Laotians Bristle at Plan to Erect Ho Chi Minh Statue in Vientiane

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Ho Chi Minh at a military base in Viet Bac, north of Hanoi, 1950.
Ho Chi Minh at a military base in Viet Bac, north of Hanoi, 1950.

Laos will erect a statue of former Vietnam president Ho Chi Minh in the Lao capital Vientiane to underscore cooperation between the two communist neighbors, officials said, angering many Laotians who say the project will undermine their nation’s sovereignty.

It will be the second monument to the communist revolutionary leader in Laos. The first one was set up several years ago in central Khammuan province’s Nong Bok district.

“I think it’s a good idea [to have a monument in the capital] because of the friendship [between Laos and Vietnam],” a Lao official told RFA’s Lao Service, saying it would reflect the increasing cooperation between the two countries.

“It has been a good relationship for years—a traditional relationship,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The plan to build the statue was announced as part of a package of joint projects agreed to during Lao Deputy Prime Minister Bunpon Buttanavong’s meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart Vu Van Ninh in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi last week, according to the official English-language Vietnam News daily.

“Both ministers highlighted the need to accelerate strategic co-operation projects, including the erection of a statue of President Ho Chi Minh in Vientiane to mark his 125th birthday and the 85th anniversary of the Indochinese Communist Party, as well as other celebrations next year,” the report said.

The ruling Vietnamese Communist Party is the successor to the Indochinese Communist Party, set up in 1930 as part of a bid to actively promote the communist movement in all of what was then known as French Indochina—including modern day Laos and Cambodia.

Vietnam News said that Ninh had pledged to support Laos in its five-year socioeconomic plan during the Oct. 6 meeting and had pushed for increased negotiations between the two nations, as well as the signing of a new trade deal aimed at raising bilateral trade to U.S. $2 billion by 2015.

Symbol of ‘interference’

But Laotians expressed concerns that placing a statue of Ho Chi Minh in the capital of Laos would suggest that the country is under the influence of Vietnam.

“I think it’s strange to erect a monument to Ho Chi Minh in Laos,” a Laotian said in an RFA call-in show recently.

“We are an independent country. If Lao leaders do this, it may indicate some deeper plan that [the citizens] don’t know about. In the future, this land may no longer belong to Laos.”

Another caller said that building a statue of Ho Chi Minh would symbolize Vietnamese “interference” in Lao affairs and might suggest “we are their colony.”

“There are many Lao heroes who have done many good things for the country during the revolutionary era who have been forgotten. What is the meaning of a Ho Chi Minh monument—that Laos depends on or is a part of Vietnam?” the caller asked, saying the government should reconsider the decision.

A third caller said that a statue of Ho Chi Minh in the capital was “unnecessary,” questioning what the former Vietnamese president had done for Laos to deserve such an honor.

“On the contrary, he pulled the people of Laos into the Vietnam war,” the caller said.

Ho Chi Minh’s influence

In 1954, following Vietnam’s independence from France, the Geneva Conference partitioned the country into the communist north and non-communist south.

On Ho Chi Minh’s orders, North Vietnam invaded Laos in 1959, aided by the communist Pathet Lao, and built invasion and supply routes through Laos known as the Ho Chi Minh trail, which allowed the North to send troops and aid to the Vietcong communist uprising in South Vietnam.

The strategy escalated the war in Vietnam and tipped its balance in the favor of the North, prompting the U.S. to send troops to the South and the bombardment of trail by the U.S. Air Force.

From 1964 to 1973, the U.S. dropped more than two million tons of ordnance on Laos aimed at preventing use of the Ho Chi Minh trail and to prevent the collapse of the country’s central government, the Royal Kingdom of Laos, making Laos the most heavily bombed country per capita in history.

Reported by Ounkeo Souksavanh for RFA’s Lao Service. Translated by Bounchanh Mouangkham. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.

Comments (31)


from Lao

Hi! Mrs pathet Lao let me talk toU ! U want to buy a luxuly

Aug 19, 2015 01:14 PM


from Lao

Listen! Every body gaving an Idea , can Lao have more than one party in Lao ,If yes can we are going to Lao and make one! Dont be scare and talk to Lao communist regims here we are to helping you run a government and punistment who they are corruption, UR going ---- I'm going OK .

Aug 19, 2015 01:47 PM


from La Cross< WI

I say to build Ho Chi Minh Statue in Vientiane is a totally wrong and violation of Lao people. Never one in the world that one nation will take other nation leader statue to build inside their country as Laos is doing now. I say shame on my Lao PDR leaders now.

Dec 02, 2014 11:54 PM

Anonymous Reader

- Again in about 1623 another Viet king gave his daughter to Khmer king for the exchange of Khmer land,now called Ho Chi Minh city or Saigon,but it used to be called Kampuchea Krom by Khmer people . That Khmer king also died after 6 years marriage with Vietnamese princess ( why Cham king and Khmer king died so soon after marriage with Vietnamese ??? Were they poisoned or how ? )
- Laos today is owned by Vietnam because of the relation with Vietnam,possibly the same Vietnam strategy ?
- Again today Khmer prime minister , Hun Sen also married Vietnamese, former Khmer prime minister, Pen Sovann also married Vietnamese and more Khmer leaders married Vietnamese,that's why Vietnam controlling Cambodia today...
Vietnam, the deceptive and manipulative neighbor !

Nov 13, 2014 06:23 AM

Anonymous Reader

Vietnam is the most deceptive and manipulative nation in Asia.Beside straight invasion,Vietnam has used women to steal land from its neighboring countries again and again for centuries .1301, the Emperor's father, Tran Nhan Tong, visited the Champa kingdom and was given a lavish royal welcome by King Jaya Sinhavarman III. The visit lasted nine months. When Tran Nhan Tông left Champa for Đại Viet (the name of Vietnam at the time), he promised to give his daughter in marriage to king Jaya Sinhavarman III even though the Cham king was already married and that Cham queen was a Javanese named Tapasi. Jaya Sinhavarman III thereafter sent many envoys to Đại Viet to urge the Tren King to carry out the marriage plan as Tran Nhan Tong had promised but the Emperor refused. Among the Emperor's men, only General Van Tuc Dao Thai and Minister Tran Khac Chung supported the marriage. In 1306 Jaya Sinhavarman III offered to cede the two Cham provinces of Chau O and Chau Ly as a dowry and Tran Anh Tong finally agreed to give his sister in marriage to the Cham king. Princess Huyen Tran went to Champa but a year later, in May 1307, Jaya Sinhavarman III died and the crown prince sent an ambassador to Đại Viet to offer white elephants as gifts and announced the death of his king ( WE SHOULD KNOW WHY HE DIED SO SOON AFTER THE MARRIAGE ?? ). King Tran Anh Tong ordered a general named Tran Khac Chung to go to Champa to officially attend the funeral but the real mission was for Tran Khac Chung to take Huyen Tran back to Dại Viet by boat. The trip back took a year. Legends had it that Tran Khac Chung fell in love with Princess Huyen Tran and the two disappeared from sight together.

Nov 13, 2014 06:21 AM


from Long Beach

NO! Lao people will NEVER accept statue of "Bakk Ho" in the middle of Vientiane!
If the statue is built then Lao people will come break it up with hammers and tools and break the foundation into little pieces of dust. The problem will be where to dispose of it. It should not be in the Mekong river because it will pollute the river. It should not be in Laos either. The best option would be to send the remains back to Vietnam for the Vietcong to see and KNOW Laos will NEVER be a colony of Vietnam as long as Lao people continually rebel.

Nov 01, 2014 01:58 PM

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