Romania's Bloody Revolution: 20 Years Later

The two bodies were wrapped in tarpaulins, flown to Bucharest by helicopter and buried separately at a cemetery in the city's Ghencea neighborhood. But the executions did nothing to dispel rumors about the secret show trial, the new rulers' true objectives and the "betrayed" revolution.

The key players in those December days in 1989, people whose lives intersected at a historic moment, would soon embark on separate paths in the new Romania.

Dinescu, the poet, established satirical magazines and was moderately successful in his campaign to expose the Securitate files. Speaking matter-of-factly, he likens his efforts to the act of stirring "a vat of hot tar with a toothpick." Today he runs a winery on 100 hectares along the banks of the Danube in the Wallachia region. He has sorted out the debris of his revolutionary dreams. Politics in Romania, he scoffs, is in the hands of "semi-illiterate people." "The slaves of days gone by have become the masters."

General Stanculescu became a businessman after 1989 and was eventually sentenced to 15 years in prison for "manslaughter in a particularly serious case," during the deployment of the army in Timisoara. The press attacked him and his wife committed suicide. During an interview in September, Stanculescu reflected back on the historical events, saying: "It was a crazy time. I have no regrets."

Dorin Carlan continues to fight, unsuccessfully, to be appointed state secretary for revolutionary matters -- a recognition for his contribution to the overthrow that he believes is only fair.

"I was the executioner," says Carlan, "and the trial was a farce. But the verdict had been pronounced, and it had to be carried out. I was one who carried it out."

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