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ARCO Sale a Partial Victory
> FREE BURMA COALITION
> 225 North Mills Street, The University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706
> Phone (608)-827-7734 Fax: (608)-263-9992
> FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
> ARCO DUMPS 39% SHARE OF BURMA PROJECT
> DEMOCRACY ADVOCATES SEE A STEP TOWARD TOTAL WITHDRAWAL
> Los Angeles, Nov. 18, 1997 -- The decision on November 13 by oil giant
> ARCO to sell a share of its investment in Burma is seen by pro-democracy
> activists as a first step toward total withdrawal from activities in the
> military-run pariah state.
> "Every journey begins with a first step," says Ali Ahmed, a leader of
> the Burmese exile community in Los Angeles. "This is the first step
> toward ARCO cutting all ties with the Burmese narco-dictatorship."
> ARCO has been the object of a relentless campaign of demonstrations and
> leafleting, which highlight President Clinton's ban on new investment in
> Burma, a decision made in April for reasons of national security.
> Secretary of State Albright has criticized Burmese military complicity in
> the heroin trade, and said that drug money is even laundered through
> "joint ventures with foreign firms."
> A coalition of Burmese exiles, labor, campus and community groups have
> held weekly demonstrations outside ARCO's headquarters. Demonstrators
> have also attended ARCO-sponsored high school football games, with banners
> reading "nArco in Burma = Heroin in the US." The State Department reports
> that 60% of the heroin on US streets comes from Burma.
> "It can't get much clearer for ARCO," says Kevin Rudiger, a spokesman
> for the LA Burma Forum. "Our government says new investment in Burma
> harms our national interest. Our government says Burma's junta
> tolerates and benefits from heroin exports to the US. Our government
> denounces Burmese repression, but ARCO executives wine and dine the very
> generals responsible. Whose side are they on?"
> Many foreign investors have withdrawn from Burma, including Amoco,
> PepsiCo, Heineken, Levi-Strauss, Eddie Bauer, Liz Claiborne, Disney and
> others. Most recently, Texaco announced it would leave Burma by the end
> of the year. ARCO and Unocal are the only well-known US companies
> The Burmese economy is reportedly on the verge of collapse. Burma's
> democracy movement has long called for investors to stay away until
> democracy is achieved. International and internal pressure is increasing
> on the junta to open dialogue with Burma's overwhelmingly popular
> democrats, headed by Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
> Contact: Kevin Rudiger, Los Angeles Burma Forum, 310-399-0703
> Ali Ahmed, Los Angeles Burma Forum, 562-602-4407