Monday, October 24, 2016


My Escape from Transylvania to the World
From the Romanian Gulag to Modern Cultures and
Olga Magdalena Lazín


I was born in Transylvania, Northern Romania, in a town named Satu M. I grew up like Alice in Wonderland: among
intellectual’s children, and also cute, lovely, and many Gypsy children whom I
taught the Romanian language, pretty early in life, starting in 1st
and second grade. We had a tough life, and our parents were always working ‘til
late hours at night. My brother Alex, and I were reading late at night, waiting
for mom, Magdalena to turn off the lights, as she continued working at home in
accounting. She was compounding the lengths and width of the wooden logs that
were heading to Russia year by year. And she let us play all day long to our
heart’s content. So unique, and we felt so free exploring nature in Sighet.
In 1973, at age 10 as a
fifth grader in Transylvania’s isolated town of Sighet[2],  I had
to make a fateful decision about my choice of foreign-language study: Russian
or English. The pressure was on us to take up Russian, thus proving that we
were all students loyal to the dictator Socialist” Nicole Ceausescu’s “Socialist
Government” (read Romanian Communism allied with Moscow), but consciously I
detested that system.
       Although I wanted to learn English, I did not then how fateful
that choice would be until 1991, when at almost 27 years of age, I met Jim
Wilkie who had been advised by his brother Richard to include my town of Sighet
in his journey to assess the how Eastern Europe was faring after the fall of
the “Berlin Wall,” short for the long wall that kept the people of Communist
countries locked and unable to escape. But more later about how Jim found me as
he sought an English-speaking intellectual and social guide to Eastern Europe.
In the meantime, growing up in Sighet with a population
of only 30,000 people, we were proud to recognize Elie "Elie" Wiesel (born 1928) as our most prominent citizen long
before he won the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize. He helped us get past the terrible
history of Sighet Communist Prison where “enemies of the state” were confined
until “death due to natural cause.”
In my early years I had a hard time understanding how the
green and flowered valley of Sighet (elevation 1,000 feet, on the Tisa River at
the foot of our forested Carpathian Mountains) could be so beautiful, yet we
lived under the terribly cruel eye of the Securitate to protect from the people
the wretched Dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu.
Ceausescu,[3] who
ruled from 1965 to his execution in 1989, was the harshest leader of all the
countries behind Russia’s Wall against Western Europe.   
Oddly enough, in the Transylvania of the late 1960s, 1970s
and 1980s, supposedly I
was living the “Golden Age of Romanian Socialism,” but even to myself as
a young student; I could see that the promised 
“full progress”
was clearly a lie. Most adults agreed but feared
to speak so bluntly.
       Even though the “English-Speaking USA”
had been supposedly always threatening to invade Romania, I continued to study
English language and literature. That I chose to study English even though the
act alone brought suspicion on me because all society was taught to believe since
1945 that we were fighting off the Great Satin USA.[4] America
was officially seen as a threat to Romania and it allies under Russia’s COMECON,[5] all of
which I became only fully aware as I grew older and had to buy the English Course
textbooks on the risky, expensive Black Market.
In the meantime, without
rarely granted permission, we were forbidden to meet and visit with foreigners,
especially those who spoke English and who wanted to hear from us about Sighet
and its nearby wooden hamlets of the
Maramures Province, where I
have my first memories. The region is ethnically diverse, with a stimulating
climate ranging from very hot summers and very cold winters. Geographically, we
lived in the valleys and Mountains of Gutinul through which the rivers of Iza
and Tisa flow. Geographically, the beautiful forested Tisa River is the natural
border with Southern Ukraine.
folklore has it in the West, vampires are native to Transylvania. We had
vampires, werewolves, and wolverines, but all the mythological characters were
actually members of the Communist Party, which everyone had to join--except for
me because with my knowledge, I was considered a security risk!
Fortunately, when in 1982
I entered the University Babes Boljay,
in Cluj-Napoca, to earn my M.A. in 1990,
for my sociology classes, I decided to conduct my field research project into
the rural life of the North of Romania, recording the folklore
(especially myths) invented and passed down by rural folks (including small
merchants, farmers, fisherman, loggers) had had used that lore to help them
survive for centuries.
Further, much
of my research conducted among the outlying farmers, delved deeply into
Transylvania Folklore, which prepared me well to understand Communist Party
Thus, for
the second time, my fateful choice of a field research project had further prepared
me, unknowingly, for my future with Jim Wilkie.      
Once I
had been admitted to the Babes Boljay University, which was called “the heart
and brain of Transylvania,” I also further expanded and deepened deep studies
in American language and literature. Also I studied Romanian language and literature
in the Department of Philology. The Bolyai University Is considered the best
University in Transylvania.
beginning my mentoring for other students, I was happy to find a sense of
freedom. Reading and writing comprehension were my forté during my four years
at Cluj.  I had always dreamt of being a
professor and a writer and seemed to be off to a great start.
But I
soon realized that our professors opened the day by reading the mounds of new
Decrees just signed by Ceausescu.  Thus,
I began laughing, and other students join me in mocking the wooden language of
Central Planning’s attempt to befuddle us with words from a wooden language,
totally bent toward twisting our brains into confused submission. Professors
and Securitate officers were acting as sweaty bureaucrats trying to teach us
how to sharpen our mental images . Not one professor asked us, “What do each of
you really think of all this Ceausescu propaganda of decrees harming the
educational process?”               
had their favorite students and made sure they pointed this out in class,
stifling any competition as they show openly their favoritism or nepotism.
When I
reached the age of 22 in1985, I started to be argumentative, criticizing
professors, especially the history professor who only knew only the History of
the Romanian Communist Party.
as a woman in academia, I began to resent being forced to do the military
service. The Russians, having been directing Romanian politicians since 1945, pressured
the Romanians to dig useless trenches as well as learn to disassemble and
assemble the AK47!
atmosphere was dreadful in classes. Restrictions were plentiful and absurd.
Speech was not free; one couldn’t discuss issues freely in class, or make any
real analysis or debate. One had to regurgitate what the professors were
telling us. Modern economics led by and read whatever was there in the old
books stacked in the communist library. Until I escaped Romania in 1992, I
learned that the so-called economics classes we took taught nothing about
money, credit, and such terms as GDP. The Marxian economics involved only
nonsensical slogans such as “We Romanians have to fight-off the ‘running dogs
of capitalism,” without the word “capitalism” ever being defined except in unrealistic
theory laced with epithets.
