from what I have heard, are not very democratic. There is a lot of corrupt politics which the public does not even see. There are stories of intimidation payoffs.

    • I believe that status quo cannot be maintained as it would surely lead to another general election loss. Like the last one. And every party is in business of winning general election for government. HDZ needs to change its ways in a way that people at large see and feel those changes. Internal party politics can be anything they want but if a party wants the votes of general public when the time comes for that, it must work towards serving that public not itself. I believe that Croatian public has recognised its power and will exercise it more and more – which is a great thing. Karamarko has demonstrated a stregth that many believe is needed, but delegates of the party will decide who gets their votes.

  7. Michael Silovic says:

    your statement , the present day ruling elite that would not know democracy and social responsibility if it bit them on the ass is correct considering Croatia is a newly formed democratic country and are following the course of other countries as part of the entry into the EU. I do not agree with that at all but rather prefer that the Croatian people contribute and vote to what our democracy and constitutional rights should be rather then close chapters quickly for the purpose of the EU. Democracy in the west does not mean that we have to have the same exact type of democracy as we clearly see that the democracy of the west is failing as the United States becomes more fascist day by day and the constitutional rights of Americans are being taken away slowly and a major push of criminalization of American citizens is underway for manipulation and control purposes. This is why we all must vet the candidates for office in Croatia and make sure we elect someone who will listen to and follow the voice of Croats rather then just follow the failures of others. CROATIA FIRST ! We the people as a young nation must make demands early on in our democracy and especially in our government if we are to have a country for the people and by the people and not just politics as usual.

  8. A very constructive discussion here guys. Well done. As I see it, a Croatia First policy is the only solution for Croatia – vertical and horizontal integration of the selo in Slavonija to feed the masses of tourists frequenting the Dalmatian coast and our pristine national parks. Unfortunately, the internal focus that HDZ has placed on its inordinately long presidential campaign, has allowed the ruling SDP excessive latitude in setting the national agenda virtually unopposed. Additionally, no-one has really focussed on Croatia’s economic issues in this campaign, showing more interest in scoring cheap political points, (e.g. Karamarko going and then not going to Bleiburg), name-calling, muck-raking and competing to see who is the biggest fan of President Tudjman. Hardly inspirational stuff.

    And then there are these sorts of exposes . . .

    Can a leopard change his spots? Tudjman did. But can Karamarko be trusted? Or will he be another Sanader? I wish HDZ good luck on picking the right leader and getting back into government and set Croatia back on the right course again, as it has been wandering off course for the last 12 years under the governments or Racan, Sanader and Kosor, sacrificing our Generals and our sovereignty, glorification of communism (anti-fascism), sinking deeper and deeper into debt, unemployment and general economic chaos.

    • Have read that “biography” on and, frankly, it does not in its format resemble any biography I know of. The anonymous author of that biography got stuck on certain periods of Karamarko’s life and stopped. A biography needs to encompass all major milestones in ones life, otherwise it’s not a biography but a piece written for purposes other than true reflections of ones life; that what a biography should be. The author should have called his/her piece something else, not a biography. Since he/she went so far as to call it a biography then he/she would have much more credibility had he/she called it “an unauthorised biography”, or, simply “a biography” – meaning a version of biography. That way the content within it would have more credibility than what it does now. Indeed, much needs to be changed and tightened and as to who will prove to be the right leader that will be seen – hopefully with more gain than loss to the ordinary citizen.

