Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Little Laos On the Prairie, Clinton & UXO

The Minnesota-based blog at Little Laos On the Prairie penned a nice response to Secretary of State Clinton's visit to Laos on July 11th, courtesy of Chanida Phaengdara. For those of you who are looking for a real Lao American response to the visit, this is a great place to start.

"57 years later: U.S. Secretary Clinton's historic visit to Laos," is not the most imaginative title they've had, but it gets the point across:

I've gone on the record as being happy to see Secretary Clinton visit Laos, but it's a guarded optimism. Many of us were concerned she would bypass it altogether, focusing instead on her trips to Burma and Vietnam. UXO has proven to be one of the key issues being highlighted there, but I hope some mention is being made of other environmental concerns developing in Laos, from deforestation to the dam construction, illegal logging, addressing narcotics production and other issues. Human trafficking, MIAs, a rise in AIDS and a limited infrastructure for addressing crisis conditions, in addition to media freedom are also topics that could also be addressed. But we'll see what additional policies and changes emerge in the future.

Media coverage has appeared in Newsweek, the New York Times, the Washington Post and elsewhere, but we must also keep working to inform our legislators to support measures that enable greater exchange between our two countries without throwing either nation under the bus to 'realpolitik' or unscrupulous corporate machinations and exploitation.

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