 Even as an English major, I could not speak
with to foreigners in English --answering one question was a crime, according
to the tendentious Security Decrees. Abortion was a crime punishable for up to 20
years in prison. Doctors performing it ended up in jail, and so did the
pregnant women. Punishments were ridiculous—the Anti-Abortion Law lasted for 40
years, until 1990.
if my uncle from Canada visited us, we were all under surveillance, the entire
family. Even today, in 2016 one has to report to the police to declare if any
visitor of family comes from the USA (or Canada, for some bizarre security
reason). Well after 25 years, not much has changed in poor Romania.
In the meantime, the
History of Transylvania weighed heavily on population of Romania, with constant
change in the emerging political map always have left “citizens” always lost
about who was really in charge.
Thus, Transylvania was originally part of the Dacia Kingdom
between 82 BC until the Roman conquest in 106 AD. The capital of Dacia was
destroyed by the Romans, so that a new as capital would serve the Roman
Province of Dacia, which lasted until 350 AD, by which time the Romans felt so hated
that it behooved them withdraw back to Rome.
      During the
late 9th century, western Transylvania was conquered by the Hungarian Army to
later become part of the Kingdom of Hungary and in 1570 to devolve into the
Principality of Transylvania. During most of the 16th and 17th centuries, the Principality
became an Ottoman Empire vassal state, confusingly also governed by the Habsburg
After 1711 Transylvania
was consolidated solely into the Hapsburg Empire and Transylvanian princes were
replaced with Habsburg imperial governors.
After 1867,
Transylvania ceased to have separate status and was incorporated into the Kingdom
of Hungary as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.[6]
After World War I, Transylvania reverted in 1918 to
be part of Romania.  In 1940 Northern
Transylvania again became governed by Hungary and then Germany, but Romanian
queen Maria successfully reclaimed it after the end of World War II.
The year 1940 was
important for Romania because if was seized for its oil by Nazi Germany
(1940-1944), “liberated” by the “Soviet Union” (1944-1947), and finally “re-liberated”
to become the Popular republic of Romania (under USSR remote control), as the
Cold War was beginning to freeze the Iron Curtain into place.
At the end of World War II while the USSR and its
Red Army were the occupying powers in all Romania, in 1947 Romania forcibly and
ironically became a “People’s Republic” (1947–1989), after the rise of the Iron
The first “president,”
Gheorghiu-Dej (1947) ruled as puppet of Moscow, but when he died, his Secretary
General of the Communist Party of Romania, Nicolae Ceausescu, was elected as
the second “president” (1965-1989), shifting his savage dictatorship into a
harsher Romanian “Gulag” than known in the USSR.  
For two decades I neither
understood the dimensions of tragic history of Transylvania, did I understand
that I would have to escape the Gulag of Romania by the “skin of my teeth.”
For peoples of the world
Transylvania seems to be a far away place, where most people know the werewolves
and vampires have been “seen” to in the imagination of Transylvanians, whose
beliefs was soaked in mystical folklore. Even today it is hardly possible to
have a rational conversation with most the Transylvanian folk on any subject without
recourse to try to understand where their distorted imagination has befuddled
      The population has consisted of Romanians,
Hungarians, Germans, and some Ukrainians. These languages are still being
spoken in Romania’s Maramures province, but because I always liked and loved
the Romanian language, I decided to become a Professor of Romanian Language and
I later told Jim how I had been admitted in 1982 to
the Babes-Bolyai University, in Cluj-Napoca at the heart of Transylvania, I
focused especially on Linguistics. Unfortunately, there I found that the professors,
who were under the control of sweaty Securitate officers, had to read dozens of
new Decrees issued every day as they sought to control every one of our daily
actions—all in the name of protecting the Ceausescu government—which was
selling the country’s food supplies to Russia in order to pay down Roman’s
official debt at our experts. Those Securitate officers ate well and ominously watched
us virtually starve. They said, be calm like your parents in the face of
 Thus, I
furiously called out in my classes that our very existence was being
compromised by Ceausescu's abandonment of the population, which was ordered to,
as Lenin famously said, “work, work, and work.”
To protect myself as best I could, I turned to humor,
seeking to ridicule Ceausescu’s “national paradise.”  But when I encouraged my classmates to laugh
at the propaganda embedded in the wooden language of the national bureaucracy,
I soon fell under the heavy scrutiny of university authorities, who were
furious that I trying to expose the fact that all classes had been organized to
befuddle the student body into confused submission. Indeed, each professor had
favorite students to help drown out legitimate questions and stifle any competing
analysis—the university lived under nepotism, favoritism, the threat of rape
(virtual and real) by the Securitate officers, and open bribery--choose your
garden   variety.
By 1986, at age 23, I had decided to flee
Romania—an illegal act because Ceausescu did not want anyone (especially women
of child-bearing age) to escape his plan to building his “ideal socialist
industries” on farms and ranches as well as in the cities. In June I made my
way to the border of Yugoslavia and paid a smuggler to evade the Romanian
security forces that were preventing the “nations workers” from escaping. The
smuggler, who took me across the border, turned out to be working for Romanian
Border Police. Thus, soon after crossing into Yugoslavia, he turned his wagon
around and I was again in Romania again when I realized what had happened too
late. I had been “sold” to Ceausescu’s minions for a wagonload of salt.
That failed escape from Romania led me to a 10-month
prison sentence in Timisoara Prison, wherein the block cells
were maintained so cold (supposedly to eliminate bacteria and
viruses) that it made all of us inmates sick with the cold and the flu.
Cell bed blankets were less warm than one Kleenex tissue. Moreover
there were no pillow, and the concrete slab where inmates slept was a
back-breaker. The lights were on 24 hours a day, blinding all of us, and there
was constant observation. Every hour one was awakened to be counted for, and
sneaking up on people, under the guise of watching out for suicides. But
everyone could be clearly seen by the guards, and there was no need to
sleep-deprive inmates. There was also someone in the higher echelon ripping off
the food budget to siphon money to themselves while serving inmates only baby
carrots and spicy beans.
Almost every family in Romanian civil society had at least one
member who had been imprisoned for trying to open the political system by
denouncing the Ceausescu dictatorship. These inmates were openly called
“Political Prisoners,” and I was one of them.
Political Prisoners
were not permitted to work outside the prison walls in the fields because our
crime had been the political decision to repudiate Ceausescu’s “fantastic system.”   
Once free in 1987,
I could return to my University to finally complete my M.A. in 1990.   
 Further in 1987, at the age of 24,
I met the Family patriarch Nicolae Pipas,[7] who
directed for the Communist government the walled Regional Art Museum in a quiet
part of Sighet. Being one of the few highly educated persons who spoke English
