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Ramos' Pipe Dream from the Philippi

Ramos' pipe dream

Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila

Now he (Philippine President Fidel Ramos) is off on his foreign trip that
will take him to Hong Kong, Burma (Myanmar) and Laos.

In a pre-departure statement ... Ramos said he would "share" with Burmese
leaders "our experiences in rebuilding our democratic institutions, in
forging national reconciliation, in moving the peace process forward and
reforming our economy."

To what end, Ramos didn't say.  But surely it couldn't be the hope of
converting Burma's military rulers to the ways of democracy?  To the members
of the State Law and Order Restoration Council, the ruling junta, democracy
is a dangerous and dirty word.

If Ramos really wants to spread the gospel of democracy to Burma, he is
doing it in a very strange way.  For not only has the Philippine government
failed to condemn the illegal power grab of Burma's military junta and
ignored its despicable record of human rights violations, but it has
practically spearheaded the efforts to confer legitimacy on its military
regime.  Earlier this year, the Philippines stood as one of the principal
sponsor of Burma's admission into the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations.  Now, Ramos has beaten other ASEAN heads of state in making a visit
to Rangoon (Yangon).

Burma's military rulers are getting all the recognition, honor and support
from the Philippines and ASEAN despite their authoritarian rule.  They have
gotten away with murder and are being rewarded for it.  So why would they
change?  Ramos is hallucinating if he thinks he can sweet- talk Burma's
leaders into adopting democratic reform.  (Oct. 15)

Reprinted in the Daily Yomiuri
October 20, 1997