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U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union speech before members of Congress in Washington, DC. in January. AFP
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union speech before members of Congress in Washington, DC. in January. AFP

US congressmen begin Kingdom-centric caucus

Two US congressmen are pushing to bring together lawmakers interested in “Cambodia’s difficult political situation” and the overall relationship between both countries through the creation of a bipartisan congressional Cambodia caucus.

Behind the effort are US Representative Alan Lowenthal – a California Democrat who represents Long Beach, home to a large Cambodian community – and Representative Steve Chabot, a Republican from Ohio, according to a statement released on Monday.

The group recently met with US Ambassador to Cambodia William Heidt, who gave an update on the current situation in the Kingdom, particularly on the request for the government to respect its citizens’ democratic freedoms and freedom of speech, the statement says.

Heidt, who wasn’t available yesterday, reportedly told the caucus about the need for progress on democratic and judicial reforms.

Lowenthal and Chabot couldn’t be reached as of press time, but Chabot in the statement said the caucus “will be a tremendous help to the Cambodian people as they work to fulfill their dream of establishing a strong and healthy democracy”.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan yesterday said Cambodia welcomed the new caucus. However, he added, both countries are “completely different”, and American views on democracy may not fit the Cambodian context “because it’s a different culture”.

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Don Rennie's picture

Dear Yesenia,

Government spokesman Phay Siphan yesterday said Cambodia welcomed the new caucus. However, he added, both countries are “completely different”, and American views on democracy may not fit the Cambodian context “because it’s a different culture”.

Obviously, Mr. Phay is narrow minded and lacks the education and experience to understand the ideals, values, and principles of democracy.

Listen. Democracy is never about culture. Democracy is about liberty, freedom to speak freely without punishment, and fair justice through the rule of law.

Cambodia seems to be managed more by children than by adults when it comes to explaining culture. Children do not understand the difference between right and wrong. Adults should know the difference.

DR

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