General Vang Pao and Troops-1961
The Hmong are an Asian ethnic group (numbering an estimated 4+ million) from the mountainous regions of Southeast Asia. Over 60,000 Hmong soldiers (mostly from Laos) were recruited by the CIA to fight a "Secret War" against the Pathet Lao and other communists who were using Laos as a base to support the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War.
While the Americans set up secret military camps in Northern Laos, the Hmong were put in charge of attacking Communist supply lines (Ho Chi Minh Trail) and rescuing downed U.S. pilots. As the Americans began to "deescalate" the war and withdraw from Southeast Asia (roughly 1973), the Pathet Lao sought revenge on the Hmong who had worked with the CIA. It is estimated that over 100,000 were "purged" in these attacks on Hmong villages.
1975 Hmong Refugees in Minnesota
Thousands of Hmong fled to Thailand seeking political asylum...today, over 250,000 Hmong have settled in the United States...mostly in California and Minnesota (St. Paul has the largest Hmong community in the United States).
But unfortunately, thousands were unable to escape and an estimated 12,000+ remain in the mountains of Laos today, fighting for survival and hoping the United States will return to save them!
In 2011, deep in the jungles of Laos, an embattled Hmong man holding a CIA issued gun pleads...
"The Americans gave us weapons and told us to shoot the enemy...then they left us and we’ve been slowly dying here ever since…When the Lao Army kills one of our men, they feel as though they’ve killed an American in revenge for us helping them during the war...we are human beings, so why does the world turn a deaf ear and blind eye to us?"
Why has our government forgotten our persecuted allies and friends...these are "our veterans" too!!!
Va Chang, a 60 year old "Vietnam Veteran"...
“We want America to give us a place to live...we w ant America to give us food and medicine...if the Americans don’t want to do that they should drop a big bomb on us and end our misery.”
Hmong Vietnam War Memorial