With all the controversy circulating Mr. SAM RAINSY. I am jumping into the eye of the storm.
He have granted me an exclusive interview. He is currently in EXILE. I went one on one with
the man whom millions around the world say; he COULD and SHOULD be the next
PRIME MINISTER of CAMBODIA! - Here is
the exclusive interview with Mr. SAM RAINSY.
interview by: praCh.ly
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- How is your health and how is the family?
We are all right. Thank you.
- The municipal court in Phnom Penh sentenced you to 10- years in prison and a $16,000 fine in a dispute about the border with neighboring Vietnam and for “ disinformation and falsifying of public documents”. But your supporters claim that the case is politically motivated. How so?
Please read the reactions from the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) at http://tinyurl.com/26vfuky and the European Parliament at http://tinyurl.com/34cq5pe
- In its 6 October 2010. Resolution on the case of Sam Rainsy Cambodia, the Geneva-based IPU wonders, particularly in the light of the independent expert analysis on the border issue in question, what kind of evidence the court adduced to prove the falsification of maps or divulgation of false information, all the more so as the Government reportedly itself conceded that the temporary border markers were not on the legal borderline and officially decided to dismantle them.
- In its 21 October 2010 Resolution on Cambodia, in particular the case of Sam Rainsy, the European Parliament unanimously condemns all politically motivated sentences against representatives of the opposition and NGOs. The Resolution specifies, The strategy of Cambodia's ruling party is to use a politically subservient judiciary to crack down on all government critics, and considers Sam Rainsy's gesture to be of a symbolic and clearly political nature and his conviction as based on an act of civil disobedience.
- Who did you think was mastermind behind the grenade attack back in 1997? A fail attempted to assassinate you but end up killing 16 and wounded more than 100 Innocent civilians?
Hun Sen and his bodyguards.
- Many critics said Mu Sochua did not run from her jail sentences, instead she march right on and was very vocal with her statements of not fearing confinement. Why do you choose the exile route?
The stakes are different. With Mu Sochua, the problem can be solved with two thousand dollars. But money cannot buy Cambodian territory I am defending.
- In the world of support whom do you want or need most on your side?
- Did you think the rally in NYC on Sept 24th, in front of the UN help? Did you think President Obama and administration heard the Khmer people voice seeking human right and social justice?
We must always try to make our voice heard.
- You file a complaint and petition requesting criminal investigation and prosecution of Prime Minister Hun Sen, You submitted to the Attorney General of the U.S. the criminal division of the U.S. Department of Justice. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the F.B.I.
- Overview: On March 30, 1997, a vicious grenade attack was carried out against a peaceful political rally taking place across from the Parliament building in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. According to a U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation inquiry on the attack, Prime Minister Hun Sen's Personal Bodyguard military unit may well have been responsible for planning and organizing the attack, and for obstructing the capture of the grenade throwers. A team of FBI investigators was sent by the U.S. Government to compile information and evidence concerning the attack because at least one U.S. citizen was injured by the explosion of the grenades, meaning that U.S. criminal law had been violated. The FBI investigations produced a great deal of information and evidence implicating Hun Sen and his personal military unit as likely perpetrators of these violations of U.S. criminal laws, much of which was presented in testimony and submissions made to the U.S. Congress.
Hun Sen release a resent statement saying; “US courts do not have the right to do anything to the Cambodian prime minister,” he said. “The key for opening up [Sam Rainsy’s] return to the country is Hun Sen.” and he also said; “
“ When the dog bites my leg, I don’t bite the dog’s leg – I use my leg to kick the dog,” he said. “I won’t implore you and there is no court that would dare to do anything with me.”. What are you thoughts toward his “untouchable” statements?
The truth will set you free because you are fighting for justice. But the truth will take all criminals, including Hun Sen, to jail and shame.
March 30, 1997 grenade attack event on an opposition rally for judicial system reform in Cambodia led by Mr. Sam Rainsy,
President of the Khmer Nation Party in front of the National Assembly building.
- As generation passes we need fresh minds and new ideas to keep up with the world. Hun Sen, whom many say that he is not the best what Cambodia has to offer but yet he has been Prime Minister of Cambodia for about 3 decade now. What do you think about elected term limitations?
