Press Conference on Burma
Cyclone Nargis swept through Burma.
The storm affected more than two million people, and according to
the Burmese media, killed thousands. The aftermath has left cities
paralyzed, families separated and houses and businesses destroyed."
"Americans are a compassionate people and we're already acting to
provide help. The U.S. has offered financial assistance through our
embassy. We'll work with the U.N. and other international
non-governmental organizations to provide water, sanitation, food
and shelter. More assistance will be forthcoming."
"Although they were aware of
the threat, Burma's state-run media failed to issue a timely warning
to citizens in the storm's path...The
response to the cyclone is just the most recent example of the
junta's failure to meet its people's basic needs. The regime has
dismantled systems of agriculture, education and health care. This
once wealthy nation now has the lowest per capita GDP in Southeast
"As far as we can tell
Burma's military leaders plan to move forward with the
constitutional referendum scheduled for this Saturday, May 10th.
They've orchestrated this vote to give false legitimacy to their
continued rule. The proposed constitution was drafted in a flawed
process that excluded opposition and some key ethnic groups."
"The constitution would
prohibit democracy activists who are current or former political
prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, from taking
office. To ensure their constitution becomes law, the regime has
been intimidating voters and using force against dissidents. Public
gatherings have been banned and printed materials may not be
distributed without governmental approval."
Text, Audio, Video of Address