in the region, I began to serve as interpreter/guide to visiting foreign
Ambassadors permitted to travel in Romania. They wanted to see the Museum with
its magnificent collection of paintings, sculptures, and rare historical
pottery and coins. Thus, I soon found myself translating for visiting English-Speaking
Ambassadors from many countries who wished to know Transylvania, especially my
village Sighet and its Merry Cemetery famous worldwide for it tombstones in the
form of wood sculpture of the butcher, the baker, candlestick maker, and all
Although my first
languages were Romanian and Hungarian, I could also translate into French and
Italian. Indeed at that time I was teaching Latin in the Rural School System of
my Maramures Province.
 By 1989,
Ceausescu realized that his end was near, and he sought to gain support by
pardoning his political prisoners (such as myself) who had tried to escape the
horrendous conditions in the country. Hence, university students and some labor
unions joined forces and quite quickly after the fall of the Berlin Wall forced
Ceausescu and his draconian wife Elena to flee. They were caught and executed on
Christmas Day, 1989, by the military that at the last moment joined the Revolution.
As my friends and I (along with most of the
population) cheered the fall of the failed, rotten Romanian “dictatorship of
the proletariat,” my dear mother acted differently. She was so confused by the
propaganda of the only “leader” she knew much about that she wept for
Ceausescu, not fully realizing that he was the one who had wrongly had be
arrested and put me in prison. 
With Ceausescu gone, in 1990 I was able to secure a
passport to ready myself to leave Romania by gaining visas for Germany and
France. The question remained, how to get there by land without a visa to
Austria—my region had no air connection to the outside world.
Almost age 27 in 1991, I
was in the right place at the right time when UCLA Professor Jim Wilkie arrived
in Sighet September 17th with Professor James Platler (his friend
and driver). They came as part of their trip to assess the impact of the 1989
Fall of Iron Curtain--which had imprisoned all Romanians and made it a crime to
try to escape from Romania. The two Americans had already visited “East”
Czech,[8] and
Slovakia (soon to break their union, each becoming independent), and Poland,
where English speakers could provide guidance.
In Romania the UCLA Team found itself at a
loss as few of the people who they encountered could speak English and none of
them could analyze or articulate how the System of Government and society
functioned before and after 1989.
       When we met, Jim immediately contracted[9] with
me to advise them as well as guide them through Eastern Europe. They were
pleased to hear the my outline of Transylvanian and Romanian history (see
above), with which I explained how constant national boundary change meant that
Transylvanians and Romanians were never able to develop either honest civil government or active civic society. Little did I know that the concepts of “Civic”
and “Civil” Society were of utmost importance to Jim? As I would find out
later, Jim and I had been conducting compatible research for years and would lead
me to (A) my PHD Dissertation and (B send C) two books written with Jim. [10] All
these works distinguish between the concepts of Civil Society (which represents national and local governmental
activity and Civic Society (which involves active private citizens (who
organize non- governmental initiatives to develop model projects beyond the
ability of official bureaucrats to even comprehend, including the influence
needed to monitor and expose the failures and successes of governmental
But before we left September 18th to
visit Romania and Hungary, I had to find a substitute for my new class teaching
American English and History in Sighet—I left a friend, Johnny Popescu, to become
my permanent substitute. Only then could our newly expanded Team set off under
my guidance.
Thus, we set out on September 18, 1991, to visit
one of the most socially and economically interesting and beautiful parts of
Romania by going up thought the green forested Carpathian Mountains via the
beautiful Prislop Pass, stopping to visit small farming families in their
folkloric clothing of which they were justifiably proud to wear on a daily
basis.  Farther east in Romania, on the scenic roads, we visited the
monasteries of Moldova, the town of Cimpulung Moldovenesc, Suceava, and then the
Monasteries in Sucevita and Agapia. The gorgeous forested mountain road
eventually led to Lacul Rosu and the lake country. Then we took the long scenic
mountain road to Cluj Napoca to visit my University.
As I briefed Jim about Romania, he was briefing me
about factors in comparing national economies. For example, he told me about
how he had reunited in Prague on September 15th with Richard Beset,
his former
UCLA student and friend, to hear about his role in
London as Manger of D
eutsche Bank’s New Accounts in Russia and Eastern Europe.
Richard had become famous for inviting Banking Officials and national Treasury
Ministries to deposit their financial reserves on deposit in his bank in London.
But because those who did not understand anything about “interest payment on
deposited funds, they did not ask for nor did they gain any interest payments.
Also, because most Western Banks were not sure that these new “capitalists”
could be “fully trusted” for correct management of their deposits, his D
eutsche Bank collected large fees to keep the Eastern Europe reserves
safe. This was all very eye opening for me.
Jim and I had realized early on that we had a close
affinity as we analyzed the situation of Romania, and he said, “Call me Jim.” (In
contrast I called Professor James Platler  “JP.”) As we traveled to observe the situation
of the people in different parts of the country, Jim and I formed a deep bond
of observing and analyzing; thus both of realized this brief interlude had to
continue for the long term in order to achieve our goals.
       As a Romanian, I had the right to enter
Hungary, and we did so bypassing the miles of vehicles waiting to cross the
border for the long drive to Budapest. There JP finally relaxed after the long drives
and often poor hotels and hotels—he said that he finally found unbroken civilization
    Once we
arrived in Budapest, JP, who had told Jim privately that from the outset of our
trip that he thought that I was a “Spy” (planted on us by the Romanian
Securitate to monitor our many “foreign” inquiries during our travel through
Romania’s north country), announced that his concern about me had vanished as
we realized the extent of my knowledge and research abilities.   In his
mind, I had to be a Spy because I had obtained access to special private dining
rooms and quarter in some fine hotels, as well as invitations for wonderful lunches
at some Monasteries, where miraculously I made immediate friends with each
Mother Superior. But by the time we reached Budapest, he realized that at my
University I had learned the Elite skills needed to survive safely and
comfortably in Eastern Europe. 
        My problem was to enter Austria, where
I had no visa. But Jim passed his
business card through to the Consul General of Austria in Budapest, and quickly
we found ourselves whisked from the back of the long line to the front and
right into a meeting with the Consul General himself. He was pleased to hear
about the research of our
UCLA Team, but said that I did have a visa. Jim then
told them that I only needed a three-day transit visa to reach Germany, the
visa for which he could see in my passport.
With entry to Austria solved, we were on the road
