Vit Jedlicka, the first president of Liberland, is working hard to create a utopia on what he believes is unclaimed land between Croatia and Serbia, according to the BBC. The utopia would have bitcoin as its currency and there would be no mandatory taxes or gun control.
The land in question includes 2.5 square miles of uninhabited marshland.
Jedlicka and a group of three friends planted a flag on the land in 2015 and elected him the president. He has since signed up close to half a million citizens online and has appointed ambassadors-in-waiting and a cabinet.
Jedlicka has raised funds from rich libertarians and through crowdfunding. He has also printed passports.
Croatia Bans Occupation
But no one has been allowed to occupy the territory.
The land’s borders were redrawn at the end of the Yugoslav civil war in the 1990s, at which time it switched from Serbia to Croatia.
Croatia, however, did not want the land since it would have had to accept new borders giving it less territory. Serbia wanted the new borders since it got more territory. For different reasons, both Serbia and Croatia said they did not want the land. Jedlicka said he wanted it.
While Croatia did not want the area, it did not want the libertarian state with gun-toting residents on its border. Croatia said it would arrest and fine anyone who attempted to enter the area. Jedlicka was fined when he tried to enter Liberland from Croatia. This past summer, he was not allowed to enter Croatia.
Jedlicka has not given up. He has attended libertarian conferences and named ministers and representatives, communicating on social media.
An architectural competition drew entries from companies worldwide.
In April of 2014, Jedlicka went on a diplomatic mission to speak with neighboring countries in an effort to increase legitimacy and build rapport, CCN reported.
This past September, a BBC reporter joined Jedlicka and Jose Miguel Maschietto, Liberland’s foreign minister, and snuck into Liberland in a car at a small crossing. Jedlicka said he was visiting as a tourist.
Jedlicka had an engagement at a regional macro-economic conference and was appealing his conviction for illegal entry.
A Croatian court overturned Jedlicka’s conviction and sent the case to a local court for a retrial. Jedlicka, however, wanted to lose the case since being fined would prove the existence of an international border. He hoped the court would actually decide the border’s location. But the magistrate adjourned the case.
Jedlicka now believes that if he can’t settle on Liberland, he can build a temporary settlement on houseboats on the Danube adjacent to the territory. Other boards will act as meeting places.
A Problematic Appointment
The BBC reporter who accompanied Jedlicka in September uncovered some fallacies about Maschietto, Liberland’s foreign minister, who claimed to have been a commander in the Italian army and served as a peacekeeper in Kosovo.
The reporter also found out that Maschietto had claimed to be a composer and internationally celebrated pianist. He claimed various musical accomplishments and had given interviews to Czech and Italian media. None of this was true, the reporter discovered.
When this was brought to Jedlicka’s attention, Maschietto resigned. Jedlicka said he would try to find better people to support him in his efforts.
Images from Liberland and YouTube/Partido Libertario.