Sunday, 27 July 2008

Visa Waiver for Bulgaria Is Good for U.S. Security?

Written by  The New American

George BushIn a June 18 White House meeting with Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev, President Bush announced that “today because of the Prime Minister’s hard work, there has been a breakthrough on the visa waiver, as an important step toward achieving the same status as other countries in the EU.” The Montenegro Times reported that “Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ivaylo Kalfin and US Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff signed an interim declaration” under the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, which outlines the “requirements Bulgaria must meet to join the 27 Asian and European countries currently in the program.” Citizens of visa waiver countries are allowed to travel to the United States for up to 90 days without having to obtain a visa.

Bulgaria, which was one of the most repressive communist police states during the Soviet era, has not shaken its totalitarian past, regardless of its claims of reform. Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov proudly parades his KGB pedigree on his official website. Many of his appointees, likewise, are publicly documented “former” members of the communist security services. Both Stanishev and Parvanov were members of the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) and are now members of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, which is simply the BCP renamed. Notorious for corruption and its ties to the ultra-violent Bulgarian Mafia, the Parvanov-Stanishev government is also strongly implicated in the illegal arms and narcotics trafficking cartels that are providing revenue and weapons to international terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and al-Qaeda.

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Bulgaria, which currently is being integrated into the European Union and NATO, may soon be a privileged conduit for criminals, spies, and terrorists into the United States, if the visa waiver status is allowed to go through.