Memorandum to Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs: Joseph Y. Yun

Memorandum to Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs: Joseph Y. Yun
Meeting at the State Department, Friday March 4th, 2011

Dear DAS Yun:

Thank you for taking the time to see me on March 4th despite your busy schedule. I very much appreciated the opportunity to discuss with you the political situation in Vietnam. Here is a summary of the issues that I’ve raised with you during our meeting.

Memorandum to Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs: Joseph Y. Yun
Meeting at the State Department, Friday March 4th, 2011

Dear DAS Yun:

Thank you for taking the time to see me on March 4th despite your busy schedule. I very much appreciated the opportunity to discuss with you the political situation in Vietnam. Here is a summary of the issues that I’ve raised with you during our meeting.

The new millennium has begun, and Vietnam is still a one party system where there is no distinct separation of the administrative, judiciary and legislative branches. The Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP) strictly controls the government at all levels, manipulates the National Assembly, controls all of the mass media, and deprives the Vietnamese people of all basics human rights. There are no free and fair elections, and no independent unions to protect the millions of Vietnamese workers. People who disagree and express their own opinions in a peaceful way are imprisoned.

The VCP and their cruel offspring have driven Vietnam to the brink of bankruptcy through wasteful, inefficient investments; incredible wealth is in the hands of a small group of corrupted apparatchiks, while the majority of people live in poverty; the cost of living is soaring; the prices of electricity, water, and gasoline are rising day by day; the Vietnamese “dong” is losing its value while wages and salaries are stagnant. People, especially labourers, have to toil night and day yet cannot make a decent living. The situation in Vietnam is ripe for transformation. The people in Vietnam are encouraged by the Jasmine revolution in North Africa and Middle East, and are working diligently for change. In that spirit, I propose the following recommendations:

1. The current political situation in Vietnam is a golden opportunity for the U.S. to express American support for a more open political system. Specifically, before it is too late, the Vietnamese government should adopt a timetable for a free & fair election under the supervision of the United Nations in which the Vietnamese people will be able to express their own will regarding their country’s political system.

2. The major political straightjacket is Article 4 of the Constitution, which imposes the illegal primacy of the VCP. This article should be abolished in order for Vietnam to make progress in achieving the rule of law.

3. The Vietnamese government should cease harassment, arrest, and imprisonment of citizens who peacefully express their own opinions. They should release all dissidents and religious leaders who are illegally jailed by the Vietnamese government – many of whom have been imprisoned for more than 20 years.

4. The Vietnamese government should also stop threatening and harassing the formerly imprisoned activists.

5. The U.S. should consider holding/cutting aide, investment, and part of the 8 billion U.S. dollars that Vietnamese abroad send home each year as part of our leverages.

6. The U.S. deserves and should demand an official apology from Hanoi for the Vietnamese government’s arrogant attitude on the January 2011 incident in which a U.S. officer of the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi was attacked by the Vietnamese security police while trying to visit a Roman Catholic dissident: Father Nguyen Van Ly in Hue.

Lastly, I would like to bring forth thoughts that my brother, Dr. Nguyen Dan Que, recently wrote in the Washington Post article, “In Vietnam, Rights Take a Beating”. “The truth is that Hanoi needs Washington much more than Washington needs Hanoi. Today, Vietnam looks out at a re-militarized China and an ongoing dispute in the South China Sea, not to mention domestic woes that include a sluggish economy and an outdated education system. And if Washington is looking to Vietnam for a long-term partner for peace and regional stability, America would do well to recognize publicly that only a Vietnam that is free and democratic can provide one”.

Again, thank you for the occasion to share my ideas with you. I look forward to another meeting soon.

Respectfully yours,

Quan Q. Nguyen, M.D.

Chairman, The International Organization To Support The Non-Violent
Movement For Human Rights in Vietnam

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