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F R E E B U R M A C O A L I T I O N
225 North Mills Street, Madison, WI 53706
Tel (608) 827-7734, Fax (608) 263-9992
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
ARCO EXECUTIVES CONFRONTED ON BURMAÕS DRUG TRADE
BY COLLEGE STUDENT FROM HEROIN OVERDOSE CAPITOL OF TEXAS
OCAW Union Members and Burmese Exiles Issue Challenge to ShareholdersÕ
Meeting on Human Rights and Drug Corruption
May 4, Los Angeles -- In a dramatic confrontation at ARCOÕs annual
shareholders meeting, Occidental College freshman Sara Hunt described the
horrendous effects of the heroin epidemic on young people in her home
town, Plano, Texas, and challenged ARCO CEO Mike Bowlin about the
companyÕs partnership with the regime of Burma, which has been implicated
in money laundering and protection of the drug trade.
A record number of fatal heroin overdoses has occurred among high school
students in recent months in Plano, the site of an ARCO facility and last
yearÕs annual meeting. Ms Hunt cited US State Department reports linking
cheap and powerful Burmese heroin to the "fad" for the drug among American
Calling ARCO a "co-conspirator" for its oil and gas exploration
partnership with the corrupt Burmese junta, Ms. Hunt challenged Mr.
Bowlin, "Are you so desperate for the smallest possible profit that you
would stay involved with such a horrible regime?"
Ms. Hunt is participating in a three day protest fast, in which 117 Burma
activists in 25 cities in 4 countries are showing their strong opposition
to ARCOÕs Burma venture. A resolution was offered at the meeting by ARCO
employees who are members of the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers labor
union, calling for ARCO to closely investigate the links between their
Burmese partners and the international heroin trade. Veteran ARCO refinery
worker Tony Whiting, speaking in favor of the OCAW resolution, stated,
"The Burmese Government continues the promotion of a lucrative drug trade,
as they seek out pacts with multinational corporations willing to ignore
even the most heinous of crimes."
Other speakers in the meeting included Burmese exiles Ms. Taw Myo Myint,
and U Sandimar, a Buddhist monk, pleading with ARCO to follow the lead of
other US companies including Pepsico, Amoco, Texaco and Motorola, and
leave Burma. Ms. Vicki Middleton, human rights activist and wife of a
former ARCO Board Member, also commented about Burma: "We are all
affected, as shareholders, by ARCOÕs decision to support this
Outside of the meeting, Burmese dissidents and supporters held a colorful
and vociferous demonstration, highlighting the cases of six Burmese
students recently sentenced to death by the regime. Wayne Shorter, the
legendary jazz saxophonist who recently won a Grammy award for a
compostion about BurmaÕs democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, appeared at
the demonstration to lend his support for the growing Free Burma movement.
Photos available; contact Burma Forum, (310) 399-0703.