November 5, 2006
The President of the United States plans to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, which will draw leaders from 21 countries and thousands of business executives from around the world. The event will be held in Hanoi during November 17-19, 2006.
Because the Government of Vietnam wants to open its economy to more trade and more free market ideas, the nation's leaders have been bending over backward to show that they are increasingly enlightened, fair and open.
But since Vietnam's Communists control the media, it is often difficult to find out the truth about what is going on inside Vietnam.
Mrs. Foshee, a U.S. citizen, was taken into custody by the Communists in Vietnam on September 8, 2005. She was held without a lawyer and was denied medical treatment. And she was not charged with any crime.
Pressure from the U.S. and the media has made the Vietnamese government see that difficult situations such as Mrs. Foshee's do not enhance the reputation of a nation eager for more trade.
We know that recently Mrs. Foshee saw a dentist and that she was charged on November 1, 2006, with crimes against the government of Vietnam.
Mrs. Foshee belongs to an organization favoring a new, democratic government in Vietnam. The government of Vietnam has opportunistically claimed that Mrs. Foshee is a terrorist: hoping that in the heat of the war against terror the United States might look the other way at the apparent lack of justice in Vietnam's legal system.
But Mrs. Foshee is a 58 year old American citizen and a landscaper from Orlando, Florida. She doesn't look much like a terrorist.
Tuesday, November 7, 2006, Mrs. Foshee will, for the first time, meet her lawyer. On Friday we are told that Mrs. Foshee will have a hearing or "trial" in a Vietnamese court room.
Now is the time for all people who believe in peace, freedom and justice to pray hard. This is the time to say a Novena if you are Catholic or to light an incense stick if you are Buddhist. This might be the time to petition your ancestors if you worship ancestors.
Now is also the time for the Communist Government of Vietnam to shed its legacy of human rights abuses.
We believe Mrs. Foshee will be home soon. But her incarceration has highlighted the fact that Vietnam still has a way to go before it is respected by members of the human rights community.