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Why Vietnamese-Americans Will Not Vote For Senator Kerry

Senator John F. Kerry has touted his Vietnam experience as a key qualification for being president. Ironically, and precisely because of his Vietnam experience, I will join most Vietnamese Americans in opposing his candidacy.

Ever since Lieutenant Kerry chased and executed a wounded communist guerrilla more than 30 years ago, he has done everything in his power to support the communist regime's efforts to strangle human rights and democracy in Vietnam. Senator Kerry has also become one of the most loyal boosters of Hanoi's interests in America. The victorious communists of Vietnam have publicly and repeatedly over the years thanked John F. Kerry for helping them defeat the "American imperialists."

There is simply no question that the Hanoi regime has systematically abused its own people. Numerous governments entities, including the European Union and the US State Department, have joined human-rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders to condemn Hanoi's persecution of Buddhist monks, Catholic priests, Protestant ministers, journalists, Internet dissidents and even ex-communist soldiers.

Hanoi has put all leaders of Vietnamese independent Buddhist churches either in prison or under house arrest. It also sentenced Catholic priest Nguyen Van Ly to 12 years of hard labor for submitting a testimony to the Congress. A physician, Dr. Pham Hong Son, received an 11-year sentence for translating the article "What is Democracy" from the US Embassy website and circulating it on the Internet. Nguyen Vu Binh, a former editor of the Communist Review, received a seven-year sentence for asking the government to establish a political party.

On Eastern Sunday April 11, 2004, Hanoi's police violently attacked a peaceful march of Vietnamese Christian mountain people, killing hundreds of them and forcing thousands into hiding in jungles or fleeing to neighboring Cambodia. In May, police surrounded Minister Nguyen Hong Quang's house, dragged him out, beaten the daylight out of him and then arrested him. In July, Hanoi sentenced the elderly literature professor Tran Khue and Retired Colonel Pham Que Duong to 19 months in prison for "abusing the right to democracy and freedom." Apparently, Vietnam is the only country has such a crime!

Professor Nguyen Dinh Huy, 78 years old, is now the world's oldest and longest serving political prisoner, almost 30 years.

Senator Kerry has not only kept silent on these naked abuses, but he's also visibly and vocally defended Hanoi's record. In 2002, he personally killed the Human Rights for Vietnam Billb HR2833 in the US Senate. The Bill was passed by the House with 410-1 margin. It proposed linking increased US non-humanitarian aid for Vietnam to that country's human-rights record.

Kerry's blockage of the Human Right Bill exasperated Vietnamese Americans so much that more than 500 of us from all over the country protested in front of his office for a week in August 2002. The Senator's only response to us since then took place last fall, when his campaign asked for our support.

When Vietnam needed America to bail it out of its disastrous economic policies, Senator Kerry was the most outspoken advocate for normalization with Hanoi. This came despite mounting evidence that for years Hanoi had been warehousing the remains of US MIA/POWs and using them as bargaining chips. Sidney Schandberg, a Pulitzer Prize winner reporter, wrote in the Village Voice of New York that Senator Kerry "covered up voluminous evidence that a significant number of live American prisoners -- perhaps hundreds -- were never acknowledged or returned."

Thanks to Senator Kerry's efforts, Hanoi now enjoys Most Favored Nation trading status with America, while thousands of America's brave sons and daughters remain missing in Vietnam.

Article 4 of Vietnam's Constitution illegitimately gives the Vietnamese Communist Party a monopoly over every aspect of everyone's life in Vietnam. Therefore, for many decades, the Vietnamese people have been robbed of their dignity and the basic freedom to pursue their own happiness. As the Democratic nominee for president, how can Senator Kerry claim to have the moral courage to lead the "Free World" when he cannot face up to Vietnam's corrupt dictators?

Many have accused Kerry of flip-flops. I disagree. On the issue of Vietnam, he has been consistently on the wrong side. As a Massachusetts voter, often I wonder whether Senator Kerry is from Massachusetts of USA, or is he actually from Hanoi? As a Massachusetts voter, I must vote my conscience and join most Vietnamese Americans in not supporting our senator.


Nam Pham
Boston, MA

Last Updated Thursday, April 19 2007 @ 01:24 PM MDT; 7,210 Hits View Printable Version