Dear Mr. Ambassador: Last week you signed, along with ambassadors from a host of countries, a Declaration in support of the pride parade which took place in Bucharest on May 20, 2017. In doing so, you and the Republic of Argentina have offended 25 million Romanians worldwide, primarily in Romania, the Republic of Moldova, Western Europe, and North America. I am one of the persons you offended. It is likely that you will not receive similar correspondence from other Romanian citizens, because, unfortunately, they have become used to the type of international abuse in which you engaged on behalf of the Republic of Argentina. This sort of repugnant international behavior has now become an annual ritual, where clusters of countries from around the world sign declarations accusing, more or less directly, the people of Romania of homophobia and transphobia. This presumption is not only inaccurate, but utterly unwarranted. It constitutes impermissible stereotyping, and it stigmatizes all Romanians collectively as a nation. It blots their national dignity. Stigmatization inevitably leads to marginalization. This conduct, Mr. Ambassador, is wrong on several levels.
First, it is not your role as Ambassador to pass judgment on the feelings citizens of other countries have with respect to various issues. The issue to which your signature lent support in the Declaration is not black and white, but one on which fair minded people respectfully differ. By officially throwing your weight and the weight of your country behind the Declaration, you implicitly condemned those who dare express a different view on a highly moral and controversial issue. Just like you, I have also been trained in diplomacy, and one of the fundamental principles we learned in diplomacy school was to respect the feelings of the citizens of the countries in which diplomats are posted and not to offend them. The role of an Ambassador is to connect states qua states, and communicate matters of mutual concern between them. It is not to lecture the people of a foreign nation in matters of morality and on which rational people differ. It is not to arrogantly convey a position of superiority, by implying that, in this case, you or Argentina stand on higher moral ground, possess such a stellar record on human rights and have never fallen short of your own commitments to human rights, that you have attained the moral position to lecture the people of Romania. Mr. Ambassador, this is highly inappropriate and offensive.
Second, I doubt that in signing the Declaration you expressed the true feelings of your nation on the matter. I doubt you had their approval or consent to sign the Declaration. I know this because I have been to Argentina a number of times and have a fairly good take on how socially conservative the Argentines are. They are very nice, polite, humble, and friendly. I have met the warm people of Ushuaia, the hospitable people of Rio Gallegos, the very nice people of Esperanza, the amazingly hard-working gauchos of Patagonia, the deeply religious Argentines of Viedma, the committed Christians of Bariloche, and others like them in Comodoro Rivadavia, Bahia Blanca, Buenos Aires, and many other places which do not come to mind as I write. I have worshipped with some of them in their churches and have been to the homes of some of them. Mr. Ambassador, if you truly represented the people of Argentina in Romania you would not have interfered in the domestic affairs of a sovereign state.
Third, I strongly suspect that you signed the Declaration to curry favor with the European Union on behalf of your Government. If so, your action was insincere and motivated by political expediency not conviction. In which case it was hypocritical. It may be that in signing the Declaration you scored points with the European Union, but you scored no points or good will with the people of Romania. Please understand that they, too, have dignity, constitute a sovereign state, a sovereign nation, and the rules of diplomacy do not allow you to subvert their dignity or sovereignty.
Fourth, Argentina is not in a position to lecture Romania or the rest of the world in matters of human rights and tolerance. Please look into your own country’s past and present and spot your own human rights deficiencies. Argentina nearly exterminated all of its native population toward the end of the XIX Century, and today your country discriminates against Evangelicals. Shamefully, in 2013 Argentina was the object of a scathing Amnesty International Report on the abuses of the rights of indigenous people: Indigenous Peoples of Argentina: We are strangers in our own country [https://www.amnesty.org/…/indigenous-peoples-argentina-we-…/]. What credibility then does Argentina have to sit in judgment of another nation?
Argentina is also fraught with corruption. In the United States we read periodically about political scandals in your country, political assassinations, the disappearance of prosecutors assigned to investigate corruption at high levels in government, and similar subjects. And then there is the massive litigation against Argentina pending in the courts of the United States reflecting the fraud, deception, and corruption to which your Government has resorted to avoid paying its sovereign debt. I am fairly familiar with some of this litigation because it occasionally surfaces in the research I do for my clients.
And this takes me to the end of my correspondence. I respectfully ask you Mr. Ambassador to retract your signature from the Declaration, both on your own behalf and on behalf of the Republic of Argentina. Equally respectfully I ask that in the future Argentina refrain from taking positions or signing any Declarations or statements related to Romania’s internal affairs or pass judgment, either explicitly or implicitly, on the positions which its citizens take on matters of conscience and conviction. Romanians do not tell the Argentine people how to live their lives or pass judgment on the state of human rights in their country. Romanians expect no less from the Argentine people and, especially, from you. This is particularly offensive because Argentina is not even a member of the European Union.
I respectfully ask that I be informed of the retraction no later than June 12, 2017. I would like to maintain this correspondence private, but if there is no positive action on your part by that time, I will disseminate my note in the social media. Within weeks thereafter, Romanians all over the world will be asked to commence a social media campaign denouncing your action and that of the Republic of Argentina. I certainly hope we will not get there. It would be wise for this incident to end, privately and honorably, and for you not to be confronted with the embarrassing situation of having to dishonorably leave Romania under pressure from its citizens.
Romanians have taken too much flak from everyone during their history and for far too long. The Turks beheaded them, Austrian imperialism and Nazi Germany denuded their land of its riches, the Soviet Union did the same from 1945 to 1989, Soviet communism tried to indoctrinate them in how and what to think, and, since December 1989, they have been continuously lectured by the European Union. It is hard to accept that in 2017 this lecturing still continues, and especially that now it is also coming from thousands of miles away, from a country that is not even a member of the European Union. Once more, we respectfully ask that this stop.
Please forward a copy of my correspondence to Argentina’s Foreign Ministry. We will withhold launching our social media campaign pending resolution of this matter. Should we not be able to do so, or should we not hear from you timely, we will alert the media in the United States as well as in Argentina.
In closing, I wish to assure you Mr. Ambassador of my distinguished respect and best wishes, in spite of the sometimes spirited nature of my correspondence.
Very truly yours,
Peter Costea, Attorney