At General Elections Show Solidarity With The Diaspora – The Most Important Investor And Tax Payer In Croatia

Both cynics and optimists (albeit with a heavy heart) have long indulged in the thinking that corruption (one of the predominant characteristics of doing private or government business inherited from communist Yugoslavia) in Croatia will continue to plague the country simply because the benefit of doing it outweighs its cost. After swindling millions from government projects and companies, the alarmingly large number of jailed corrupt officials and company directors can expect to walk out of prison and live the rest of their lives spending the ill-gotten riches or, others will avoid prosecution due to their connectedness to the corridors of power. Perhaps here also lies a reason why both HDZ and SDP-led governments of past two decades have committed travesty, to say the least, towards the Croatian diaspora, which is professionally experienced and knowledgeable about implementation of corruption-resistant legislation and procedures as well as developed in living in established democracies with despise for corruption in society.

Both HDZ and SDP-led governments of Croatia have particularly during the past decade made it increasingly difficult and most often impossible for Croatian citizens living in the diaspora to vote in the Croatian elections even though their right to vote is guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia. And yet, if it were not for the outstanding contribution the Croatian diaspora has made in the creation of today’s independent Croatia and if it were not for the continuous outstanding influx of money from the Croatian diaspora into Croatia that significantly reduces poverty in Croatia, Croatia would today undoubtedly be in a much worse economic and political position. Voters are the ones that steer and impact on positive (or negative) development of the economy as well as all other draw-cards of standard of living. The entitlement to reasonable access to polling booths has been made unreasonable for the Croatian diaspora during the past decade. Polling booths situated in community settings such as Croatian clubs have been abolished and citizens of Croatia living abroad wishing to vote during elections are forced to vote at the Croatian diplomatic-consular missions, which are unreasonably too far for most voters to travel to. Electronic and postal voting, the ultimate tool of democracy put in place by most democracies in the world, have eluded, purposefully, the resolve and actions of all governments in Croatia during the past two decades. The process of gaining Croatian citizenship for people living abroad of Croatian ancestry has been unreasonably difficult, slow and complicated. The foreign pensions taxation has been utterly unfair once a Croatian who has earned his/her pension abroad has returned to live in Croatia, his/her first homeland. The climate for setting-up business in Croatia has been made unreasonably difficult and riddled with destructive red tape. I could go on and on about the political and legislative climate in Croatia during the past two decades that has despite the governments’ open invitations for Croats to return from the diaspora worked against and in resistance of that very goal the governments’ have evidently been putting to the forefront of matters to be achieved during past mandates.

On the matter of paying tax in Croatia and its increasing (ill-gotten) association to the right to vote I, and indeed many, cringe in disbelief. That is, for few years now the Croatian public, both in Croatia and in the diaspora, has been bombarded with misguided, destructive and downright depraved attitudes that “Croatian diaspora should not be permitted to vote in Croatian elections because it does not pay tax in Croatia.” The fact that the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia provides for the right to vote to all citizens of the country, no matter where they live, is not even heard from the mouths of politicians belonging to governing coalitions. The fact that Croatian diaspora does in one way, or another, contribute significantly to the taxation revenue of the country is not heard from their mouths, either. It’s only the politicians of the “right-wing” opposition that express the facts of the Croatian diaspora’s tax contribution to Croatian government revenue from time to time. But this usually falls on deaf ears of mainstream media.

So, let’s take a brief stock of Croatian diaspora’s contribution to the taxation revenue of the Republic of Croatia. In 2019 the National Bank of Croatia has registered 1.74 billion euro remittance via bank transfers or deposits from the diaspora. This sum can easily be doubled if one takes into account cash physically brought into the country by Croats visiting Croatia or by sending cash to family in Croatia via visitors to the diaspora. If we assume, and it is safe to do so, that these enormous amounts of cash and remittances from the diaspora are spent in Croatia on goods and services then the tax revenue for Croatia contributed by the diaspora comes in through 25% valued-added tax (PDV) and it is stunningly great. What is more important in this, though, is the fact that bank remittances and physical cash that flows from the diaspora into Croatia also means that this money goes towards reduction of poverty in Croatia. Then, there are many returnees from the diaspora who bring in their foreign pensions, which are taxed at 12.25 to 40% depending on the height of the foreign pension and most are taxed at the higher rate of tax. If they were not Croatians from the diaspora who do not love their first homeland, they would not return to Croatia to live! Then there are investments and businesses set-up in Croatia by people from the Croatian diaspora (whether the investors or business owners live in Croatia or not) and tax revenue for the state from the diaspora follows. Then there are various land and property taxes Croats from the diaspora pay in Croatia. I could go on with this stocktaking of taxes paid or contributed to Croatia by the Croatian diaspora, but I believe that what I have listed here is sufficient to prove and demonstrate the point that Croatian diaspora does contribute to tax revenue of Croatia; it contributes significantly. Furthermore, paying taxes is not nor should it be a condition for the entitlement to vote in elections – citizenship is.

