‘Fireflies’ and ‘Ghosts’ in Cambodia Prop Up Facade of Real Election

Technically, Cambodia isn’t a one-party state. But Prime Minister Hun Sen’s party is the only one most voters in the July 29 vote will have heard of.

Comments: 3

  1. So, tell me, how is this situation different from the one here in the U.S.? There, nobody knows of any other opposition outside of the one ruling party. Here, it's two instead. Corporate Republicans and Corporate Democrats. Others...Bernie Sanders, Green Party...media and establishment don't pay a hoot. Nobody ever knows anything else. One-party dictatorship vs. two-party.

  2. Excellent reporting by Julia Wallace, thank you.
    She wrote: "The leaders of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, or C.N.R.P., have been jailed or driven into exile, and lower-ranking members were harassed into joining Mr. Hun Sen’s party or getting out of politics. Mr. Hun Sen has also overseen a crackdown on the press.

    The United States and the European Union, which have helped fund past Cambodian elections, refused this year, saying that the vote will not be credible."

    What a sorry picture, and a sorry mess. Unfortunately, the United States contributed to this mess, in ways that I am not qualified to list, but include our bombing of the country, and probably assassinating its leaders, even their good ones, just because they were communist. Is there a good book to cover the modern devastation of this once proud and vibrant country?

    David Lindsay Jr. is the author of "The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam," and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNewsWorldwide.wordpress.com

  3. When I was in Cambodia this past December I saw those political banners of the 'Cambodian People's Party' all over the country like wild weeds in lawns. I ask myself why even place banners when technically there is no real opposition? The country is very corrupt. The one good thing about Cambodia is they use U.S. currency in transactions without having to change dollars. The ATM will give you a choice to withdraw U.S. currency. Someone from my group withdrew $500 but all five $100 bills were fake. He was told he would have to come into the bank to bring the counterfeit money.

    Corruption is endemic. I notice that some vehicles have no license plates. I learned that if you have enough money to pay you can pay an upfront fee so you don't need license plates on your vehicle. That got my imagination running wild with the types of crimes one can commit in the dark of night. Before I left I got my visa online for $35. I read comments on Tripadvisor that immigration often tries to shake people won for as much as $100 to pay for a visa to enter the country. So to avoid that experience I came prepared. Leaving at the land border the immigration officer is behind a heavily tinted or maybe opaque is a better word. I could not see him. Arriving and leaving we all had to have our fingerprints taken digitally. I'm not sure what an exit fingerprint would do if someone is a criminal who is leaving the country.