Gantry 5


Burma: A Military coup to protect their economic and political interests

N°11-01/03/2021 On February 1, the Burmese military seized power in Burma, overthrowing leader Aung San Suu Kyi under the pretext of contesting the results of the legislative elections which took place in November 2020.

The partial loss¹ of power by the army caused this coup and prompted General Min Aung Hlaing to declare a state of emergency for one year. This led to brutal consequences on the freedoms of the Myanmar people, internet access has been drastically reduced and access to social networks such as Twitter, Instagram or Facebook is almost banned.
Since last Saturday, many massive gatherings have taken place across the country. Facebook's “Civil Disobedience Movement” had some 150,000 subscribers as of February 3. This movement spread to the whole of Burma or Myanmar (its new name), with immense demonstrations of a scale never equaled since 2007 and the “Saffron Revolution” during which dozens of demonstrators were killed by the military. Tens of thousands of Burmese are taking to the streets to challenge the coup.
In this 90% Buddhist country, protesters received the support of monks, an indicator of the scale of the movement. Many families display red stickers on their windows in support of the party of the former leader, ousted by the coup.
Our party strongly condemns the coup in Myanmar led by the country's armed forces.
In Burma: the military is in business.
General Min Aung Hlaing's putsch is motivated by his economic interests; he runs in the shadows two of the largest conglomerates in the country, Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) and Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited (MEHL), two sprawling groups whose activities extend to almost all sectors: port areas, jade and ruby mines, real estate, construction ...Areas that depend in particular on the political decisions of the government in terms of taxes, authorizations, licenses, etc…
In return, these two companies provide funds to the military. A family affair, his son and daughter also run huge and lucrative businesses.
Companies that have built their fortunes through corruption, Burma is ranked among the most corrupt countries, 140th out of 180!
The general will be 65 in July, the mandatory retirement age in the Burmese army. Vulnerable to investigations into corruption in his country, he is also targeted by US sanctions. The Hague tribunal has initiated investigations into his responsibility for the war crimes committed against the Rohingya minority. To maintain his immunity, the general had made no secret of his political ambitions for some time, having even declared in October: "The priority is that the elections (of November 2020) are held successfully. Then, if the confidence is there, we may consider entering politics. "
Min Aung Hlaing has never hidden it: "The Tatmadaw (the Burmese armed forces) must play a leading role in national politics." The disastrous results of the legislative elections in November deprived him of this way out.
Min Aung Hlaing's career took off in 2007, when he was given command of operations on the eastern border to suppress the "saffron revolution" against rising fuel prices. In 2009, he oversaw the offensive against the insurgent army of the Myanmar Democratic Alliance of Nationalities. In 2011, Min Aung Hlaing was propelled to the head of the powerful Burmese army. In 2015 when Madame Aung San Suu Kyi came to power he showed her that the army still held the keys to the country and cracked down on the Rohingya Muslims. Rohingyas. (voir article sur le site)
In 2019, a United Nations report linked the economic interests of the Burmese military to the Rohingya genocide.
International multinationals that have interests in Burma and deal with military conglomerates like the two Japanese giants, Suzuki (automobile) and Kirin (beer) have announced that they are going to pull out of their partnership.
French companies, Accor, Lafarge, Bouygues, ... have significant interests in the country; Total declares that it "assesses the impact of the coup on its activities", profits first!
A strategic outlet for China, Burma attracts Asian investors.
In mid-January, Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs recalled how the Chinese authorities were strongly interested in seeing their projects move forward, whatever the Burma context: "The military absolutely want to protect their economic and political interests" he declared.
Like Pakistan, Burma is strategic for Beijing². China wants to create an economic corridor, the “China Myanmar Economic Corridor”, described as "top priority" by Xi Jinping, an important part of the "new silk roads", this gigantic international investment program launched in 2013.
China intends to position itself as the main partner of this country which is also bordering India, and it also means to build infrastructure there that will allow it to be directly connected to the Indian Ocean by bypassing the Strait of Malacca for its imports of hydrocarbons in particular. On January 17 and 18, Xi Jinping met Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint, but also the head of the Burmese army, General Min Aung Hlaing for infrastructure or cooperation projects, in particular flagship investments: the construction of a railway connecting the north to the center of Burma, or that of the deep-water port of Kyaukphyu, located in the state of Arakan, in West Burma, where, since August 2017, have been committed crimes against the Rohingyas and where there are also clashes between the Burmese army and a local rebellion.
Besides the Chinese, Singapore, South Korea, the Thais and also India are investing in Myanmar.
While Burma only ranks 19th among the Asia-Pacific economies, (69th worldwide), everyone wants to benefit from its abundant raw materials (semi-precious stones, copper, gold, oil, gas). In addition, with 27% of the population under the age of fourteen, investors can count on a plentiful future workforce.
The population can expect a toughening of the crackdown in the coming days.
We express our internationalist solidarity with the suffering people of Myanmar, and we demand the full, immediate and unconditional release of the imprisoned political leaders, the withdrawal of the state of emergency, the curfew and of all the orders established by the coup. The solution will not come from Aung San Suu Kyi's party which has long sought pacts with the army and is complicit in the Rohinga genocide. The mobilization of workers and youth in the streets constitutes a response to the junta which is taking power.
In Yangon, the economic capital of the country, medical staff from the general hospital gathered in protest and raised three fingers in the image of protesters in Hong Kong and Thailand. As for the students, according to AFP nearly 3,000 demonstrators paraded near the universities with masks, scarves and red bracelets. They are joined by lawyers and officials from several ministries in the Burmese capital: Naypyidaw.
But above all, this weekend is marked by the arrival in the movement of factory workers, textile and transport sectors partly composed of young and precarious workers and monks, which is a first in 14 years. The call for a general strike is spreading to all major cities in the country. In Yangon, 100,000 people gathered in front of the town hall, where a very large riot police system was deployed. In Kawthaung, the southernmost city of the country, demonstrators chant "down with the dictatorship! ". AFP reports strong repression with the use of water cannons. Around Myawaddy, a border town with Thailand, clashes took place Sunday, the police fired at the demonstrators with rubber bullets.
Our Party supports the struggle for the right of the people of Myanmar and of all peoples of the world to freely decide and self-determine their present and their future.
The only way is to fight capitalism and break down this system which generates conflicts and leads humanity to catastrophe, and build socialism, a new society to ensure the satisfaction of everyone's needs, the development of society, world peace, cooperation between peoples.

¹ In the Burmese Constitution, the army automatically retains control of three major ministries Interior, Defense and Borders, as well as a quota of 25% of unelected members of parliament.
² Article 1152 Asie : Une nouvelle union de libre-échange capitaliste