to the Hotel Kobentzl and Graz, which overlook Salzburg, all the way analyzing
the comparative economic and social situations of Austria, Hungary, and Romania.
We spent most of our time down the mountain from Kobentzl
in the valley, before returning to our sweeping Hotel view of Salzburg City.
Meanwhile I was deepening my questions about capital is leveraged to undertake
big private projects. As we took photos over from on high looking down on the
many bridges of Salzburg and Jim was explaining how the developed world operated
by using finances, credit, and interest to help economies grow.
Finally we left Salzburg to enter Germany and Munich,
where our quick look into Oktoberfest found us among nasty drunken louts each
of whom seemingly had hand four hands: one to chug-a-lug beer; one to smoke
foul smelling cigarettes; one to quaff horrible-bleeding-raw sausages; and one
to punch someone in the face. From what we saw, Oktoberfest was a place for
nasty males seeking to “get smashed on beer” and then smash another male to
break his nose. Thus, we fled for our lives as the brutes began to threaten anyone
who looked at them.
Then on September 30th, I took the plane
to from Munich to Paris to take a bus to Bordeaux to meet the family, which had
invited me to France.
Jim (and JP) also left the same day for Jim to arrive
in time to go from the airplane to open and begin teaching his Fall Quarter class
UCLA. But he promised to call daily and return to join
me again in ten weeks.
In the meantime, I made a trip to Paris to request
political asylum in France, but a grey-faced judge rejected my request, saying
that the petitioner must file with the help of a lawyer.  
To complicate matters in Bordeaux, the French
Security Agent there was investigating me, a lone woman, as a possible SPY sent
by Romania to “monitor activities at the Port of Bordeaux. When he told that,
if I pleased him in unmentionable ways, he would not deport me to Romania but
arrange my legal status in France, I immediately told Jim on his next telephone
resolve our problem, Jim called his Paris friend Gérard Chaliand, a former
visiting professor at
UCLA, whose real job involved traveling the world for
French Security to report on his professorial travels that took him to all
continents. Gérard immediately called French Security to report on the illegal
approach to me by their Agent in Bordeaux. That same day the Agent came to
apologize profusely to me in the best manner that he could muster in his
pitiful condition. He begged me not to have him fired for his proposition to
me. I could see him looking at me in truly puzzled way that implicitly said:
“Who are you? How did I make such a grave mistake in deciding that you, a lone
Romanian women could not have any power to reach my bosses in Paris?” I took
pity on him and told him that if he minded manners and watched from affair to
be sure that I was always safe, he would not be fired.
Even though it was December 11, 1991,
when Jim returned, France was in the midst what some in America call an “Indian
Fall,” warm with colorful fall leaves still on the trees.  It was a beautifully bright “fall day” when we
left Bordeaux the next day to spend some days visiting the Loire River with its
many castles and incredible views.
Even during our photography of the Loire region,
Jim began to outline his New Plan (now our plan) to wit:
PROFMEX Plan to Help Eastern European “Foundations”    
                 Become legally eligible to gain
grants from                                        U.S.
Tax Exempt Foundations following Jim’s
            “U.S.-Mexico Model for
Indeed, Jim told me that recently when he had been
in Mexico City, he received an invitation to meet with Manuel Alonso Muñoz, Executive
Director of Mexico’s National Lottery,[11]
who when he heard about Jim’s U.S.-Mexico Model, invited him to meet at the
Lottery’s historically famous ornate building. After an extended briefing by
Jim, Manuel told him that he had already called his own good friend Ronald G.
Hellman, Professor of Sociology in the Graduate School at the City University
of New York, to ask him for an evaluation of Jim and his Mexico-U.S. Model for
Philanthropy. Ironically, it was only then when he realized that Ron was (and
is today) Jim’s PROFMEX Vice-President for Strategic Planning. With that news
and Jim’s stellar briefing, Lic. Alonso asked if the Lottery could make a
series of generous grants to PROFMEX in order to help fund the expansion of
Jim’s Model to Eastern Europe, [12]putting
Mexico into an innovative new light.
Manuel Alonso was appreciative of the fact that Jim,
while serving as Consultant to the U.S. Council on Foundations, had become involved
since 1990 with his Model for helping Mexican Foundations (including, for
example, charities, human rights organizations, hospitals, universities,
biospheres, etc.) to re-write their constitution and by-laws to be compatible
with the U.S. tax requirement that they mirror U.S. Not-for-Private Profit Organizations (NPPOs).
The question of “mirroring” involved Jim’s
explanation that:
As NPPOs, U.S. Foundations are legally responsible
for controlling expenditure of funds granted to organizations that do not
mirror the U.S. foundations do not want to be involved in the day-to-day
activities of its grantees. Indeed, “ they want to transfer “expenditure
responsibility” (including misuse or illegal use of grant funds) to the
recipient foundation to which they grant funds but can only do so if the grant
recipient organization is deemed to have an “equivalent” legal structure to
that of the U.S. donor foundation.
is the background, according to Jim: [13]
“In order to facilitate the U.S. philanthropic activity needed during the 1970s
and 1980s to help speed world development, the U.S. Secretary of Treasury and
the IRS formulated provisions that resulted in changing and/or interpreting the
Internal Revenue Code  (IRC) to freely
permit U.S. foundations to grant funds abroad, if they meet the following
special proviso:
NPPOs can themselves make a legal “determination” that the foreign organization
receiving the U.S. grant be “determined” to be “equivalent” to an NPPO
described in Section 501(c)(3)[14]
of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.” 
Jim pointed out that, “while this proviso has worked well for big U.S.
grant-making foundations that place costly offices and staff around the world
(such as Rockefeller and Ford Foundations), it has worked less well for
foundations that have had to send their lawyers to meet with their legal
counterparts in prospective ‘equivalent organizations, the legal cost of making
such a determination often reaching $25,000 [or, by 2016, much, much more] for
each new organization to receive funds from the U.S. NPPO. If that
determination is favorable, the U.S. NPPO can transfer funds to the equivalent
organization, just as it can to any other approved U.S. NPPO, and along with
the transfer of funds to the recipient organization goes the transfer of
responsibility over how the funds are spent.”
Transfer of ‘Expenditure
Responsibility’ from the
U.S. Donor NPPO to the Foreign Recipient
The ability of U.S.
NPPOs to avoid costly expenditure responsibility, as Jim told, is one of the
factors that have helped make American grant-making foundations so important in
the world. Thus, U.S. NPPOs have been enabled to avoid becoming ensnarled in
accounting processes and audits, which are better done by the foreign
organization that receives and administers the U.S. NPPO grant of funds.
this manner, said Jim, the U.S. NPPO is free to focus its energy on evaluating
the substance of its grant programs. The ability of grant-making foundations to
transfer Expenditure Responsibility to other NPPOs is the main reason that they