  9. Michael Silovic says:

    Mladen, we do have constructive discussion here because Ina provides insight into issue that are of national interest to Croatians as a whole with out being biased in search of the truth.Her opinions and comments can not be labeled as Biased because she seeks the truth. Something hard to find these days.It doesn’t mean that everyone agrees with her writings but she certainly points us all in a direction of thought which enables us to discuss our opinions uncensored. I personally do not read biography unless they are written by the person themselves that allows us to understand the individual for who it was written and to gather those facts with what we know as truths so we can form an opinion for ourselves on the persons character and truthfulness. It is usually hard to believe what you read when bio’s are written because you must be able to understand the authors true reason for the writings , intent and political leanings of the author. A Croatia First Policy is the only way for Croatia to move forward with its people getting the greater share of all benefits if we are to become a country that is able to keep its national sovereignty and heritage alive. One must understand fully what a Croatia First Policy should be and not be afraid to be labeled a fascist or any other name if they truly believe in a Croatia First as many will find a label for those who believe in such a policy. As an example I believe that anyone who does not support a Croatia First Policy is a traitor to our people and country and there are those who call me fascist. I will do what I can and scream a Croatia First Policy regardless of what I am called. It is not enough just to say I demand a Croatia First Policy but I go further in dialoging with other in my beliefs because this is truly the only direction for our country in this young democracy. A Croatia First Policy deals directly with uncensored freedoms of speech political or other wise,Equal Human rights, Direct monetary investments in our people and country,( The most single important element in a Croatia First Policy ) Controlling foreign investment and ownership in Croatia , Controlling of immigration into Croatia and national security. One must understand that a failure to have a Croatian First Policy puts our country at a disadvantage because of the size of our country estimated at 3.8 million which can so easily be repopulated by foreigners if allowed entry into our country that can alter the course of our countries ethnicity, customs and heritage literately in a matter of 20 years. I could go on with this but I think you understand my point. I thank you for wanting and believing in a Croatia First Policy and hope you do all you can to inform others to support such a policy in our young country.

    That is the biggest problem that no one has a plan for.

    Baron Rothschild said “the time to buy is when there’s blood in the streets”. I would add that “if there is no blood on the streets then spill some”. That is modern economic warfare.

    The “domoljubna desnica” focusses on the nationalist issues such as identity, culture, the Generals and WW2 but they do not do anything about the economy.

    The “Red” government uses certain issues (like anti-fascism) like a red cape in front of a bull and the right charges at it instinctively. We react to what we see the right hand doing but we do not keep track of the left hand. The left hand is doing the real damage.

    Where are the Branitelji that will fight on the economic battlefield? Either the government is very incompetent or they are very competent in working towards someone else’s interests.

    Where is the opposition?

    U Hrvatskoj samo bogati i siromašni, srednji sloj nestao

    Stanovništvo alarmantno stari, a mladi će otići kad uđemo u EU

    • That newspaper first above link title “In Croatia only rich and poor, middle class has disappeared” is true for many countries even the richest although in many richest the notion of “upper middle class” has disappeared, there’s only “lower middle class” and barely hanging onto the “middle” title. So, Croatia is just seeing the trends visible almost everywhere. Croatia unlike many “rich” countries still has a great deal ro resolve in its “nationalistic” peace, i.e. people identifying as “Croatians” with pride, because the WWII issues have not been resolved and antifascists continue to point to the “other side” even those the other side does not exist except in love for Croatia. In rich countries people are proud to feel nationalistic, do not need to prove their love every day like in Croatia, and can therefore, simply said, get on with life.
      The second link in your comment “the population ages alarmingly, and the young will go when we enter EU”. “Baby boomers” are getting to the pension age everywhere, and ageing population is large in most Western countries, the only difference is that in former Yugoslavia retirement age was too low, many retired on “state coffers” in their 40,s and 50’s and in the past 20 years many still retired in their mid-fifties, opening up positions for the younger, but number of jobs has diminished generally and you get a formula for poverty. Indeed it would be ideal if more jobs were created, if the former Yugoslav push to get people out of rural areas, villages into cities had not occurred to such an extent where today you have an enormous wealth of abandoned family farms while the young consider it beneath them to tackle the land. In former Yugoslavia there were lame attempts to return people back to the land (particularly during the 1980’s) dishing money out left right and centre for people to plant olive trees, grape vines, and what not BUT there was no system in place to police (monitor) that the money dished out was actually spent on what it was intended for …much needs to change indeed.
      I personally do not believe that too many young people will go out of Croatia once in EU plainly because all other countries are in similar circumstance of unemployment and the only foreigners that will succeed there will be select few. In those countries struggles with increasing poverty, or reduced buying power, therefore reduced living standards are an issue too.

