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Vietnam and Laos

From US Newswire: 3/5/2004 5:19:00 PM
Joint Military Offensive by Laos, Vietnam Directed Against Hmong People Results in Hundreds of Civilians and Rebels Killed, Wounded
WASHINGTON, March 5 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The following was released today by the Center for Public Policy Analysis and the Lao Veterans of America, Inc.:
An intense two-week long, joint military offensive by Laos and Vietnam directed against two encircled pockets of minority opposition members has left hundreds of ethnic Hmong and Laotian civilians and rebels dead and wounded. Hundreds more Hmong and Laotians were captured or surrendered to military and security forces after suffering repeated air and ground attacks and heavy casualties-as well as from months struggling under a brutal campaign of government-sponsored mass starvation that left many civilians dead, including hundreds of women and children. ...

From The Scotsman: Sun 7 Mar 2004
US opens borders to secret Vietnam recruits by SIMON MONTLAKE
A GROUP of tribal people who fought for the United States in a sideshow to the Vietnam War are being evacuated to America nearly 30 years after they were driven from their homeland. The US recruited illiterate Hmong farmers in Laos, which borders Vietnam, for a covert anti-communist force that was left stranded when the Communists won. The Hmong were forced to flee to Thailand in 1975, but with their welcome there finally wearing thin, America has agreed to allow 15,000 people to move to the US. ...

From Reuters: Tue Mar 9, 2004 9:10 PM ET
Vietnam and Cuba Vow March Together to Socialism
HAVANA (Reuters) - The leaders of Vietnam and Cuba, two of the world's last five communist-run societies, pledged on Tuesday to stick together in their march to build socialism. ... The world's three other communist-run countries are China, North Korea and Laos.

From AP at The San Francisco Chronicle: Monday, July 19, 2004 (07-19) 16:08 PDT
House approves sanctions on Vietnam By JIM ABRAMS
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House voted Monday to restrict U.S. aid to Vietnam if that country fails to improve what lawmakers said was a deplorable human rights record. "Vietnam needs to come out of the dark ages of repression, brutality and abuse and embrace freedom, the rule of law and respect for fundamental human rights," said Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., sponsor of the legislation that passed 323-45. ...

From The NYT: August 8, 2004
Indochina War Refugees Find Homes at Last, in U.S. By SETH MYDANS
SARABURI, Thailand - It is a scene from what seems the distant past: 15,000 refugees from the American war in Indochina clustered in a guarded camp, preparing at last to head for asylum in the United States. Monsoon rains make rivers of their muddy paths and blanket their tin-roofed huts with white noise as they sit in little classrooms for crash courses on becoming Americans. The first small groups began departing in June, but the camp will not be empty for months. Like more than three million refugees who came before them, the people here - or their parents - fled their country after the war ended in 1975. But unlike almost all the rest, they have remained in stateless limbo, long after refugee programs closed around Asia. They are Hmong tribespeople from the mountains of Laos, an ethnic group that was recruited wholesale by the Central Intelligence Agency to fight in its "secret war" in that tiny country neighboring Vietnam. ... "It's reasonable to assume that this is the last big group," said W. Courtland Robinson, author of a book about Indochina refugees called "Terms of Refuge." Veterans of the war and other supporters of the Hmong say the United States owes a debt to these people it left behind when the war ended. Since then, 127,000 have been resettled in the United States, where their population has swelled. The people here refused to go with them, hoping some day to cross the Mekong River back to Laos. When the camps that held them closed in the early 1990's, they found a home in the fields around a Buddhist temple here called Wat Tham Krabok, about 50 miles north of Bangkok. Then, late last year, the United States agreed to a longstanding request by the Thai government to take them all, filling an annual refugee quota after arrivals dropped sharply following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Most of the people at the temple are ready to go. This is not the same population that refused asylum a decade ago. Three out of four people here were born in Thailand. These are refugees not from a war but from a refugee camp. ...

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