generally prefer (and require) that their funds be granted only to approved
organizations rather than to individuals or to non-approved organizations.
above views, Jim said, do not mean that U.S. NPPOs are unable to grant funds to
an organization that is not equivalent to a U.S. NPPO (or make grants to
individual scholars, artists, or writers either at home or abroad), but to do
so adds a complication to the grant-making process. Rather than passing on the
Expenditure Responsibility (as the U.S. NPPO does when it makes grants to
another NPPO or U.S. equivalent), the Expenditure Responsibility remains with
the donor NPPO when it makes a grant to an organization that is not an NPPO (or
its U.S. equivalent) or to an individual.
         In the unlikely case where the donor NPPO retains
Expenditure Responsibility, then, Jim told m in my interview with him on
September 17, 1991, the donor foundation has to concern itself with costly
financial oversight involved, which may problematic whether of in or outside
the USA.
ON TO PARIS AND THE WORLD TO MEET WITH      NPPO LEADERS ABOUT                                                         NEW
Jim and I arrived in Paris on December 15, 1991, to meet with Jim’s
contacts at the American Embassy, who heard about our research and suggested
that Jim meet also with their counterparts at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.
They agreed to help begin to our new Plan to expand to Eastern Europe and
Russia Jim’s successful Model for Tax-Free Flow of Nonprofit Funds, the example
being what he negotiated (with the U.S. Council on Foundations and the U.S. and
Mexican Treasury Departments), as analyzed above.
      It is important for me to say here that
George Soros and his decentralized donations to his 41 semi-autonomous “national
(exemplified in Romania, Hungary, and Russia) have been built following the IRS
proviso and regulations discussed above. Also, Soros’ “National Foundations”
require that national Government charter the independent role as NGOs.
      In contrast, the flowering of thousands of
independent “Foundations” in Eastern Europe since 1989 has grown from groups
looking for funds from the many U.S. Foundations that do not have the Soros/New
York link with its Foundations in many nations, all of which operate in Soros’ closed
loop. Few of these new Foundations have the Soros knowledge and financial resources
to set up the By-Laws and Legal Status needed for the thousands Foundations desiring
to tap into funding by U.S. Foundations.[16]
 However, since 2013, Soros’ has
organized an office to work with shared Global Funds (for food, migration, etc.)
outside the non-Soros frameworks to help poor areas and countries to stave off
Before we left Paris on December 19, 1991, we met with Gérard Chaliand to
personally thank him for having made the Bordeaux Security agent reexamine his
whole approach to his life.
Further, with Gérard, we worked out a plan to arrange for me to become a
U.S. resident and obtain U.S. citizenship nine years after my arrival in Los
Angeles, October 1992. He recommended that my case by handled in In Los Angeles
by one of America’s most knowledgeable and effective Migration Attorneys—Cynthia
Juárez Lange, today
Managing Partner, Northern California, for
the  Fragomen Del Rey, Bernsen &
Loewy LLP Legal Office located in San Francisco. Cynthia is a personable
In our travels in December 1991 and from March to
June 1992 we met NPPO leaders in the European Union to better understand how
foundations work under unique laws in each county rather than in any rational
manner for the whole EU, we went to Marseilles, Nice, Villfranche-sur-Mer, Cap-Ferrat,
Monaco, La Rochelle, Andorra, Sevilla, Madrid, Trujillo, El Escorial, Avila,
and Segovia.
On September 3. 1992, we arrived at the U.S.
Consulate in Paris, where the U.S Consulate in Mexico had arranged with Jim for
my U.S. eligibility for residence to be issued. Also, the Mexican Consulate General
in Paris issued me my residence papers to enter and leave Mexico freely, as
arranged by Jim with the Mexican Consular Office in Mexico City.
By September 7, 1992, we were Romania for meetings
with Civic Activists in Sighet (where I finally returned after “escaped” with
Jim in December 1991).
From March to June 1993, we met with NPPO leaders
in Budapest, Sighet, and Varna (Bulgaria), Bucharest, and St. Petersburg.
In Moscow (June 21-14, 1993), Jim appointed
Professor        Boris Koval
(Director of the
Latin American Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences)
, to be PROFMEX Representative in Russia.  Koval had invited us to Moscow and introduced
us to his own Security Chief to be our translator and guide. Thus Security
Chief was a fascinating person who had been former head of the KGB Office in
Iran, 1979-1989.
Jim, who always wore his Mexican guayabera shirt
with or without a suit, was seen to be “authentically Mexican” in our meetings
and discussions about NPPOs and the Soros Open Society Foundations in Russia success
in Russia (1987-2002) and problems of the Soros Foundations in Russia since
2003, when, under Government pressure, he was phasing out of operation active
(When on November 30, 2015,[17] Russia’s
Prosecutor General’s Office classified the Soros Open Society Foundation as an
“undesirable” organization, it closed the possibility of Russian individuals
and institutions from having anything to do with any Soros initiative or
programs… [Because it constituted]
a threat to the
foundations of
Constitutional order and national security….
(Prosecutors [then]
launched a probe into Soros Foundation activities….[18]
[and in July 2015], after Russian senators approved the so-called “patriotic
stop-list” of 12 groups that required immediate attention over their supposed
anti-Russian activities, [the following U.S. organizations] realized that they
would soon be banned in Russia: [the U.S.] National Endowment for Democracy;
the International Republican Institute; the National Democratic Institute; the
MacArthur Foundation, and Freedom House.
The American hedgefunds
mogul George Soros issued from London the following Press Release on
November 30, 2015: [19]
(Contrary to the Russian prosecutor’s allegations, the
Open Society Foundations have, for more than a quarter-century, helped
to strengthen the rule of law in Russia and protect the rights of all. In
the past, Russian officials and citizens have welcomed our efforts, and we
regret the changes that have led the government to reject our support to
Russian civil society and ignore the aspirations of the Russian people.
1987, Open Society has provided support to countless individuals and civil
society organizations, including in the fields of science, education, and
public health. Open Society has helped finance a network of internet
centers in 33 universities around the country, helped Russian scholars to
travel and study abroad, developed curricula for early childhood education, and
created a network of contemporary art centers that are still in operation.
record speaks for itself. We are honored to have worked alongside pioneering
citizens, educators, and civil society organizations that embody Russian
creativity, commitment, and hope.
(“We are confident that this move is a
temporary aberration; the aspirations of the Russian people for a better future
cannot be suppressed and will ultimately succeed,” said George Soros, founder
and chairman of the Open Society Foundations.) Despite all efforts made by
Soros and his organizations, he has been banned from Russia.
Once with the reset of the Cold War, in 2012,
when Putin was reelected as Russia’s President, Putin’s first movement was to
ban all Soros organizations which were impeding his expansion onto Crimeea.

