|04RANGOON678||2004-05-27 07:15:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Rangoon|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 RANGOON 000678
1. (C) Summary: The NLD on May 27 marked 14 years since the
party's stunning victory in the 1990 general elections. At a
somber event at party headquarters, attended by several
hundred members and supporters, the NLD demanded that the
results of the 1990 elections be implemented without delay.
Despite the party's remarkable patience and persistence,
however, the resolve of the military regime to retain full
power remains undaunted. End Summary.
2. (U) The National League for Democracy (NLD) held a somber
commemorative event on May 27 at party headquarters in
Rangoon to mark the 14th anniversary of the 1990 general
elections, won overwhelmingly by the NLD, but the results of
which have never been recognized by the military regime.
Several hundred party members and supporters attended the
function, as did a dozen diplomats including COM, British
Ambassador, UNDP resident representative, and officers from
the Embassies of Japan, Germany, France, Italy, and
Australia. Absent, of course, were NLD Vice Chairman U Tin
Oo and General Secretary Aung San Suu Kyi who remain under
3. (U) NLD Chairman U Aung Shwe delivered a statement in
which the NLD demanded that the results of the 1990 elections
be implemented without delay, declaring that "the country's
political, economic, and social crises can only be solved by
calling the Pyithu Hluttaw (Parliament) composed of members
elected and mandated by the people."
4. (U) U Aung Shwe and other NLD speakers avoided direct
reference to the SPDC's ongoing constitutional Convention,
which the vast majority of Members-elect of Parliament,
including NLD and other pro-democracy party members, are
boycotting. However, the NLD Chairman made several pointed
swipes at the regime's road map process, quoting sundry SPDC
leaders, including Prime Minister General Khin Nyunt, who
have over the years made unambiguous promises to allow an
elected body of delegates draw up a new constitution.
5. (SBU) Several leaders of ethnic parties affiliated with
the NLD delivered statements of support, calling for the
release of ASSK and U Tin Oo and a political dialogue (the
Kaman NLD even boldly declared the National Convention
"illegitimate.") However, noticeably absent from the
function was Hkun Htun Oo, leader of Burma's leading ethnic
opposition party, the SNLD. Hkun Htun Oo is also chairman of
the multi-ethnic, pro-democracy political coalition, the
United Nationalities Alliance (UNA). The regime has in
recent days made veiled threats toward the UNA, emphasizing
that the coalition is not registered (and is therefore
illegal) and that most of its member parties are barred from
6. (C) As a backdrop to the NLD's commemorative event, the
military regime continues to flood state-run media with
coverage of the National Convention, extolling the "progress"
achieved by its hand-picked delegates in drafting a new
constitution. According to sources who have had clandestine
contact with sequestered delegates, regime authorities have
blocked almost all participants from leaving the remote
Convention site. Over the weekend of May 22-23, during a
lull in scheduled events, numerous delegates unsuccessfully
sought permission to leave in order to attend to personal and
business matters. However, the expansive USDA training
center is heavily guarded and the authorities have
essentially responded "With karaoke rooms, a golf course, a
beauty shop, and a hospital, you have all you need right here
on the premises."
7. (C) Comment: For some in the NLD it seems impossible that
14 years have passed since their stunning victory at the
polls in 1990. The cruel reality that the SPDC has blocked
party members from assuming their rightful role as leaders of
a freely elected Parliament has not, however, undercut the
party's drive to press for democracy and national
reconciliation. Patience and persistence, however, have done
little to chip away at the resolve of the military regime to
retain full power. End Comment.