Lech Walesa

Lech Walesa was born in Water Ram - Kuei Wei Year of the 60-year Cycle of the Chinese Zodiac

A well-known Polish human rights activist, trade union organizer, politician and philanthropist, Lech Walesa was born on September 29, 1943 in Popowo, Poland. His father was a Nazi prisoner of war camp survivor and his mother gave Walesa his tenacity and drive. He cofounded Solidarity or the Soviet bloc?s first self-governing trade union. Walesa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983. Walesa was President of Poland from 1990 until 1995. He was an electrician by trade and worked at the Gdansk Shipyards where he became a trade union activist. He was persecuted by Communist authorities, was continually under surveillance and fired in 1976. He was arrested many times for insubordination. In 1980 Walesa was instrumental in the discussions that led to the Gdansk Agreement between the government and striking dock workers. He was arrested after martial law was enforced in Poland and Solidarity was illegal. When he was released, Walesa unceasingly work at activism and was central to the creation of the 1989 Round Table Agreements. In the election of 1990 he ran for President of Poland. Walesa presided over Poland?s change to a post-communist state. He barely lost the 1995 presidential election and his role in politics dimmed. He continues to lecture on history and politics. During his presidency Walesa brought Poland though privatization and transition to a free market economy. He introduced the first free parliamentary elections and redefined Poland?s foreign relationships. He negotiated the withdrawal of Soviet Troop from Poland and reduced Poland?s foreign debts. He supported entry into NATO and the European Union. He founded the Lech Walesa Institute in 1996 and in 1997 he organized a new party, Christian Democracy of the 3rd Polish Republic. In 2009 Walesa condemned the Obama administration for the abandonment of long ranger missile defense programs with Poland. He announced his support of the Occupy Wall Street movements and endorsed Mitt Romney for the presidency in 2012. Walesa has been married to Danuta Golos since 1969 and they have eight children.
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