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Maximiliano Herrera -The Editor
Open letter to the international community
As you are well aware, Thailand's elected government, under the leadership of Thaksin Shinawatra, was overthrown by a faction of military elites last September.
We, Thai people who love democracy, were embarrassed, frustrated and stunned as we had never expected that an obsolete coup d' tat would take place again in our country in the 21st century.
Thai people are currently living in desperation and under oppression by the military junta who has stripped us of our rights of speech, rights of access to information and the basic rights of human beings.
The putsch has not only set back our relatively deep-rooted democracy to nothing, but also destroyed our economic strength, which was built up by former elected governments.
The junta is trying to convince us that they would draft a new constitution and schedule a general election within a year. But we do not want the constitution handed to us by "a group of robbers in the disguise of army generals". We want our 1992 Constitution to be reinstated as it is widely accepted as the best one in Thailand's modern democratic history.
We believe that the junta-drafted constitution would only legitimize their political gain allowing for the continuation of their presence in Thai politics.
We seek military reform; a military that is akin to other civilized nations; a military without political influence.
Thai people historically are opposed to a dictatorship, we believe that another protest resulting in bloodshed is inevitable if the military declines to step down. Thai people will not tolerate a military regime over the long term.
We do not want to see history repeat itself, like the major popular uprising in 1973, 1976 and 1992, when thousands of unarmed civilians had to sacrifice their lives for the sake of democracy. In fact, the present military-appointed prime minister General Surayud Chulanont was the one who led a paramilitary troop to violently suppress protesters in the 1992 pro-democratic demonstration.
To seize administrative power from an elected government is a criminal act according to the Thailand's Criminal Law. We want to see those who have perpetrated this crime to be brought to justice so as to prevent this barbarous act from reoccurring in the future.
In the present era of globalization, political and economic instability in one country or one region does affect the region and thus the global community. Hence, it is time for the world community to act in unity in eliminating an unjustifiable coup d’tat.
We call on the world communities to condemn and impose possible measures to punish these dictators.
We call on the world communities to isolate the illegitimate government.
We call on the governments around the world to freeze diplomatic relations with the junta-installed government.
We call for an international forum wherein the political desparity of Thailand is addressed; wherein the Thai people are represented in a multi-lateral fashion.
The Alliance of Pro-democracy Movement
Dear friend, as a "farang" married to a Thai and living in Thailand, I can express my following impressions:
Obviously I share your disgust in dictatorship and human rights violations, as well as I am not sure that the junta will ceade all powers and return to its status before the coup.
There will be a general election soon, the junta will stand on its word of last September coup day, but I feel they want to retain a strong influence in the next democratic elected government.
The junta distrusts free trade as these news laws are full of obstacles for foreigners to invest in Thailand.
Thailand is not (fortunately) a country of cheap and exploited labour, so it needs to become a hub of business and trade.
The latest laws (some of them where promoted by previous government, others by the junta) are a big obstacle to this goal of being a hub of business in Asia.
But we also should admit that even under Taksin government democracy and free press had been deteriorated very seriously.
Taksin even tried to impose a full ban of the satellite TV (I cannot say the source of my information,...sorry) but cannot go on with that, fortunately.
Democracy under Taksin was becoming a show, a mascarade.
So I agree with you but we MUST SAY that Taksin is the one who start to destroy the democracy in Thailand. You cannot compare the degree of freedom of expression under the last 2 years of Taksin with under Chuan Leekpai government for example.
With Leekpai you can really feel Thailand was a full democratic country, despite corruption always exists.
I hope new elected government will be representative of the people of Thailand and serve its interests in trade,business and cooperation between Thailand and the rest of the world and put Thailand back on the rail of the other asian tigers like before.