ican consul tried to see her in 1986 but was rudely shoved away from her door, creating a minor diplomatic incident. Cornea never yielded an inch and bravely bore all efforts to silence her. It was Cornea who brought the horrors of systematization, that is the destruction of villages, to the attention of the world (see Systematization). Eventually her letters brought protests and helped world public opinion understand the nature of the Ceausescu regime. In December 22, 1989, Cornea was included among the leadership of the National Salvation Front that took over government affairs from the defunct Communist party. However, she soon left the front and once again became a severe critic, this time of the front's authoritarian practices.
Ratesh Nestor, Romania: The Entangled Revolution ( Washington, DC, 1989).
Danube-Black Sea Canal. The Romanian communist leaders were always awed by the monumental scale of construction that took place during Joseph Stalin's rule in the Soviet Union. They, too, had to have monumental projects that were to symbolize the "magnificence" of the Romanian communist system. For Gheorghe Gheorghiu- Dej (see Gheorghiu-Dej, Gheorghe), the project that was to be the mother of all projects, the monument to his leadership, was the Danube-Black sea canal. He gained COMECON support for this project. Work on the canal began in 1949. Using mostly slave labor on the pattern of the Soviet Gulag, the canal was supposed to eliminate the uncertainty of navigation at the great river's delta. It was also supposed to connect the southern regions of Romania with Soviet commerce on the Black sea and with Western Europe. However, the canal's ecological impact, was never ascertained and this was to cause tremendous problems.
By 1952, only three kilometers of the projected seventy-five had been fully excavated. Enormous investments, thousands of lives, and tremendous amounts of labor were wasted on the next seven kilometers, started but not finished. Swamp drainage and irrigation was completed in some sections but left unfinished in others. A cement factory, two thermoelectric plants, and seventy-eight kilometers of road that led to nowhere were constructed. Immediately alter the death of Gheorghiu-Dej, the project was abandoned.
When Nicolae Ceausescu (see Ceausescu, Nicolae and Elena) established his control over Romania, however, he, too, was looking for some would-be monument that would survive his rule. The Danube-Black sea canal was an obvious choice. Thus, the construction recommenced in the early 1970s. The old method of using slave labor was revived. Thousands more innocent political prisoners died while building the great canal. The project's progress was now ensured because the secret police had no difficulty in identifying new victims.
The canal was finally completed in 1984. Week-long celebrations followed, glorifying the "great builder of the century," Nicolae Ceausescu. Poems and songs were composed in his honor; his adulation exceeded even that of Stalin at the height of the Soviet dictator's power. Romanian television spent most of its programs celebrating