[Marxism] U.S. Stops Communist Stopover in Little Saigon

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Mon Apr 26 22:10:37 MDT 2004

Here's a story which demonstrates how bizarre and absurd
the US blockade of Cuba continues to be. Keep in mind that
58,000 US soldiers died during the Vietnam war, while no
uniformed US soldiers have been killed by Cuban soldiers
in the 45 years since the Cuban Revolution's 1959 triumph.
[Some CIA agents were executed in the early 1960s.]

"US Stops Communist TAKEOVER in Little Saigon" is how this
sounded when I first read it, and I had to go back to make
sure I'd read it correctly. I hadn't. But this is a very,
very interesting story. The United States government has
stopped a visit to the Vietnamese-American enclave called
Little Saigon, located in Westminster, California, which 
is in Orange County, just south of Los Angeles County.

The United States Government, which has overthrown three
foreign governments in the past two years, decides that it
will prevent the visit of officials from the Vietnamese
government to visit Little Saigon after the local police
announced that they could not guarantee the safety of the
Vietnamese government. Remember, the US has full diplomatic
relations with Vietnam, and extensive trading relations too.

Can you imagine the political meaning when the government
of the United States publicly declares that it is unable to
protect diplomats from a country with which the US has no
blockade and formally friendly relationships? Incredible!
Can you imagine if officials of the People's Republic of
China wanted to visit a Chinatown in some US city and the
US government did nothing when local rightwingers said the
Chinese couldn't visit there? Of course the only place in
the United States where something like that can occur is
in Miami, where rightist exiles have long controlled the
local political and police structures.

One surprising sidelight, however, is that one of the 
worst US-paid Vietnamese stooges during the war has now
come out in favor of friendly ties with his homeland:
Nguyen Cao Ky. Do read this all the way through to the
final sentence.

For those who may not remember Nguyen Cao Ky:

Walter Lippmann


By Mai Tran 
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

April 24, 2004

The State Department on Friday canceled a weekend visit to
Little Saigon by Vietnamese Communist Party leaders after
Westminster officials said they could not guarantee their

The trip to the largest Vietnamese community in the United
States was planned by the Vietnamese government and
intended as a gesture of goodwill to improve relations with
expatriates who fled or emigrated.

The delegation, which will visit Los Angeles today and San
Francisco, New York City and Washington in the days ahead,
planned to tour the Little Saigon business and shopping
district by motorcade, escorted by California Highway
Patrol officers.

But anti-communist activists in Little Saigon said the
visitors would be unwelcome. Protesters had planned to line
Bolsa Avenue and demonstrate, wave South Vietnamese flags
and even toss eggs when the motorcade drove by.

"It's like taking Fidel Castro down to Little Havana in
Miami," Westminster Councilman Andy Quach said of the
delegation's plans.

Many immigrants who fled their homeland when South Vietnam
fell in 1975 remain firmly anti-communist. Before fleeing,
many were imprisoned in so-called reeducation camps where
they said they were beaten, tortured and starved.

The fact that the visit would come just days before the
commemoration of the fall of Saigon stirred even more

The former premier of South Vietnam, however, described the
canceled visit as a missed opportunity. "It's time to sit
and talk with them," said Nguyen Cao Ky, a Hacienda Heights
resident who returned to Vietnam this year for the first
time since Saigon fell. "Whether it's here or in Vietnam,
it's the right thing to do."

Support for bilateral trade relations with Vietnam has
increased in recent years in Little Saigon, but proponents
keep quiet for fear of reprisals. Ky's return to Vietnam,
which angered many of his countrymen, also was seen as an
encouraging sign to free-trade advocates.

The State Department said the visit, which began Thursday
and ends April 30, was requested by Vietnamese officials.

Thanh Phuc Nguyen, vice president of the Vietnam National
Assembly and chairman of the assembly's Committee on
Foreign Affairs, is leading the six-person delegation.
Nguyen is scheduled to meet next week with John R. Bolton,
undersecretary of state for arms control and international
security, to discuss security issues.

"The government of Vietnam has been making a lot of effort
to reach out to the Vietnamese community overseas," said
Chien Ngoc Bach, a spokesman for the Vietnamese Embassy in

The Little Saigon stop was canceled Friday afternoon after
two police departments warned federal officials that the
group's safety could not be guaranteed.

"We just wanted to make the State Department aware of the
contentious feeling of the Vietnamese community in this
area regarding someone of his affiliation," said
Westminster Police Capt. Mitch Waller, referring to Nguyen.
"It would be very difficult for us to guarantee his safety
if he comes to our city, having experienced what happened
in 1999."

Little Saigon was rocked in 1999 when 15,000 demonstrators
rallied for 53 days in front of a video store on Bolsa
Avenue after its owner hung a picture of communist leader
Ho Chi Minh and the communist flag.

"The anti-communist sentiments among members of this
community are as strong, if not stronger, than anywhere
else in the world," Garden Grove Police Chief Joseph
Polisar wrote in a letter Friday to Special Agent Henry

"I urge you in the strongest possible terms to avoid
bringing representatives of the government of Vietnam to
the Little Saigon area. . The public safety risks for both
the delegation and the community are enormous," Polisar

Delegation officials declined to comment.

The visit was to include a drive through Garden Grove and
Westminster's Little Saigon, the commercial and cultural
hub of the Vietnamese American community. The visitors also
planned to stop at the Vietnam War Memorial in Westminster,
where a statue of a South Vietnamese and an American
soldier depicts friendship between the United States and
the former South Vietnam.

"They're on our soil, and we just want to send them a clear
message that they're not welcome here," Councilman Quach

"This is a victory for us," said Lac Nguyen, 59, of Garden
Grove, a director for the nonprofit Vietnamese Community of
Southern California in Westminster. "This was our strong
warning that it would only be an inconvenience for them to
come here because anything could happen."

Though Vietnamese government officials have visited Orange
County in the past, their trips were largely kept secret.


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