     Back in Mexico City for the 1994 PROFMEX Event
featuring Eastern Europeans interested in the U.S.-Mexico Model for NPPOs
we convened, July 28-29, for our meeting on “Development of Mexico as seen from the World,” Co-sponsored by
UCLA and Mexico’s Consejo Nacional de
Ciencia y Tecnología.
Conference was held at Mexico City’s María Isabel Sheraton, with 70 participants
from Mexico and the United States, and which I co-organized with Jim
following invitees from Eastern Europe came from
Zoltan Karpati, Professor
of Sociology
Mihai Coman, University Dean
 Roman Romulus, Consul General in Mexico
Lazín, PROFMEX-- England and Romania
Stan, Investor from Bristol, England.
of the event came frequently as we turned our gaze from Salón A with his
all-window view from the top floor to discuss the anti-government protest
marches up and down Reforma Avenue past the Angel Monument below.
Further, our group enjoyed the invitation of Mexico’s Attorney General,
Jorge Madrazo Cuéllar to visit him at his headquarters where we personally
discussed and raised questions about the street blockages in front of our María
Isabella Hotel.   

      In December 1997, we continued to invite
world scholars especially interested in economic matters, as well as in the
U.S.-Mexico NPPO Model to participate with us at the:
           IX PROFMEX-ANUIES Conference
hosted by Governor Víctor Manuel Tinoco Rubí in Morelia, Michoacán.
y el Mundo
                                      Mexico and the World
  December 8-13, 1997
With hundreds of participants and Attendees from all continents,
Special Guests were invited from:
Russia: Boris Koval, who recalled with excitement
the visit of 
                              Jim and I to
Moscow in June 1993.
China:                Sengen Zhang
                           Hongzhu Huang
Korea:                Kap-Young Jeong
Japan:                 Soichi Shinohara
                                             Osamu Nishimura
                                    Yasuoki Takagi
Indonesia:          Lepi T. Tarmidi
Argentina:         Eugenio
O. Valenciano
        Antonio J. Cisneros

