August 12, 1997 |
He was run out of Cambodia at gunpoint a month ago. He's been circling the globe pleading for help, but has little to show for his efforts. Now he's stuck behind the high walls of a big white house here, barred from traveling even to the Cambodian border by the Thai government, which doesn't want him to stir up trouble. His own father is meeting today with his arch-rival. Reality is closing in on Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the exiled first prime minister of Cambodia. Everyone around Prince Ranariddh - his neighbors in Southeast Asia, big powers like the United States and Japan, certainly his father, King Sihanouk - were appalled by the coup d'etat staged by Second Prime Minister Hun Sen on July 5-6. But for the sake of stability in the region, no one, not even the king, has taken a strong stand on Prince Ranariddh's behalf to reverse Hun Sen's power play.
August 10, 1998
"They feel used. " That is how a European diplomat described the feelings of Cambodian voters, whom the international community hypocritically claimed to be helping toward democracy. Last week, results were announced for the second of Cambodia's "democratic" elections, held July 26. The incumbent, Hun Sen, an ex-member of the genocidal Khmer Rouge, won a majority in parliament. Reports indicate that ballot manipulations and voter intimidation were widespread. But a much-too-small contingent of international observers gave the elections its swift stamp of approval and went home.
May 6, 1989
At last the focus among Asians who are trying to figure out a future for poor Kampuchea is where it should be: how to keep the genocidal Khmer Rouge communists from coming back to power. The Bush administration should take note. Kampuchea, formerly known as Cambodia, is a tiny, once-beautiful country, bombed by America, devastated by the home-grown Khmer Rouge, and invaded and occupied by Vietnam. The best interests of its people have long since been lost sight of in the conflicts between its bigger, more powerful neighbors.
July 17, 1997
When Cambodia held democratic elections in 1993, a miracle happened. Despite the lingering trauma of genocide - Khmer Rouge guerrillas murdered a million Cambodians in the late 1970s - 90 percent of the population voted. The royalist party of Prince Ranariddh won. Cambodians had hope of a democratic future. But the country has been sliding back downhill every since. On July 5, Prince Ranariddh was forced out in a coup by his co-prime minister, Hun Sen. This sinister figure, with his perpetual smile, once headed a Hanoi-installed communist regime - after he had quit the Khmer Rouge.
November 20, 2012 |
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - On a history-making trip, President Obama on Monday paid the first visit by an American leader to Myanmar and Cambodia, two Asian countries with troubled histories, one on the mend and the other still a cause of concern. Obama's fast-paced, pre-Thanksgiving trip vividly illustrated the different paths the regional neighbors are taking to overcome legacies of violence, poverty and repression. Cheered by massive flag-waving crowds, Obama offered long-isolated Myanmar a "hand of friendship" as it rapidly embraces democratic reforms.
April 15, 1989
The Khmer Rouge guerrillas were in power in Kampuchea (Cambodia) for less than four years in the late 1970s, but in that brief time they managed to murder more than one million of their countrymen. Is it now possible that the United States is going to help these mass murderers return to power? The need to squarely face that question has become urgent. For 10 years the United States, China and other Asian nations have been demanding that Vietnam, which ousted the Khmer Rouge regime, pull its occupation troops out of Kampuchea.
August 29, 1997 |
Over a singed patch of land, Nhiem Sitham was rebuilding a two-room house on stilts with planks from mango trees. His simple home was destroyed on July 6 when a shell hit a neighbor's hut, engulfing all the houses in flames. Nhiem Sitham, 43, lost everything, including the karaoke machine that he used to entertain customers at his roadside stand. He had to borrow from relatives to build this new house. He smiled nervously when asked who was to blame for his hardship. "I saw soldiers, but I don't know who they were," Nhiem Sitham said evasively.
July 16, 1997 |
The Cambodian coup d'etat - and I employ that term even if the State Department, for broader foreign policy reasons, does not - staged by Second Prime Minister Hun Sen is a terrible setback. A peace process initiated in 1991, culminating in the Paris Peace Accords and manifested most significantly in the 1993 elections, is dying. The investment since 1991 of more than $3 billion, including $160 million from the United States, has clearly failed to eliminate violence from Cambodia.
September 25, 1989
Back before World War II there were some world leaders who supported Adolf Hitler because they thought he would rout the Bolsheviks. We know where that moral myopia led. Yet, on a much smaller scale the same kind of moral blindness has reappeared. The Bush administration is, in effect, backing the most heinous mass murderers of our time, Cambodia's communist Khmer Rouge, rather than side with the current Cambodian regime backed by the Soviet Union and Vietnam. What makes the issue urgent is that Vietnam pulled its last troops out of Cambodia over the weekend.
December 14, 2004 |
Ieng Sary, round-faced, balding, and slowed by 74 years, visits the Wat Svay Pope Pagoda at least twice a year. It's a peaceful neighborhood temple, and he brings food for the monks. He prays while they chant for him. An ornate memorial stupa beneath the shade trees commemorates his deceased relatives in a country where so many have been lost. But Sary is different from others still shaken by the Khmer Rouge era. That's because he helped create it. And among those the Khmer Rouge tried to wipe out were monks.