  11. One last thought.

    Croatia is a country of 2,000 people that matter
    and the rest are just peasants used to enrich the elites.

    • I guess every country has an “elite” that “rules” or swings power, but the millions of “peasants” let them know that their rule is fragile and can disappear at the mere “no tick against their name at elections”. Croatian people are learning the power of voting at democratic elections but that lesson has not, unfortunately, been learned and applied by many, and the “elite” cannot surely be blamed for that.

  12. Michael Silovic says:

    Ina, strikingly your comments on farming are correct! It is part of a Croatia First Policy that I envision for our future. I did not want to go into a farming discussion as part of a Croatia First Policy but since you brought this up I will venture slow and short. One of the rules of survival for any people is to be able to eat and drink ( I love shivalitza my childhood medicine! ) Farming in the Pannonian region should be a part of our governments most heavily invested monetary policy of investment.We have some of the best soils in the world and in doing so would keep prices low for the average consumer for food in Croatia to feed their families and of course Italy would be a very large consumer in trade along with other countries such as Germany and England et, al as an example. Farming brings families closer together
    ( a Croatian Family First Policy to be discussed in future topics) and creates jobs locally for those that live in certain areas that are in need of income more then other areas. Farming also plays a big part in the Croatian economy in the southern region that is known for tourism such as the Dalmatian coast where Italy buys their farming goods and then resells it back to Croats in the winter! (this is insane). This also allows us to teach younger Croats to understand that farming is the way of the future to sustain one self and be independent of government. I have no issue with keeping the retirement at a lower age. In fact I believe that in a Croatia First Policy we should allow those to retire at 55 years of age with limited government assistance that allows people to pay their ordinary expenses and to survive on farming for themselves for food and to sustain energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is part of another Croatia First Policy that I will discuss in the future as we have the resources. One of the fallacies is that those who are government sponsored because of pensions creating a massive financial burdens is incorrect If we teach people to be self sufficient and support their neighbors and local communities. One of the lessons we all should learn is not to depend on any government to create any economic opportunities for the people but instead teach people to earn economic advantage for themselves through empowerment of mind , body and soul by taking care of themselves and their neighbors with assistance from government when needed. a person living in large cities become a haven for those who have not verses those who have the will power to learn to become self sustaining. Croatia fought for independence and won as a country. We are not finished and now must fight for Independence from government and become winners for ourselves as individuals. Farming allows this by selling of our goods and supports our country financially.. Will we all become rich? The answer is simply yes because cash money has not ever made anyone happy but self preservernce always does.

  13. Michael Silovic says:

    Z, focusing on the nationalist issues such as identity, culture, the Generals and WW2 are important issues in a new democracy as is the economy. The problem is we are trying to duplicate the economy of the EU and others (look at the failures of the EU and America now you know why we are getting no where) rather then looking inward as to what we can do for ourselves. As an example if we were to take money from EU or IMF ( I disagree with that totally and prefer to keep the kuna and Croatian monetary policy) then those monies should be used in our infrastructure only and Croats only should be given the work to rebuild our country. This will return monies not only to our people but also return it back to our government through taxation and create new business and investments.. In relations to Foreign investments in Croatia we should have a policy that a minimum amount ( 70 % per company ) of Croats be hired and trained in any business venture before we allow foreign businesses to have work visas for others or in some cases tax breaks.Sustaining ones self or family should always be a priority over anything else in life. ( farming and Energy ) Economic developments come from individual people and not government, governments role is in fostering success for those who venture into business through support of various kinds.

  14. Croatia’s biggest long term problem is demographics. We lose 40 Croats a day due to negative population growth – more people die in Croatia than are born. This is our single biggest strategic issue. If we do nothing about it there will not be enough Croats left to continue our society, culture and heritage. In other words there will be no Croatia. The politicians need to start focusing on this issue. With population growth there will be economic growth.