I am in favor of a one-term limit for any President or Prime Minister (The Philippines and South Korea are implementing this rule).
- Why the self-named, eponymous Sam Rainsy Party? Isn't it a bit egotistic?
It’s more related to political and administrative harassment by the CPP. Remember what happened to the Khmer Nation Party, the precursor of the SRP.
- CORRUPTION is like a plague in Cambodia. In honestly I think there is no possible way to end corruption. How would you reduce it? What are your plans?
Better education and the rule of law will reduce corruption as we can see in democratic countries with a relatively high level of education. In Cambodia, putting an end to impunity will be an essential step toward better governance.
- HUMAN TRAFFICKING. Child sex slave, prostitution is a multi-billion dollar business world. Cambodia and South East Asia seem to be the common ground for petifiles. What are your plans to tackle this global problem?
We have to fight against poverty, ignorance and government corruption. The rule of law and the end of impunity must be ensured in order to effectively tackle this issue and other crucial issues.
- CENSORSHIP. With media, TV, radio, etc,. It’s a fine line between freedom of speech, freedom of expression. Its seem that Cambodia has a gag order when it comes to speaking or expressing their opinion. What do you think should be done with this if you are to be elected as Prime Minister?
We have to ensure the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms that are universal values.
- We are behind in term of entertainment because we can not express and voice our opinion enough. As a musician my music was banned because it was to ‘Controversial’ due to subject matter. Would you allow artist the freedom to express themselves in an artistic form? Without the profanity of course, but just speaking about truth, life and social issue.
- BOOTLEGGING. As an independent artist and an independent business owner, bootleggers has become a major threat. Basically they are stealing from honest hard workers. My first CD has sold in the thousands in Cambodia but even till this day I have yet to make a single Riel, let a alone a penny. But now I re-strategize my marketing and distribution and they way it is sold. Its not just CDs but DVD, clothes, purses, games, movies, etc, you name it the bootleggers can get it. What can or would you to do to enforce and punish those who violate this copyright infringement?
Again, we must uphold the rule of law, including copyright and intellectual property laws and regulations worldwide.
- FORCE EVICTION and LAND GRABBING. Governments and Developers are selling and taking over land of the people and forcing them out of their homes. I was there in 2005 when they were just handing out eviction notice at the Bassac. An official whom I shall keep anonymous came and warn the local that if they don’t sign over the property they might end up with nothing. His advice was to take the money and go,. Later on that week a fire break out. My colleagues and I were there with buckets of water helping them put the fire out. Now how do you justified this type of ‘smoke them out’ tactics?
Unfortunately, this type of criminal and revolting act has been repeated in other places, targeting the poor and the powerless I have always tried to defend.
- PRESERVING ART AND CULTURE. Cambodia is known for many things but what stand out the most is the beauty of our arts. I love the sound of pin peat, but what broke my heart is seeing the ensemble on the street playing it as street peddlers asking for money. How can we preserve cultural dances, classical music, with dignity and pride? There are some organization that is doing a great job but how can we help those who are a stray?
It’s a matter of priority. The physical survival of a nation depends on the strength and the quality of its soul. In order to preserve the Khmer soul, we need to implement an adequate policy with regard to education, culture, and preservation of fine arts and good traditions. Encouragement and a decent living with dignity must be provided to artists who express and defend our Khmer soul.
An artist should say, “I don’t need a donation, I need the means to defend and to promote our national culture.”
Khmer artists can help convey this message to all Khmer citizens: Let’s stop asking for alms or donations, let’s start fighting for our rights. This is the fight for a progressive democracy against a regressive patronage system.
As an artist, you can help a youth say, “I don’t need a donation, I need a job”; a factory worker say, “I don’t need a donation, I need a pay increase”; a farmer say, “I don’t need a donation, I need to keep my land and to sell my crops at a better price”; a mother with a sick child say, “I don’t need a donation, I need free heath care for my child”.
What these ordinary citizens are asking is not donations from the government. They are asking for the respect of their rights by the government: right to have a job for the youth; right to a have decent salary for the factory worker; right to own and to keep his land for the farmer; right to free or affordable health care for the mother with a sick child.
