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General Stefan Gusa » Interviews/Media appearances » Interviu dat de generalul Stefan Gusa domnului colonel Valeriu Pricina » Interviu dat de generalul Stefan Gusa domnului colonel Valeriu Pricina

The interview given by General Stefan Gusa to Colonel Valeriu Pricina, March 20th, 1990

General Stefan Gusa: I do not deny that some incidents had been created. There were provocations, but not by the demonstrationist and the honest people. There were some  elements that provoked the army to draw it in this carnage. I want to define it more accurately, I think all the people of good faith and all those who served in the Army can realize very well what it meant if one automatic weapon, which has a cadence of 600 strokes per minute, a single automatic weapon, I do not mean that all weapons, should be fired into the crowd for at least half a minute?

Reporter: In a compact crowd? Tens of thousands of people...

General Stefan Gusa: Indeed, in a group of people, knowing that a bullet is passing through 3-4 people! What would have happened in fact, with one automatic weapon? It was a massacre, an impressive number of dead people.

Reporter:  Really a massacre, a bloodshed that has never existed, because it is a limited number of victims.

General Stefan Gusa: That is a great pain, the bitterness was that we were totally misinformed in the beginning and in the same time, I would say it's not fair not to appreciate the wisdom of these soldiers, considering their level of training and the new situations they were into. The fact that their commanders were very unhurried people, they managed not to be attracted to that massacre - that was basically, in my opinion, something conducted – and did not lose control. Perhaps, unfortunately, there were some who were wrong, it is possible, possible, but there was no order to fire into the crowds. I want to say very clearly that the people who worked with me in Timisoara are so many, they are still working with me and they can confirm everything, there are also documents that can confirm what I said. Me or my subordinates have never ordered to shoot the people. However, I want to say that it was a war, a psychological war and a radio-electronic war, a war we should elucidate, make clear someday.

Reporter: Yes, we should make it clear someday.

General Stefan Gusa: Elucidate it once, it's very important. So, in these special conditions, I said not to let the soldiers disarmed, it was a statutory task, no matter what one say it was a legal task. Especially since the battle alarm had been given on the 17th of December and  we know what this means for a soldier and the Army, we could not allow the military units and the stores of arms and ammunition to be attacked. You can realize how important it is to take care of them, can you imagine what would had happened if someone took the arms and ammunition!?

Reporter: A catastrophe.

General Stefan Gusa: A great tragedy, a massacre, it would have caused a massacre indeed. Unfortunately,  there were these regrettable and unfortunate isolated incidents, they were directed to provoke the Army, to draw it into an unprecedented, incredibly heavy and serious situation. Anyway, we started to explain that the situation was not like that, because people said that it's not about those… (lack of listening), it is about most of the people who ask: "Down with Ceausescu!" and ask for "Freedom! ", that’s what the people were shouting for,
" Freedom! ", " Down with Ceausescu! ". You know very well what slogans were shouted. I have reinforced this belief, during the night of 18th , but I strengthened this conviction on the 19th , when the County Committee decided to send a number of activists in the enterprises to dialogue with the people, to call on the quiet. At one point I got a phone call to go to ELBA, to get him out of there ...

Reporter: So back on the time of ELBA.

General Stefan Gusa: Yes, back to ELBA ... We had to take the former First Secretary Balan out of there. I quickly jumped into a car. The first one available was a Dacia belonging to the former or the current Head of Investigation. I took my aide with me, no one else. Too bad that now, in trial, they say that I went with some tanks there. Well, it's the high imagination of some people.

Reporter: High or highly directed.

General Stefan Gusa:  Or highly directed, indeed. I went by a Dacia to the entrance of the factory. I wasn’t allowed to go inside: "You will be lynched. There are thousands of people, they will tear you!”." Sir, there’s no problem. They might tear me, but I must go inside." I want to tell you that a number of targets were the bridges over the Bega, they were many, I don’t know them all, Michelangelo, well, some of them I don’t know.

Reporter: I changed the tape. Let’s resume our discussion.

General Stefan Gusa: The people were agitated, and rightly so. There were women, young people, workers. We entered into their midst. I remember there were one seat and two speakers that were practically masked by the crowd. Of course, they shouted: "Murderers, you killed our children", "You have killed us!" , slogans like that.

Reporter: The people took into account what had happened and they didn’t know exactly what it was.

General Stefan Gusa: They didn’t know what had happened and what it was at that time. I tried to calm them and I think that those who live in Timisoara would remember this. I managed to dialogue with them and told them that the army did not shoot the people, that an army is, in fact, their children, their brothers, even workers like them, and that there was no interest to shoot them. I asked them  not to break shops and people screamed, and rightly so, I realize now: "It wasn’t us, we didn’t do it!" And it was true, they didn’t do all those things told before. There were some women showing us some cartridge.

Reporter: Cartridge?

Reporter:  Was this on the 18th ?

General Stefan Gusa: On the 19th , at ELBA.

Reporter: On the 19th .
General Stefan Gusa: There were women who cried, I heard the real slogans : "Down with Ceausescu!", "We want freedom!", "We want democracy!", and then I realized that this is actually the true meaning of the situation and not what we were informed about, I convinced myself about this on the spot. I told the people that the army would leave. Some of them, some who were closer, they began to clap their hands. I wasn’t torn by anybody, I wasn’t lynched, like I was warned at the entrance by several civilians, even prevented to enter the first place. They stepped back, led me to exit. I forgot to tell you that Radu Balan was leaving very sad when I entered,: "What are you doing with the Army?" As if I would had called the Army there. Whatever. I did sign the military immediately. I said: "Leave this place immediately!" The car I came by disappeared, I don’t know in what circumstances, and then I took a drive from the Patriotic Guards and went to the County. I quickly pass over this.
Reporter: Yes, please.

General Stefan Gusa: When I reached the County, I reported the real situation to the Secretary Ion Coman: “ Sir, I was at the factory.” “Why were you there? I haven’t told you to go there, you were supposed to sent someone else”. “I understood that I had to go.” Anyway, this is not important. I told him: “The people want this, and this, and this..”.”Well, you were frightened by some women.”

General Stefan Gusa:  The cartridge, yes. I realized that the people were angry and I understood that they were trapped in a situation.. (lack of listening)

Reporter: A dangerous situation.         
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