  15. Michael Silovic says:

    That will be a problem for sometime to come unless the Croatian government makes it easier for Croatian descendents to return through ancestry laws. Currently there is a problem for many who want to return because documents from 3 generations or even 2 generations do not have Croat stamped on any documents so it is difficult to prove you are of true Croat ethnicity.Many documents in some cases can not be located anywhere such as school books that can prove such roots. But I believe that if croatia invests in its people we can see the trend change and this is why we need a Croatia First Policy

    • Mladen Lekom says:

      Michael, you have really hit the nail on the head and you have some excellent ideas! It is a travesty and beggars belief that the mentality of Croatia’s younger generations that farming is beneath them has resulted in Croatia being a net importer of fresh produce, when we should be self-sufficient – and even after feeding the millions of tourists, we should be a net exporter! I would also like to add that the Croatian government must reconnect with it’s expatriates the world over and regain their trust and thus take advantage of the immense human and financial capital that we can provide – be it via investment or more preferably via our return.

  16. Michael Silovic says:

    While the ideas may be excellent it will not be easy to achieve if government does not open their eyes to a Croatia First Policy. Farming subsidies must be a part of any economic reform for our country.Repatriation laws must be made easier the what they are currently if Croatia is to exist or this can happen to us as is happening in Israel as I been stating.

  17. Michael Silovic says:

    Mladen, your comment : Croatia’s younger generations that farming is beneath them has resulted in Croatia being a net importer of fresh produce, I can not fully agree with those comments though I am sure many may feel that way. We must understand that as Croats a lot of the younger generation was not taught that farming is the best way of life to sustain ones self when they were raised under fear of war and war itself. This is why it is important that the government support family farms and farming of all types in general. Education is the key to the success of bring the old ways of farming and self sustaining to the new generation. This is very important as Croatia needs to become an exporting country rather then an importing country if we are to survive economic hardships in the future. Given the opportunity I believe those in the slavonian region would jump at the chance to have their own business in farming understanding that they would not only be making a living, but feeding themselves and supporting their country as a whole. One of the hardships that farming has to over come is the new laws that were implemented by going in to he EU which makes family farming very expensive to start up.But non the less I have faith in Croats to be able to over come these issues and become a success in what they want to achieve.

  18. truthbefree says:

    Croatia’s biggest issue has been and will be, at least for the next decade or so, a transition into a well organized democratic functioning state. It is one thing to gain independence as a country which suffered a long and hard battle, but let’s not kid ourselves here. Croatia desperately needs guidance in developing a credible political culture, which it isn’t even close to achieving. One reason, is the weakness of its Parliamentary Constitution and the second, and more obvious is the epidemic corruption within its political ranks, and its leaders have demonstrated little knowledge of what a democracy truly is or even freedom for that matter. Freedom and democracy are only nurtured through a culture of responsibility which does not yet exist in Croatia. In 20 years, and I’m sure all you die hard and incredibly blind HDZ supporters will find excuses for this monumental failure. There has been no force in the entire history of Croatia that has created more poverty and more suffering than this gang of greedy kleptokrats. Nation building is a complex social and political endeavor, and whether you agree or disagree, the average Croatian mentality has deteriorated to lethargic proportions of apathy for one reason alone. They have become habitual non thinkers and that mental laziness was created by autocratic and corrupt politicians who have made their people feel powerless. This issue will not just disappear through half measures and sound bytes from incompetent politicians who continue to damage the formation of a Croatian identity beyond flag waving. HDZ consistently demonstrates its inability to move towards the future, but rathe signals that Croats prefer their agendas to be filled with fear mongering and incoherent policies that discriminate the “free thinking” individual. Croats are not ready and have not be prepared for “free markets” or “competent education” and more importantly, a lack of true values is sorely missing. Croatia must spend the next 20 years soul searching because from a very different vantage point, Croatia’s soul is deeply damaged and needs an intervention from the outside world, but there are many within Croatian society who would lose their priveledged lives if a magnifying glass were held too closely. Therefore, it seems that the plight of the Croatian people will not be changed by some magical wand of economical solutions, until Croats are prepared to take individual responsibility for their lives. Unfortunately for Croats this is a lesson to be learned the hard way and never the easy way. Good luck Croatia, I wish you well.