Jim and I have been involved with many academic activities, but those
are beyond the scope of my analysis here of Jim’s role in extending PROFMEX
around the globe, especially to Europe and Russia.
My courses taken under Jim, and Prof Carlos Alberto
Torres, Prof. Richard Weiss, and Ivan T Be rend, at
UCLA led me to the
   M.A. in
Latin American Studies (1996) and
   PHD in History (2001)
  With publication of one of my
books, as sole author,
La globalización se
Libre mercado,
fundaciones, sociedad cívica y gobierno civil en las regiones del mundo (2007)
Por Olga Magdalena Lazín.                      Prólogo de James W.

And the second book, co-authored with James W Wilkie,
book full of illustrations and images that reflect my travels with Jim
La globalización se
amplia (2011)
By James W. Wilkie And Olga
Magdalena Lazín.                                      Preface de Rafael Rodríguez Castañeda
With you Jim, I know that much researching and writing awaits us in our
projects around the world….
                                     Thanks, Jim

This work has shown how U.S. Tax Exempt Organization (TEO) law has
evolved to become the most important in the world owing to its flexibility. Where
the laws of most countries require prior legal authorization to launch in a new
direction, the United States TEO law recognizes no such limit. Thus, U.S. TEO
law, unlike most other countries, is never trying to make legal what is already
underway and working in the world. The USA and now Mexico, which together have
signed the first collaborative agreement, which is the blueprint for NPPOs.

