“Cuba Experts” and their brothers-in-arms, the pro-Castro sycophants in the U.S., love to mention Vietnam and America’s business relationship with the communist dictatorship there as proof that being friendly with repressive regimes can be a good thing. They all advocate we should do the same with Cuba’s Castro dictatorship in order to “help” the Cuban people improve their lives.
The reality of life in communist Vietnam, however, is much different. With all the business deals done with the U.S., the tourists junkets to that country, and all the friendliness and cooperation with the Vietnamese regime, that country remains a repressive totalitarian dictatorship that violates human rights and denies its citizens the most basic rights. In other words, Vietnam is more similar to Cuba than the “Cuba Experts” would like to think.
But don’t take my word for it, take the word of Hoi Trinh, a Vietnamese journalist who is exiled in Australia.
Still Vietnamese refugees
38 years after the war ended, people are still fleeing the peace. Why?
Tuesday April 30 marks the 38th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, the annihilation of South Vietnam by the Communist North, or otherwise popularly known as the end of the Vietnam War. Without this day, I suspect there wouldn’t be as many Vietnamese restaurants in your ‘hood. And, without this day, certainly I wouldn’t be where I am today to update you on what’s been happening since then.
Having spent nearly two decades abroad before I decided to return to Vietnam back in 2007, I am often asked by people I meet on my travels about my growing up in post-war Vietnam after 1975 and how the country is doing. And what strikes me as fascinating is the fact that when I ask back what they already know about the country, there seems to be only two versions of Vietnam available:
The first is filled with horror stories and images of a ravaged land once torn by an American-led war. And the second is of a new emerging economic tiger in the Far East, the exotic ‘it’ destination for the young and the famous.
Brad and Angelina have kept coming back. Jeez, they even adopted a little Vietnamese boy not too long ago. While hordes of backpackers from Australia, Europe and across America have diligently followed their Lonely Planet mantra and dropped in from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, the new name for Saigon, to marvel at its culture and beauty or to sample a bowl of “pho” (beef noodles) before beginning their day on a shoestring budget. They could see with their own eyes that it is all peaceful now and that the people seem happy and content with their newfound fortune.
Or at least it seems that way. Until I inform them otherwise.
This inspires the question: Why flee the peace?
The answer is simple. Even though war has ended and peace has triumphed, truth and justice have never prevailed in my homeland. The current U.N. Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of assembly, Maina Kiai, recently referred to this as a “peace coma.” That in the name of peace, we choose to ignore flagrant violations of the most basic human rights by the world’s most repressive regimes.
But its social and political systems remain unchanged and, to this day, all land still belongs to the state and hundreds of dissidents still remain in prison for challenging the one-party rule of the Vietnamese Communist Party. Facebook is banned, no independent news media are allowed, protests are forbidden and civil rights defenders face constant harassment and persecution. Some in the end have to flee, seeking asylum elsewhere while others stay and face imprisonment for up to 16 years for speaking out.
The brutal truth is that there are still refugees from Vietnam. Neither peace nor justice has ever been achieved in my homeland.
Read the entire eye-opening, myth-busting article HERE.