    • Totally agree with you Truthbefree with regards to need for culture change etc but people simply cannot blame one or two political parties for their woes, people need to take personal responsibility and sadly lots of that had been chipped away by former communist system of “collective” (bugger all) responsibility where in fact no one saw it was their duty to do their bit for greater good (nation) when all benefit eventually. It takes a generation and more to water down these ingrained failings of individuals. But I still think that much progress has been made, much more works is needed. The population needs to be receptive of changes and give them a go, what we have in Croatia is a lot of criticism and jealousy where professionalism and creativeness are often cut down and not given a change. A kind of a “tall poppy syndrome” only in Croatia it seems more prevalent than in many other countries.

  19. Michael Silovic says:

    A culture of responsibility can only be achieved through a Croatia First policy. This policy will empower the Croatian people to work and earn a living and empower them through the political changes for the better. While Croatia desperately needs guidance in developing a credible political culture there are other countries to look to other then the EU and the USA for social and economic changes.I believe that Croats are prepared to take individual responsibility for their lives if given the tools to be able to do so which they so desperately need.Will this happen over night the answer is no but it can begin if we have a government who puts our people and country first and this is what Croats need to demand of our government.

  20. truthbefree says:

    I agree with most of what Michael says in terms of empowerment and developing a culture of responsibility, but even that will be a long process and definitely not overnite. The moment a policy such as a Croatia First Policy would be announced it would not be enough simply because a society in itself has to create role models that a younger generation can look up to in all facets of life. As of right now, I know for a fact that the younger generation does not look up to anyone in Croatian society who has power and wealth. In countries such as the USA, Australia and Canada in spite of their imperfections they still do uphold the ideal of “responsible by law” in most cases, not in every case, but in most. Freedom and “democracy” are responsibilities and because of Croatia’s lack of experience in statehood, their view of freedom is limited to “I can say or do whatever I want”. This is an adolescent view compared to older democracies. Croatia must first establish a functional judiciary system that no longer resembles “show trials” of autocratic states. There’s a lot of work to be done in these areas. It makes practical sense that they recieve guidance from those who have lived and worked in democracies which would be in this case, “the diaspora”, but Croatians seem very reluctant to access the know how and capital of the diaspora intelligently and “the diaspora” is reluctant because of past promises broken by Croatia. This riff is worth mending and could lead to a better path for Croatia overall. But first, let’s get rid of the culture of corruption which is so obvious and continues to enslave the population of Croatia. Freedom for a few is not really freedom is it?

  21. Good points made by all. I agree with you, but do feel that Croatia should be given some credit for its achievements. As for taking individual responsibility Croat are no worse and probably better than most of the EU. Just look at the situation in Greece, Spain, Italy etc. no individual responsibilities…people just demanded more for less work and the government appeased them with disastrous results. Worse is there is no responsibility to want to pay back the debt incurred. EU is a disaster. America is on the fringe of bankruptcy. We all need to protect ourselves. Croatia needs to better prepare its people for the discipline of a market economy.

