International Campaign For A Free Vietnam

English Summary of Speech Given at the 4th Convention of VN Human Rights Network, Orange County, California, October 6

This 4th Convention of the Vietnam Human Rights Network offers an appropriate opportunity to review the international campaign for a Free Vietnam which has been carried out by the Vietnamese Overseas Community all over the world. Our Diaspora, although with only 3 million people, has been presenting to the world a new Vietnam, a Vietnam of liberty and prosperity, a Future Vietnam, in contrast to the present Vietnam of poverty and dictatorship. The Vietnamese Diaspora has great potential, both intellectual and financial. And yet we have not tapped our resources to their potential and conducively to our common cause.

We are campaigning for a Vietnam freed of religious, cultural and political repression, freed of inefficient, corrupted and authoritarian governance. We understand the positive effect of free trade and political engagement on Vietnam. However, we do not believe that free trade by itself will bring about freedom, democracy and respect of human rights. Free trade should go hand in hand with an open society, with transparency and accountability of governance, and especially, with a government democratically and freely elected by the people. Free competition is one of the keys of development, but it should be applied not only to business but also to culture and politics if we want to build a Vietnam of peace, of justice and sustainable development. In our struggle for such a free Vietnam we are privileged to have the American people and government on our side. We do hope that in the coming visit to Vietnam President Bill Clinton will send a clear message to the communist dictators that the United States do not support their repressive policy. We are honored to know that Representative Loretta Sanchez, one of the strongest advocates of freedom and democracy for Vietnam, is accompanying the President to Vietnam. We believe that she will also send a clear message of support for freedom and human rights to the Vietnamese people in general, and to the dissidents in particular.

We are now moving away from the post-cold war period toward a new century, a century of the New World. This will be a world of compassion and cooperation, a global community of multi-racial, multi-cultural humanity. The New World is opening before us, reflecting in all international events all over the globe, from Kosovo to East Timor, from Khmer Rouge to Pinochet. Just last week the Olympic in Sydney beautifully unveiled in front of billions of people all over the world the real human global community of openness and compassion, in which forgotten minorities are honored, old animosities are reconciled. The coming New World will be a world of all nations. It will be no more the world of one super power, although the United States will continue to play the most crucial role in maintaining international peace and stability. It will be no more the world of only the West, although the West will continue to be a decisive factor of progress and development. New factors, mostly Asian, will appear to bear strong impact on human dignity and human values. Asia-Pacific will become the central arena of international development and progress. This vision of the next decades offers both opportunities and challenges to all nations in the region. No nation in the region can resist the trend of globalisation, in which is emerging a global community of open-frontier nations. Vietnam is no exception. It should be viewed in this vision. Its present economic, social and political problems should be tackled in this perspective.

As such, I propose to do all we can to wide open all the doors -economic, cultural, educational, informatics- to the world for the Vietnamese people. I support an open-arm policy between the Vietnamese global Diaspora and the populace inside Vietnam. Let us encourage people-to-people relationship between Vietnam and the United States, in which the Vietnamese-American community, with its intellectual and financial strength, will play a decisive role in modernizing and democratizing Vietnam. Let us work together, both Americans and Vietnamese-Americans, to build up a New Vietnam in de facto, in despite of and challenging the present communist dictators who only want to control and slow down the process of integration in Vietnam. Let us break the closed doors set up by the communist dictators and open Vietnam to the global community, expanding the present Vietnam both geographically and intellectually to the New World, to the new age, the Age of Knowledge. Let us create means and opportunities to help bring together the global Vietnamese community and the Vietnamese people inside Vietnam to create a New Vietnam as a part of the New World.

By doing so, we shall unite the Vietnamese people, both inside and outside the country, into one national block, strengthening them, economically and intellectually, so that they are able to separate themselves from the minority group of communist dictators, isolate it, despise and challenge its leadership. On international arena, as a block of all the Vietnamese people, and. in the name of justice and human dignity, we shall morally isolate this minority group of dictators from international community, and legally challenge its legality and legitimacy. All these being done, we shall push the present communist dictators to their final choice: either giving back to the people the overall powers --economic, cultural and political-- or disbanding in social chaos and violence. On our part, we should be ready for a non-communist solution for a free and new Vietnam, which we shall present to the international community and to democratic governments for their support. This is what I propose as our strategic agenda for the coming years in our common struggle for a New Vietnam. I strongly believe that the future belongs to us.

Doan Viet Hoat

Little Saigon, Oct. 6, 2000