No government has the right to stay in power if it doesn’t respect the rights of its citizens as defined in a political and social contract in a modern and democratic society. There is a big difference between beggars and citizens.
- THE ELECION. The election is a major issue. How can it be fair if the voters are threaten with their jobs, lively hood and even with their life. Ballots and votes can be bought for $1.usd and all this goes on the radar and in front of the public eye. It seem like we already know who’s going to win before the vote is even cast, even with the help from the United Nations and many other orgs. How can we secure a fair and legitimate election?
With the UNDP, we are advocating a reform of the whole election system.
- THE UNION WOKERS. Garments are very profitable for companies and can generate millions into the economy. But sometime the worker / employee are mistreated and under paid. If a line is drawn between the worker and the factory owners which side will you stand and who do you think is behind the assassination of the great Che Vichea? WHO KILLED CHEA VICHEA?
In 1996, Chea Vichea and I helped create Cambodia’s first free trade union. And we helped organized the first strikes and demonstrations leading to the first negotiated pay increases. The fight, now led by workers themselves, is going on in the same spirit.
- You went into self-exile on February 3rd 2005, citing fear of arrest after a vote in the National Assembly removed parliamentary immunity. You faced multiple criminal defamation charges after accusing the Cambodian People's Party and Funcinpec of corruption. Then on February 5th 2006, you received a Royal Pardon by King Norodom Sihamoni at Prime Minister Hun Sen request. You then returned to Cambodia on February 10th 2006. How was it like for you going into exile and what’s your thought on Hun Sen request to Pardon you?
It was the result of international pressure and internal constraints. With the CPP it’s only a matter of balance of power, visible or invisible.
Two-minute trailer for the documentary WHO KILLED CHEA VICHEA? slated for release in 2010 by Loud Mouth Films.
Vichea, the president of Cambodia's garment workers union, was assassinated in 2004. Two innocent men were then framed by police and convicted.
- You moved to France in 1965, studied and worked in a variety of Parisian financial companies and became very successful. What motivated you to return to Cambodia and get in to politics?
I must seize the historical and unique opportunity to repay my debt to my Motherland.
- Knowing that Hun Sen was a former KR, do you think he should also be held accountable and trialed as a perpetrator?
The Tribunal must first conduct an investigation on any suspect.
- Where were you from 1975-1979 ? The Killing Fields affected all Khmer in some way or from. We are still haunted by the past with mental illnesses and trauma (PTSD). How can we put it to the side and learn from this horrific event? Many school in Cambodia does not teach about ‘the Killing Fields’ and kids, our youth is growing up not know what really happen What would you do to educated the kids? Because they are our future.
The Killing Fields must be taught in history books. Free discussions on the Khmer Rouge-related past must be encouraged.
- The DRUG EPIDEMIC. Kids young as 4 years old are sniffing glue, ecstasy pills, heroine and cocaine is find it way into the streets at an alarming rate and into the hands of the people. Where is it coming from and how can we help prevent it from destroying the county even more?
Same answer as for human trafficking: We have to fight against poverty, ignorance and government corruption. The rule of law and the end of impunity must be ensured in order to effectively tackle this issue and other crucial issues.
- DEPORTATION. Khmer from the United States whom are not U.S. citizen are being deported back to Cambodia. Separated from their families after they already serve their sentences. Some become drug addicts. Some form gangs some even end up committing suicide because they can’t adjust. But there are few who change their life around. What is your take on the Deportation Law? Do you think the punishment fit the crime? Can Cambodia do anything about it?
It was a bad agreement between the US and the Cambodian governments that has allowed the deportations. The Cambodian government accepted the deportation of poor young Khmers from the US in exchange for powerful and rich CPP officials and their families easily getting entry visas to the US. We should renegotiate this unfair agreement.
A little justice is better than no justice. Delayed justice is better than never-happening justice.
- THE KR WAR TRAIL: What are your thoughts on the war trial? Almost $100 million was spent. Did you think it was worth it and how do you feel about Duch’s sentences knowing that he might get his freedom and walk again among his victims?
- Many students are graduating from schools and universities but there are little to no jobs for them to go to. We are rank as one of the poorest country in the world. What would you do to create jobs and stimulate Cambodia’s economy?