  22. Michael Silovic says:

    You will never get rid of corruption no matter how free you are. America was born with a lack of morals, corruption and thievery and many countries in the EU have followed that path( England as an example) and that is why they have become a failure as you see it today. Your comments:The moment a policy such as a Croatia First Policy would be announced it would not be enough simply because a society in itself has to create role models that a younger generation can look up to in all facets is totally wrong. If you present a positive model for a Croatia First Policy that allows individuals of Croatia to understand that for the very first time in their lives they get to be participant in its enactment you are already informing them that they are the leaders of our future with participation. To simply copy the EU or the USA is not allowing Croats to form their own Self Identity and and way of the future but to allow them to be mere sheep in a political system that only allows certain members of society to join and succeed.This notion that the young people are lacking in anyway is totally false. We have not provided for them anything in a way to allow them to move our country forward so what should we expect? One of the things I will not do is to blame our people because the blame is squarely on our government if failure occurs in our country. In order for a society to survive and countries to become world leaders there must be many things that people need assistance with from our government beside so called democracy.This includes participation in government, education and monetary support to begin with. A policy of understanding of what the countries people needs to survive and a government who puts its own people before anyone else. As an example. If we take money from the IMF or the Eu the first thing we should do is rebuild our infrastructure and hire only Croats to build. Put Croatia back to work!. This is putting money into the people of Croatia pocket and returning it to the government by taxation and those who want to be a service provider of materials can start a newly formed Croatian business to support those who are working the projects. Recycling of monies back into our country if you will. No infrastructure project supported by our government by outside sources should take place unless Croats hold the majority of workers which I put at a minimum of 70%. You see Croats are not dumb or lazy. Neither young or old people. They just want to be able to have a government that puts Croatia First regardless if it conforms to the rule of the law pertaining to the EU or any other powers that may be.Out sourcing of work and importing of goods make Croats nothing more then slaves to other entities, creates a major negative cash flow back into our government through debt and lessens the participation our our people and creates a national debt burden that provides no benefit to the people in the long term. One of the things we all can do here is discuss ideas on one subject at at time to discuss what would be the best of ideas to move Croatia in a positive direction with out blaming those who will be the future leaders of our country. Hopefully our government will understand this and put our country first.

    • Mladen Leko says:

      Michael, you are spot on. And that’s what I meant by horizontal and vertical integration. Getting foreign currency into the country and recycling it many times over within the country. That is the key. Thus we can use the money of foreign tourists to buy the produce of Croatian farmers, of Croatian builders to renovate and expand their tourist businesses, pay Croatian hospitality workers. People in these support industries then spend the same foreign currency on Croatian produce, goods and services. And so on. And so on. Quite simple really. But the people of Croatia must adapt, and provide the goods and services that are needed to support the industries that are actually attracting foreign currency and exports. Not those that are net importers!

      Where I live in Australia, the only legal immigrants allowed into the country are those that have skills in the areas that the Government has identified that there is a skills shortage. Both my father and myself swallowed our pride and worked menial jobs until we could get into the profession/skill that we had trained for. And that is the mentality that Croatians in Croatia must adopt for the country to prosper. Simple supply and demand! No point being an unemployed academic, being a burden on the social security security system, unable to provide for your family, when there many thousands of other unemployed academics. Get into an industry that is under-resourced e.g. farming and reduce net imports.

      I really hope that the new HDZ re-connects with diaspora communities and seeks to re-engage with us and leverage our vast financial and human capital to take Croatia forward in the coming decades.

  23. truthbefree says:

    Michael makes my point exactly, isolationist and nationalistic Croatia is doomed to failure. And how exactly do you “show” Croats that they can be empowered? Magic maybe as you suggest? Sorry, but that’s a true pipe dream without positive role models, and Croatian society doesn’t have that type of culture as it doesn’t even have a culture of volunteering to make the country better. These are facts, look them up. America a failure? is not a response, it’s a reaction. Croatia had a great chance with 20 years of independence and they all squandered that time, and now they will pay consequences. Corruption exists in all countries, but in Croatia it is perfected to an art form and has manifested itself in all aspects of life. Remember, elections are a reflection of the mentality of the people itself, this holds true for Croatia as well. And you can criticize democracy as an ideal, but please don’t say that Croatia is yet a democracy, because it isn’t. Example, in Zagreb, Tibet activists were arrested in the main square because a Chinese delegation was visiting your vice prime minister to close a deal for investments. Arrested? Are you kidding me? What happened to freedom of speech? Critical thinking is necessary here, and not general statements that skip the “how to” part. Michael makes my point for me. Croatia has to soul search and admit its mistakes so that it can define its identity in the future. Socialism is dead and no matter what you want to happen for the future of Croatia, it will be defined by outside influence definitely. Expecting Croats to do it alone? Not realistic.

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