|Volume 9, Issue 4||Fall 1999|
Governor George H. Ryan at the University of Havana
"All of us have been impressed with Cuba. This island has often been called the `Pearl of the Caribbean.' That's very appropriate.
But for any pearl to reach its full value, it must be pried from its shell and held up to the world. So it is with Cuba. Establishing ties between Cuba and Illinois that allow for cultural, economic, athletic and humanitarian exchanges will help pry Cuba from its shell. As do many others in the United States, I believe that the current economic embargo against Cuba has not advanced cooperation or understanding between our two peoples. If anything, it has pushed us apart.
Yet, although I disagree with this policy, it is not up to me alone to change this policy. I believe that it's important that this debate over US relations with Cuba continue. It's important for two reasons. It's important because these discussions may one day lead to fundamental changes in US policy toward Cuba. And it's important that these discussions continue in the United States because a debate like this keeps the principles of freedom and democracy alive and strong - not just in my country, but in any country that respects individual liberties."
Vietnam Suffers Worst Flooding in a Century
Cambodia also experiences disastrous floodsby Amanda B. Hickman
Rainy season floods in Vietnam reached proportions not seen in at least a century, though you wouldn't know it from the minimal attention given to the catastrophe by the US media. By mid-November, the death toll was approaching 550 people, and much of central Vietnam's seven million residents face severe food shortages and illness in the months to come. A million homes had been damaged or destroyed and Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem reported that at least 900,000 people in Hue were homeless as a result of the rising river.
According to reports from the Mine Action Program (MAP), the Hue City region saw the most damage. The northern half of the city was submerged, including more than 200,000 homes, many of whose occupants were stranded on their rooftops, while local officials did not have the resources to conduct a systematic rescue operation. Overland travel into and out of the city was impossible, and food supplies dwindled fast, though at least one relief helicopter was able to land.
According to some reports, one entire commune was swept into the ocean by floodwaters, and the official death toll as of mid-November stood at 123 in Hue alone. All phone communication was cut off for several days.
Northern Vietnam was essentially cut off from the south, as Highway 1 sustained substantial damage and the rail lines may not be completely repaired until February.
In this issue ...
Agent Orange Update
Debt Relief and the Economic Crisis
Vietnam Women's Union Hosts Energy Training
What Happened to the Trade Agreement
The Legacy of the Khmer Rouge
Conference Report III