|Community members listen to Kem Sokha's speech|
|Community members listen to Kem Sokha speech|
Minnesota is known as a liberal democrat state in the US, but most Cambodian Americans, who have settled here over two decades, are more political and social conservative on the issues relating to their homeland. In 1980s and early 1990s, the state was a stronghold of Son Sann Party' s supporters and anti-monarchy and Communist. Then after the 1993's UN sponsored election, the political trend shifted to support Sam Rainsy Party and now predominantly favor for CNRP, a party which at least shows a potential strength to beat a pro-Hanoi CPP if an election is free and fair. When Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha visited the state previously, the people here insisted the two parties--Sam Rainsy and Human Right Party-- must put aside all differences and merge together in order to save the nation. After the 2012 commune election, the two parties showed no substantial gain and the Sam Rainsy Party lost a few commune chief seats back, then a notion of unity among all Khmer democrats and nationalists became realistic. On April 7, 2013, only four months away from the general election, the Cambodian National Rescue Party was created to challenge the pro-Hanoi, CPP which has been installed by Vietnam in 1979 to rule Cambodia until today.
Now when Kem Sokha visited MN again, he thanked all the people here who helped to forge him and Sam Rainsy to work together to win the election but was rigged by Hun Sen again.
After flying directly from Chicago to attend the three events on Sunday, Kem Sokha and Yim Sovann looked a bid tired, but they were in high spirit and confident moods, walking around to greet more than three hundreds people who had been waiting to hear new political development from them as currently the CNRP's strategy is to put pressure on the CPP to agree on a thorough electoral reform following with a fresh election. If these two key demands are not met, they will continue parliament boycott and call for a mass protest again as echoing by Sam Rainsy in the past few days. During his speech, Kem Sokha said, " When Hun Sen refuses to create an independent inquiry on an alleged election fraud means he is a thief, and now again if he still reject to conduct a new election means he lost, and then he must resign." His speech was frequently interrupted with applause from listeners to express their support and enthusiasm.
During their trip in MN, Kem Sokha and Yim Sovann raised more than $10,000 after attending three separate events-- Morning in Nazareth Church, afternoon at Wat Munisotaram, and at evening at East View High School for New year celebration with the community members. And on Monday they met with the MN state senators and representatives before continuing their trip to Washington State on Tuesday April 8. The donation and warm welcome for both of them here reflected the will of the people in MN who always care about their homeland and want the current evil regime changed. The Cambodian people here are conservatives and nationalists; they have seen the current regime in Cambodia as merely a proxy power of Hanoi which continuously tries all its means to swallow Cambodian land--through military invasions, illegal settlements, and land concession. To express their anger toward Hun Sen's regime, unlike Jacksonville, Florida, Cambodian Americans in MN successfully thwarted Monk Tep Vong--a pro-Hanoi head monk in Cambodia from attending the temple inauguration here in 2007. Also, different from Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and California where the CPP has an opportunity to open its branches and networks operating there, but in MN they may not dare to openly organize their networks here since most people are not interested to support them in destroying their own nation.
Kem Sokha and Yim Sovann's trip in MN is the first highest level trip from the CNRP since its inception one year ago. Their visit here not only to raise fund for the party but to reassure the people here about the CNRP's policy and commitment to bring down the current dictatorial and perverted regime from the power through peaceful means in order to rescue the country from a verge of destruction and extinction. And the overwhelm numbers of the people here strongly support the CNRP's current strategy and engagement with the CPP in searching a possible political settlement that guarantees full interest of the people, bringing true independence, democracy, and justice for all Cambodian people through all kinds of peaceful means-- the only mean that the CNRP gains upper hands by forcing the CPP to conduct a new free and fair election.