Hungary’s honorary consul in Vancouver resigns over dictatorial Orbán regime

Zoltán Vass, Hungary’s honorary consul in Vancouver, Canada, announced his resignation today, Budapest-based Klubrádió reported. Mr. Vass decided to resign in protest over two deep concerns that he had, regarding how Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government was operating both at home, but also in the Hungarian Canadian diaspora.

“The Orbán government has incrementally destroyed the pillars of democracy and continues to curb freedom of speech. Additionally, its economic and foreign policy has resorted to a number of questionable steps, with regards to our membership in the European Union and in NATO. All of these measures go against Hungary’s national interests,” observed Mr. Vass. In light of all this, the honorary consul felt that he could no longer, in good conscience, represent Hungary in British Columbia.

Zoltán Vass

Zoltán Vass

Mr. Vass also observed what the Hungarian Free Press, our partner paper the Kanadai Magyar Hírlap and what the Canadian Hungarian Democratic Charter have all been saying for some time: Mr. Orbán’s government, using local Hungarian Canadian party loyalists and the Embassy of Hungary in Ottawa, have infused the diaspora community with a type of ultra-right-wing partisan politics that tolerates absolutely no voices of dissent and which has gutted the diaspora intellectually.

“It is especially unfortunate that Hungary’s domestic feuds have been transported overseas, and these have now appeared in Vancouver as well. The government, driven by party interests, has attempted to occupy all diaspora institutions and increasingly divides Hungarians living abroad. The government also peddles extremely dangerous illusions about the relationship between the nation and the state, and this will ultimately prove deeply destructive,” added Mr. Vass.

The Hungarian Free Press welcomes Mr. Vass’ principled protest and decision. We trust that other honorary consults will follow his example.

9 Comments

  1. Hungary’s Honorary Consul in Vancouver has just resigned because the Orban government is destroying democracy in Hungary. Let us hope this is the beginning of the end for this insidious regime that has been wrecking rights and robbing Hungarians with its law-making-and-breaking bogus “2/3 supermajority” thanks to having commandeered the media, gerrymandered the voting with just a plurality out of a minority of votes and having conducted (and continued to conduct) a sustained and unscrupulous FUD and intimidation campaign against all critics. Truly a mafia regime.

  2. András Göllner says:

    Mr Zoltán Vass’ one small, personal step is a giant step for Democracy. May others follow his exemplary, socially responsible behavior. Since the Enlightenment, the real political struggle has not been between Left and Right, but Liberal and Authoritarian world values. It is this division of values the led initially to America’s departure from an authoritarian Europe. This is what led to the French Revolution and Hungary’s glorious but unsuccessful 1948, 1956 rebellions. This is what led Mr Obama to ban 6 high level members of Orbán’s political elite from the USA. Viktor Orbán’s attempt to turn back the clock, to march backwards into the future, to copycat Vladimir Putyin and the Chinese Communist Party’s political system, has backfired. Hungarian democrats want genuine democracy, rule of law, justice and constitutionalism. They don’t want a mafia state, an oligarchy, cronyism. They don’t want to march to Jonesville, they don’t want to march to the tunes concocted by “feel-good” NLP communications specialists. Hungarians want respect for human dignity, a free press, and politicians who believe in fairness, transparency and respect for the rules of fair competition. The Orbán regime’s days are numbered. We shall overcome ! Bravo Mr. Vass. May your principled stand be an example for those who are still servile to the autocrat.

  3. András Göllner says:

    Correction to the above: not 1948 but 1848 revolution.

  4. I have to say that it reflects poorly on Hungarian society that we are so partizan as Mr. Vass once again proved. I know that the international media has been busy comparing the Orban regime to Musoliny, Putin, Stalin, Hitler, or all of them combined, in a re-incarnation that now rules Hungary.

    But here are the facts:

    1) On media freedom, Hungary ranks ahead of a few other EU members, such as Greece, Romania, Croatia, Bulgaria. So hardly an outlier.
    http://www.freedomhouse.org/sites/default/files/Global%20and%20regional%20tables.pdf

    2) On human rights Hungary ranks 33’rd in the world, ahead of about 10 EU peers.
    http://www.ihrri.com/contry.php

    3) The elections that Fidesz won lately were monitored and were found to be fair. The best that some people were able to come up with was the unfair re-districting before the election, but that is not something that does not also happen elsewhere, such as in Canada or the US. So, Mr. Zoltan Vass’s gesture is not justified by the evidence.

