This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available. S E C R E T RANGOON 000316
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/14/2014
SUBJECT: MANDALAY NLD COFFERS EMPTY, USDA STRIVING TO
CREATE "NLD-FREE" VILLAGES
Classified By: Classified by COM, Carmen Martinez - Reason 1.4 (b)
1. (C) Emboffs met March 8 in Mandalay with members of the
National League for Democracy's Mandalay Division executive
committee. In a wide-ranging discussion, the NLD leaders
updated us on harassment party members receive from police
and the Union Solidarity Development Association (USDA), the
regime's mass membership organization. As the USDA often
provides purposefully misleading, negative information to the
police and others regarding NLD activities, "things are worse
than before," according the NLD leaders.
2. (S) The Mandalay NLD leadership includes two individuals
who were with Aung San Suu Kyi's convoy when it was attacked
on May 30, 2003. One of the two has regained nearly full use
of her arms and hands after suffering multiple fractures
during the assault by USDA thugs on the convoy. Emboffs
could not help but note the massive scaring and physical
distortions that remain. When we asked who they thought was
responsible for directing the May 30, 2003 attack on the NLD
convoy, the Mandalay NLD was unanimous in naming General Soe
Win, subsequently promoted by the regime to prime minister.
3. (C) The NLD executives said the USDA is seeking to create
"NLD-free villages" to help the regime sweep the expected
upcoming constitutional referendum. The well-funded USDA
offers consumer products like soap and blankets to villages
that have no registered NLD members. The Mandalay NLD, in
contrast, gets no financial help from the cash-strapped NLD
national HQ in Rangoon. To support the party's meager health
care, education, prisoner support, and other social welfare
programs in Mandalay Division, a province larger in size than
Maryland and with a population of over 6.4 million, the NLD
last year spent about $550, all raised locally. In addition,
the NLD has struggled to pay rent on the party's padlocked
office building since it was ordered closed by the GOB in
2003; the NLD will let the lease lapse in May. That the
party's fortunes have fallen so low in Mandalay Division, a
province in which the NLD won 55 out of 56 seats in the 1990
elections, is shocking and indicates the need for friends of
Burma's pro-democracy movement to move quickly to provide
financial and other assistance to the beleaguered NLD.
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