The governing and opposition politicians either by their lack of guidance towards the public on this matter or by direct fuelling of such ill-gotten attitudes towards the Croatian diaspora and its right to vote are to blame. These attitudes have a direct and destructive impact on the unity of Croatian people to work on a common goal of making Croatia a better and fairer place to live in for all. Only recently, a member of Croatian Parliament, Kreso Beljak, has stated for N1 television in Croatia that he “would abolish voting from the diaspora. The person who does not pay tax in Croatia has no place voting during elections.” One does not need to think hard in order to see the depravity in Beljak’s statement and opinion. If we take the Croatian diaspora out of his equation, is he also saying that Croatian citizens living in Croatia who do not pay tax (and there are multitudes – the unemployed, the low income earners, the tax evaders…) should also not be permitted to vote!? I have not come across any reprimand of Beljak by the governing or the main opposition coalition in Croatia for making such a statement on public TV.  I can only conclude that promulgation of such depraved and disparaging statement about the Croatian diaspora suits both the HDZ governing and the SDP opposition coalitions in Croatia. It seems that it suits their political agenda for them to distance and alienate the diaspora from its homeland, but in that the only losers are people (voters) in Croatia whose livelihood depends on the money and other remittances sent to them from the diaspora.

The logical solution here is for the upcoming elections in Croatia to bring about the result that would vote away (vote against) all political parties that have led governments of Croatia during the past two decades. One would hope that all Croatians living in Croatia who have had and are reaping the material benefits from their family members and friends living in the diaspora, benefits that helps them live a more decent life than what their income in Croatia allows, will cast their vote at elections in solidarity with the Croatian diaspora and reject both HDZ and SDP coalitions. Cast your vote for true change, not a change promised by those whose track record in essence shows no real change. How can anyone re-set the economy they actually managed to run down? Of course, they cannot! They lack knowledge! How can anyone rid the country of debilitating corruption that adversely affects lives of most Croatians in Croatia struggling to keep afloat, if they have not managed to do so in twenty years? Of course, they cannot! They lack will-power and knowledge!

Croatia’s parliament on Friday 15 May 2020 had on its agenda the motion put forward by the government coalition to dissolve on Monday 18 May, which will enable general elections to be held either late June or early July. By strengthening the role of other political forces besides HDZ and SDP, the long-awaited changes for Croatia have real chances, but it is necessary for every voter to take a national direction of betterment and progress. Solidarity with and respect for the diaspora is needed. Ina Vukic

 

 

 

 

 

Bleiburg Massacres of Croats: Tito – A Licence For Genocide

Map of mass graves of victims of communist Yugoslavia crimes against Croatians unearthed by May 2017 (since 1990)
Photo: Screenshot (map originally compiled by http://croatiarediviva.com

THIS VIDEO OF HISTORICAL FACTS REGARDING COMMUNIST CRIMES AGAINST CROATIANS AS WWII ENDED IS IN ENGLISH WITH SUBTITLES IN THE CROATIAN LANGUAGE

PLEASE WATCH! LEST WE FORGET!

In 1945, just a few days after the end of World War II, Tito and his partisans began the mass liquidation of men, women and children and all those they considered enemies of their dictatorship. The massacres began over 700,000 Croatian soldiers and civilians who were heading for British forces in Bleiburg (Austria) after the war, hoping the British would accept them because they guaranteed all refugees free passage to safe American zones in Italy under the Geneva Convention.
Instead of passing them to Italy, the British loaded people into trains and trucks and fraudulently sent them back to communist Yugoslavia, directly into the hands of Tito’s assassins. Others were forced into death marches that stretched across Yugoslavia. Most of these people were tortured, humiliated and killed in large masses.
This film shows the unique testimonies of English officers, penitent partisans and murderers, Bleiburg survivors, and historians and researchers of crimes committed. With the help of historical documents and newly discovered mass graves, this film clearly describes the violation of the Geneva Convention and international law that led to the Bleiburg tragedy or the Holocaust of the Croatian people.

 

CROATIA: President Milanovic – You Are Fired! An Open Letter To The President Of Croatia

Zoran Milanovic, President of Croatia
Inset: Jasenovac Plaque honouring fallen Croatian defenders during Croatian Homeland War
Foto: Robert Fajt / CROPIX

President Zoran Milanovic,

Were I confident that this letter would not end up in a wastepaper basket in your office then this letter would not be an Open Letter, but sadly my confidence is justifiably shaky. Were the matters I will address in this letter not matters that are of utmost importance for Croatia and its people in the 21st century then this letter would not be written.

