Date: August 29, 2013
Location: College Station, Texas
Subject: Potential Coup d’ Etat in Albania
According to documents declassified and released earlier this week by the George Herbert Walker Bush Presidential Library, U.S. authorities were on the alert for a possible coup d’etat within the Albanian government in September of 1990. Details of the documents were so sensitive they were redacted in their entirety, only the subject heading and the distribution list were declassified and distributed publicly. In its report distribution, U.S. intelligence sources took the precaution of notifying the FBI about its concerns regarding instability within Albania, and the possibility of a violent overthrow of the government of President Ramiz Alia, hand picked successor to dictator Enver Hoxha, who died in April of 1985.
The 1990 report came against a backdrop of increasing unrest in Albania the likes of which it had never seen since it chose communist dictatorship as its form of government in November of 1944. Fast moving events in Romania, culminating with the execution of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife in 1989, and combined with a young and rapidly growing population base, scarce economic opportunities for the application of their talents, and a multi-year drought that stymied crop growth and food supply coalesced into a tinderbox of uncertainty that threw the Alia government into turmoil. Responding to events inside his East European neighbor and ally, Alia had said previously that “Romania has nothing to do with us.” But according to documents released by the Bush Presidential Library, Alia’s statement appears geared toward placating public sentiment. His government, according to the released reports, was clearly rattled by Romania’s revolution, and he took steps to mitigate the damage.
Those steps, according to the documents, included easing travel restrictions, allowance for religious expression, and multiple delegates for election, as long as those candidates were sponsored by the Albanian Workers Party. But many in Albania saw these changes as cosmetic and unlikely to lead to long term stability for the country. Alia continued to resist core political change such as the kind of multi party system advocated in the 1970’s by former Albanian Defense Minister Beqir Balluku. Dictator Enver Hoxha demanded Balluku’s ouster, and he was executed for treason in 1974.