Make our agriculture and industry more efficient and more competitive. Attract legitimate investors who can provide decent jobs to our youth. This implies and requires the implementation of many structural reforms we have been advocating for a long time. On top of the list: ensuring the rule of law, reforming the justice system and curbing corruption. To devise a credible development strategy we need leaders with long-term vision, not like those currently in power who are only preoccupied by their short-term political survival.
- The GREEN MOUNTAIN. Families of scavengers are living on the dump sites. Kids are excited to see the trash trucks as if there were ice cream truck. Some thing is seriously wrong with that picture. The fume itself is toxic and hazardous to the health. Their life span is cut in half, maybe even shorter. Shouldn’t the dumpsite be closed to the public, sign posted up with security informants?
Yes, but an alternative living, more decent, must be provided to the concerned families.
- THE MEKONG RIVER. The Mekong is one of the world’s longest and most resource-rich rivers. The Mekong, which flows through China, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand, and provides food, water, and transport for about 65 million people is now at its lowest level in two decades due to a prolonged drought. China has five operational dams and plans to construct about 15 more hydropower dams upstream, while Southeast Asian states talks about building 11 dams further downstream. This threaten one of the most productive regions of wet rice cultivation, while erratic water currents may block the spawning migration of fish in what is now the world’s largest freshwater fishery. The Mekong will be endangered if this problem is not resolve soon. What are your plans and thought on the dams and the current conflict fishermen deputing about territories?
We have to call for international cooperation based on international laws and practices and mutual respect (with each country taking into account the concern and interest of neighboring countries).
- There has been and on going dispute with Thailand about the Preah Vihear temple, how would you resolve that matter?
Go back to the 1991 Paris Agreements on Cambodia which guarantee Cambodia’s territorial integrity.
- AIDS and HIV. It’s a global pandemic. U.S. support for HIV/AIDS programs in Cambodia is $18.5 million this year and Cambodia was praise for recognizing the threat and for the HIV prevention education. I was there for the ‘wrap it up‘ HIV prevention benefit concert at the Bassac a while back. Major cities like Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang are inform but how do we reach out to the people in the rural area?
There are experts in public health who know the situation in Cambodia and who can give us very good technical advice.
- Thai is Thailand. Vietnamese is Vietnam. Chinese is China. Do you think the world should recognize us as Cambodia, Kampuchea or Srok Khmer?
The Finns call their country (Finland in English, Finlande in French) “Suomi”. The Germans call their country (Germany in English, Allemagne in French) “Deutschland”. The Hungarians call their country (Hungary in English, Hongrie in French) “Magyar”.
- LANDMINES. Cambodia is one of the most heavily mined areas in the world. Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) estimates 2 to 3 million mines still hidden underneath the ground. The land is also littered with other kinds of unexploded ordinance (UXO), left over from half a million tons of bombs dropped on Cambodia by the United States in the late 60s and early 70s. Do you think the U.S. and other counties who was involve in the bombings should send people to help with the clearing?
- You are running for prime minister of Cambodia, why should the people vote for you?
Each voter will make up his/her own mind after observing and comparing different candidates.
- If you were to be elected Prime Minister of Cambodia what would be your top 5 main focus on your agenda to improve Cambodia?
- Defense of our country’s independence, national sovereignty and territorial integrity / Restoration of the pride of being Khmer.
- Functioning democracy with respect for universal human rights, liberties and freedoms. Listening to different opinions. Mobilizing human resources.
- Rule of law, good governance, fight against corruption and for the common good, especially in the fields of education, health and environment.
- Clear and coherent long-term vision and plan for sustainable economic development in a global perspective (geopolitics, competition, technologies, etc). Move Cambodia out of poverty through sound economic policies.
- Social justice. Defense and protection of the poor and the weak. Equal opportunities for all, especially in the fields of education and employment.
- Who or what inspires you?
It depends on the topic.
- What is your favorite Khmer food and why?
“Num banchok”. It’s the taste of my childhood.
- 7 things you would put in your time capsule?
I am continuously refining ideas and information that would make a better Cambodia.
- 7 words to best describe yourself.
I might not be objective regarding myself. I would rather let other people describe me.
- Any last words?
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