    It is unfortunate that when the Hungarian nation is being attacked by other interests, pursuing their own agenda, that there are so many Hungarians willing to jump on the bandwagon and join in on the attack. It is one thing to disagree on policies due to ideological views, it is another to participate in dragging your nation’s reputation through the mud and join in to hurt your nation’s interests with those who find it in their interests to do so. It is unfortunately the curse of the Hungarian nation, which can be seen through many historical events, starting from Mohacs, when Hungarians descended into civil war rather than try to defend from foreign invaders, which resulted in the many tragedies that befell us, and endangered out very existence. It is sad to see the trend continue, because after 1/3 of all Hungarians were sentenced to be assimilated a century ago into other cultures, Hungarians can hardly afford to lose much more, before there will be no Hungarians left, if things continue like this.

    Personally, I think Mr. Vass ought to be ashamed of his gesture.

    • Personally, Zoltan, I think you ought to be ashamed for such shoddy research. Your facts are both misleading and wrong.

      Numerous NGOs and international organizations have been reporting a decline in Hungary’s media freedom since 2010 with the advent of the the National Media and Electronic Communications Authority. Your analysis (if we can call it that) conveniently ignores a recent article in Origo which reported that Mr. Orban’s chief of staff, Janos Lazar, had spent extravagant sums on a state trip. Fearing reprisals from the government, the reporter who broke the story was fired. Dozens of staff members resigned in protest, and they have now started another news portal. Incidentally, now the government wants to tax the internet — one of the last bastions of independent media for Hungarians. Does this sound like media freedom to you? What about Tilos Radio’s application to renew its license? It was struck down because the media authority was not satisfied by the bank guarantee, although neither the station or the bank understood the source of the problem, as the Media Authority did not provide any further explanation.
      http://www.politics.hu/20141102/tilos-radio-frequency-application-denied-by-media-authority/

      The elections were found to be free but unfair by the OSCE, citing a lack of clear separation between state and party. Fidesz introduced restrictive campaign regulations, ensured biased media coverage, and campaign activities that blurred the separation between political party and the state.
      http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/hungary/121375

      What is unfortunate are Hungarians such as yourself who continue to keep their head in the sand as a select few individuals rob our country blind while sabotaging our future. Whatever fidesz is paying you, I hope it’s worth selling out your own kind for.

  5. The Orban government has done more for Hungary, than the communist past government of Gurcsany. Glad that he listened to the people not to impose the internet tax. As far as Mr. Vass’ resignation, if he firmly believes in what he did, and if the Orban government is against his own consciousness, then his resignation is right for him. But, the Orban government has done more for Hungary, and for the nation, than any previous regime. May Orban continue his work for the nation.

    • Where did he say he won’t impose the internet tax?
      He said : “This tax in its current form cannot be introduced,” and only put it on hold. That’s not the same. Saying he eventually didn’t impose it is a misinterpretation.

      “……..than any previous regime….” A what? Does it mean the Orban government is just another regime, the latest one in the row? A Freudian slip?

      Nice rant otherwise.

  6. “ORBAN HAS DONE MORE FOR HUNGARY…”

    He has indeed done more… to bring Hungary into global shame and disrepute.

    “Orban has done more” is as worthy of becoming a national Fidesz slogan as “Magyarorszag jobban teljesit” (“Hungary is Performing Better”), “Stay the Course” and of course “Utility Cuts!”

    But it will not be specious captive-media slogans, selective self-delusion and special pleading that will attest to Orban’s true causal role in ruining Hungary, but honest historical scholarship (and not the self-aggrandizing/self-pitying drivel emanating from Orban’s Orwellian “Veritas Historical Research Institute”).

    Expats (who, with access to the free media ought to know better) will also bear their share of the disgrace for having given in to wishful-thinking and self-deception rather than facing (and supporting) the (obvious) truth. (Explaining that will also require the help of cultural anthropologists.)

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