Santa Ana to discourage official visits from Vietnam

Posted on February 22, 2013

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Resolution has no expiration date, but city says it could rethink stance if country improves human-rights record.

Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido on Tuesday signs a resolution discouraging official visits from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to the city of Santa Ana. KEVIN LARA, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido on Tuesday signs a resolution discouraging official visits from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to the city of Santa Ana.
KEVIN LARA, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

SANTA ANA – With ceremony and a promise of solidarity with the Vietnamese American community, the City Council adopted a resolution seeking to discourage official visits from communist Vietnam.

“What this resolution is intended to do is to send a message to those who are adverse to freedom,” said Councilman Vincent F. Sarmiento, noting, as the resolution does, that Little Saigon has its roots in Santa Ana. “We want to stand against countries that violate human rights of their citizens.”

Members of Orange County's Vietnamese community packed Santa Ana council chambers in November to show their support for a resolution that would seek to discourage official visits from communist Vietnam. FILE PHOTO: RON GONZALES, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Members of Orange County’s Vietnamese community packed Santa Ana council chambers in November to show their support for a resolution that would seek to discourage official visits from communist Vietnam.
FILE PHOTO: RON GONZALES, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Mayor Miguel Pulido invited council members, following a 6-0 vote on Tuesday, to gather in front of their chamber to sign the resolution, which went into effect with their signatures.

As they did so, representatives of the Vietnamese community, ranging from youth to the elderly, gathered around to witness the event.

“This resolution really shows that Santa Ana stands behind promoting social justice,” said Councilwoman Angelica Amezcua.

Under terms of the measure, the city is on record in discouraging official government visits from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to Santa Ana.

Vietnamese officials will be required to alert the chief of police at least 14 days before a visit. The city asserted its right to charge any entity that initiates official visits for any costs that Santa Ana might incur. It has no expiration date, but said that Santa Ana would discourage official visits until the State Department or international organizations find that the country has improved its human rights record.

Both Westminster and Garden Grove in 2004 adopted resolutions seeking to discourage official visits from Vietnam, but both measures expired in 2009.

A Vietnamese American resident of Santa Ana holds a South Vietnam flag during a City Council meeting Tuesday evening. Members of the Vietnamese community, many of whom had escaped communist Vietnam and settled in the United States, spoke out in favor of a resolution that would discourage official visits from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. KEVIN LARA, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

A Vietnamese American resident of Santa Ana holds a South Vietnam flag during a City Council meeting Tuesday evening. Members of the Vietnamese community, many of whom had escaped communist Vietnam and settled in the United States, spoke out in favor of a resolution that would discourage official visits from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
KEVIN LARA, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

After hearing concerns from the Vietnamese community, the Santa Ana City Council in November directed staff to prepare a resolution modeled on Westminster’s 2004 measure, seeking notice of official visits to allow time for police to prepare.

Soon after, the city councils of Garden Grove and Westminster approved new resolutions seeking to discourage official visits. Garden Grove’s mandates a 14-day notice from visiting delegations, while Westminster seeks a 10-day notification from the State Department. Like Santa Ana’s, the Garden Grove and Westminster resolutions have no set expiration date.

The cities approved the resolutions to diminish any risk to the public of an official visit. Mass demonstrations erupted in Little Saigon in 1999 when a video store owner displayed a flag of communist Vietnam and a picture of Ho Chi Minh.

The consul general of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in San Francisco has said that such resolutions have no impact on Vietnamese delegations and are not enforceable. The two countries resumed diplomatic relations in 1995 and visits are coordinated with the State Department, not local agencies, said Consul General Hung Ba Nguyen.

Tiuyen Lenguyen, right, who was held in a Vietnamese re-education prison camp for 11 years and released as a prisoner from Vietnam in 1986, shakes hands with Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido after a resolution was signed Tuesday to discourage official visits from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.KEVIN LARA, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Tiuyen Lenguyen, right, who was held in a Vietnamese re-education prison camp for 11 years and released as a prisoner from Vietnam in 1986, shakes hands with Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido after a resolution was signed Tuesday to discourage official visits from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
KEVIN LARA, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Absent from the meeting was Councilman Sal Tinajero.

Contact the writer: 714-796-6999 or rgonzales@ocregister.com

O.C. Register

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