This field experience has been crucial for my Dissertation. Here is an  ABSTRACT OF THE DISSERTATION
Decentralized Globalization. Free Markets, U.S. Foundations, And The
Rise of Civil and Civic Society From Rockefeller's Latin America To
Soros'Eastern Europe
Olga Magdalena Lazin,  Doctor in
University of California, Los Angeies, 2OO1
This work has shown how U.S. Tax Exempt Organization (TEO) Iaw has
evolved to become the most important in the world owing to its flexibility.
where the laws of most countries requlre prior legal authorization to launch in
a new direction, United States TEO law recognizes no such limit. Thus, U.S. TEO
law, unlike most other countries, is never trying to make legal what is already
underway in the world. The USA and now Mexico, which together have signed the
first Fair Trade agreement in 1994. A new Era is opening, where the
environment’s safety comes first, by the people, for the people of the earth.
2010 Olga Lazin

[1] Readers should be aware
of a key acronym used when this paper reaches the 1990s: NPPO stands for Not-for-Private
Profit Organization
(usually a Foundation) which differs from the more
familiar (Non-Profit Organization (NPO).
Outside the United States, the latter term tends to be wrongly understood to
mean no profit can be accumulated and the NPO must show a zero balance at year
end. The former term (NPPO) is developed here to stress that profits may be
accumulated and invested to fund future activities, as long as expenditures do
not benefit private parties (except for salaries, travel, and other justified
expenses as provided in, say, a Foundation’s by-laws.)

[2] Officially named Sighetu Marmației (on Romania’s northwest
border facing Ukraine’s southwestern border with Romania and Hungary.

[3] In modernized spelling.

[4] As in the case of
Oceania always being threatened by eternal war alternating between Eurasia or Eastasia, portrayed in George Orwell’s 1984  (1948). Cf. my article “Orwell’s 1984 and the Case Studies of Stalin and
in Elitelore Varieties (Edited
by James Wilkie et al

[5] COMECON (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance)
dates from the January 1949 communiqué agreed upon in Moscow by the USSR
(including  its 15 Constituent Republics
Russia, Armenia,
Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova,
Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan) and its five “Independent” Satellite Republics (Bulgaria,
Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and Romania. The communiqué involved the
refusal of all these countries to "subordinate themselves to the dictates
of the Marshall Plan.”  Thus, they
organized an “economic cooperation” among 
these “new peoples’ democracies.” (USSR born 1922, died 1991). Cf.:

[6] This
Empire existed between 1867 and 1918.

[7] Upon Ceausescu’s death, the Patriarch Pipas mysteriously became the Museum’s
“owner” and then transferred title to his son Valerian Pipas, the regions most
famous violinist

[8] “Czechia” is rarely
used in English because native English speakers
too often do not know intuitively know how to pronounce it. The name Czechia has arisen as the short name for the Czech Republic,
which emerged with the breakup of “Czechoslovakia” in 1992. 

[9] Jim soon arranged
for the contract to by paid from his grant funds from U.S. foundations
deposited for his projects sat

[10] See
(A) my 2001 Decentralized Globalization:
Free Markets, U.S. Foundations, and the Rise of Civil and Civic Society from Rockefeller’s
Rise in Latin America to Soros’ Eastern Europe
(Los Angeles: UCLAClassic
Doctoral Thesis, forthcoming at 
(B) Olga Magdalena Lazín, La Globalización Se Descentraliza: Libre Mercado, Fundaciones,
Sociedad Cívica y Gobierno Civil en las Regiones del Mundo,
Prólogo, pp.
15-166, por James W. Wilkie (Guadalajara
y Los Ángeles: Universidad de Guadalajara, UCLA Program on Mexico, PROFMEX/World,
Casa Juan Pablos Centro Cultural, 2007).
James W. Wilkie y Olga Magdalena Lazín, La globalización Se Amplia: Claroscuros
de los Nexos Globales  (Guadalajara, Los
Ángeles, México: Universidad de Guadalajara, UCLA Program on Mexico,
PROFMEX/World, Casa Juan Pablos Centro Cultural, 2011:

[11] Mexico’s National Lottery is a Government-run Public Charity and funder
of new research.

[12] The Lottery grants
to PROFMEX totaled $100,000 dollars.

[13] Jim Wilkie’s
statement here is quoted from my formal Interview with him, September 17, 1992,
in Transylvania, based upon his experience as Consultant to the U.S. Council on
Foundations. See:
Magdalena Lazín, Decentralized
Globalization: Free Markets,
U.S. Foundations and
the Rise of Civil and Civic Society From Rockefeller’s Latin America To Soros’
Eastern Europe
UCLA, Classic PHD
thesis, 2001), pp. 122-125. This book scheduled in 2016 for publication by

“Equivalent,” as Jim noted, means that the foreign NPPO meets (A) the test of
funding at least one of the following goals” for types of projects supported Health-Education-Welfare-Human
Rights-Science and Religion-Economy-Environment-Ecology-Publication-Literature-Charity
and (B) meets the test that no part of the foreign NPPOs expenditures benefit
private persons-- except for payment of reasonable expenses to cover goods and
services needed by the NPPO to legitimately conduct the operations chartered in
its Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws.

[15]Administered by NGO Civic Activists in each country but reporting to
Soros Foundation/New York City to justify each yearly budget.

[16] The Soros Open
Society Foundations in 44 countries benefit from the fact that Soros himself
has lived up to his commitment since1986 (to 2016 and ongoing) to donate half
of his profits ($13 billon) for their activities, his personal wealth in 2016
estimated to be $25 billion. See
Also, for the details of Soros $930.7
million dollar Open Society Foundations
2016 Budget,
which can be found by searching online for this title.

[18] Ibid.

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