I am writing to you to add to the public awareness that you, as President, must do everything in your power to ensure that the values, the victims and the meaning for Croatia and its people of the 1990’s Homeland War receive the full respect they deserve. After all, that is one of the most important roles of the President of the Republic of Croatia under its Constitution! When you do not do what you should be doing then you have no place to sit in the Office of the President; the highest office in the land representing Croatia and all it stands for, so to speak.

Article 94 of the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia includes the clause that says: “The President of the Republic of Croatia shall be responsible for the defence of the independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Croatia.”  Adding from the Historical Foundations of the Republic of Croatia in the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia that  Croatia’s foundations lie “in the new Constitution of the Republic of Croatia (1990) and the victory of the Croatian nation and Croatia’s defenders in the just, legitimate and defensive war of liberation, the Homeland War (1991-1995), wherein the Croatian nation demonstrated its resolve and readiness to establish and preserve the Republic of Croatia as an independent and autonomous, sovereign and democratic state,” it follows that the President of the Republic of Croatia must act and show morally, politically and in every way adherence to and promotion of the values of the Homeland War and must not compromise them in any way for, such compromise jeopardises independence. Otherwise, if the president does not act in accordance with set principles and expectations, he or she has no place sitting in that office and if the appropriate authorities do nothing to impeach him or her from the Office when he or she has breached his or her duties as President then the people must act towards that goal. After all, the people directly elect their President in Croatia!

The Homeland War and those who lost their lives so that Croatia may be free and independent, so that it can carve its own future in a democracy, far removed from communist Yugoslavia heritage, cannot and must not be bullied, ridiculed, insulted, belittled, threatened or intimidated! And you do and have done that exactly that! Accordingly, you have in mine and many other eyes committed treason; betrayed the modern Croatian nation!

It is, of course, your latest public statements at Jasenovac on 22 April 2020 when you, regarding the plaque dedicated to 11 Croatian Homeland War of Independence defenders from HOS unit, which fought under the slogan “For Homeland Ready”, said that “the plaque should be moved to somewhere else, thrown away…it has no relevance to the Homeland War… Those who fought in 1991, thought they were fighting under the salute For Homeland Ready (Za dom spemni), did not fight only for the Croatian state but for the restoration of the 1941 Croatian state,”  shined a spotlight on your incompetence and your despise for the Croatian state, you are supposed to protect and uphold.

These statements of yours unequivocally demonstrate that you disregard and betray purposefully the fact that almost 94% of Croatian voters (among which you evidently were not) voted in May 1991 for independence and that this fact and national resolve gave the mandate and legitimacy to those fighters and defenders who fought under whatever slogan and salute reinforced their loyalty and self-sacrifice to independence they were defending, fighting for. This May 1991 referendum had nothing to do with NDH and everything to do with the long-standing oppression at the hands of the Yugoslav communist regime.

You, President, should be ashamed of yourself and the Croatian people must have no other alternative but to remove you from the position they recently elected you for! I am quite certain you will not willingly resign from it all by your own self.

Your denial of the legitimacy Croatia’s Homeland War defenders, including those fighting under the slogan “For Homeland Ready” has turned into deception and lies — lies to a nation of frightened people. For it has, due to statements like yours, become increasingly scary to express pride in the independence of Croatia and its war veterans, leading to a generalised fear of being labelled as some unwanted extremist because of one’s expressed pursuit of joy and pride for what Croatia had achieved via its war of defence against Serb-led aggression!

Why do you need to prostitute the way you do the outcome of the 1991 vote for independence by almost 94% of Croatian voters? What drives you, President Milanovic?  Hatred for the independence of Croatia? Contempt for the independence of Croatia? What!?

You were a professed Communist before you saw possibilities for personal advancement within the League of Communists of Croatia Party/ Social Democratic Party that would set itself up to benefit personally from the blood lost from those whose names are written on that HOS plaque in Jasenovac and thousands of others fighting for and defending today’s independent state of Croatia. I’m not writing about your obvious infatuation with the dictatorship of Josip Broz Tito.  It’s obvious that you salivate over the thought of you being able to exercise the same unbridled power when it comes to degrading the will of the Croatian people for independence and secession from Yugoslavia.

But, President Milanovic, the buck does stop at your door; therefore, “you’re fired.”

Will the “shipping clerks” (the people) please come forward!

Ina Vukic

Sydney, Australia

9 May 2020

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