Friday, April 4, 2008

An open welcoming letter
to the new Ambassador
of the United States to Vietnam

Vietnam, August 16, 2007

His Excellency Michael W. Michalak
Ambassador of the United Sates of America to Vietnam
Hanoi, Vietnam

Dear Mr. Ambassador:

We the undersigned are the interim representatives of Bloc 8406, who represent tens of thousands of those who have signed the Manifesto on Freedom & Democracy for Vietnam, released on April 8, 2006, to openly confront the Communist dictatorship in a non-violent struggle for a democratic, free, and pluralistic Vietnam.

We know that you have received the credentials vested upon you by President George W. Bush to represent your country in Vietnam, replacing former Ambassador Michael Marine.

We also know that you have met on August 10 a number of our compatriots in Washington, D.C. You indicated at this meeting that when you assume your position in Vietnam, you shall focus your attention on the issues of human rights, economic development, as well as education in Vietnam. We believe that these are the real issues currently facing our country. They are inter-related since there is a serious lack of respect for human rights and the Vietnamese people have lost all freedoms and are thereby unable to contribute fully to the economic development of the country. This, in turn, results in a stagnated and backward education system.

With the democratic tradition of the United States, a country widely known throughout the world as land of the free, home of the brave, we hope that you will be able to contribute -- in a speedy, resolute, and effective way -- the return of democracy and freedom to Vietnam. We also hope that you will provide strong support to the democracy advocates in Vietnam who are bravely fighting for democracy and freedom for the whole Vietnamese people.

With our best wishes for a successful mission, we remain,

Yours sincerely,

Interim representatives of Bloc 8406:

Do Nam Hai, engineer, Saigon
Tran Anh Kim, former officer of the Vietnamese Armed Forces
PhanVan Loi, Catholic priest, Hue
Nguyen Xuan Nghia, writer, Hai Phong