Gary Lane

CBN News Senior International Reporter

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Myanmar Moving Forward?

The Obama administration and some members of Congress are praising the Myanmar government’s release of political prisoners “as further indication of progress and commitment.” Secretary of State Clinton described the occasion as a “momentous day” for the people of Burma.

So how much progress has the military regime actually made by releasing a total of 651 political prisoners? Yes, families are glad to see their loved ones after all these years (some have been held since the political uprising in 1988). But did you know that the sentences of most of those released were suspended, not fully pardoned?

Their crimes still remain on the books and they can be re-arrested and imprisoned at any time. Their actions and speech will be monitored closely by secret police.

Also, did you know that more political prisoners remain incarcerated now (estimated at about 1,000) than were imprisoned five years ago at this time?

Progress? Yes. A step forward? No.

Many Burmese doubt the sincerity of this regime because they’ve seen this before—a few positive actions that resemble progress toward democracy, and then the hammer falls like it did against the Buddhist monks when they rallied in 2007.

Some Burmese think the United States may be moving a bit too fast by normalizing relations. An exchange of ambassadors will happen soon and a U.S. business delegation is expected to visit next month.

Will President Obama or Congress put the brakes on the rush to normalize and then lift sanctions? Congress seems to be on board with the president. There's a lot of money to be made in Burma.

The following video includes comments made by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell during his meeting Monday with Nobel Peace Prize winner, pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Print     Email to a Friend    posted on Tuesday, January 17, 2012 5:18 PM

Comments on this post

# RE: Myanmar Moving Forward? Myanmar 'christian' now or did they just release 651 'jihadists' into the mainstream there? Progress as seen in the eyes of secularism doesn't account for much anymore....and that is because of Jihad. If you really want progress then make 'shariah' law illegal.
Left by punkinman on Jan 18, 2012 12:32 PM

# RE: Myanmar Moving Forward?

Myanmar is overwhelmingly Buddhist, not Muslim. Formerly, Burma, this country has been persecuting Christians for a long time. Our first American missionary, Adoniram Judson, nearly died in prison there.
Left by Cheryl Ford on Jan 18, 2012 5:45 PM

# RE: Myanmar Moving Forward?

Time to take it slow and see if progress is really being made or is this just for show? I would press for all political prisoners to be released. Then I would call it progress
Left by KellieC on Jan 19, 2012 7:47 PM

# RE: Myanmar Moving Forward?

Europe seals new Greek bailout but doubts remain. The new package to Greece will cost Greece more repayments overall. I keep on paying the bank keeps this as the interest and the main sum is still aside waiting for the bank to knock my door, want and is "accident prone" in coming years. More? It came and went in a flash, a number on a board for seconds at a time, but it’s symbolic power couldn't be dismissed. The Dow Jones industrial average, powered higher all year by optimism that the economic recovery is finally for real, crossed 13,000 the first time since May 2008. The rise in oil follows an announceme¬nt by Iran over the weekend that it will stop selling oil to Britain and France in retaliatio¬n for as planned European oil embargo this summer. Iran will cut off more oil to Europe at $106.25 per barrel on the New York Mercantile , “"They're trying to keep the market hyped up,"“we are exporting more oil than we import according to the GAO and the President, so what is the issue her
Left by Mullar on Feb 21, 2012 6:24 PM