Vietnam Shoots Down Loretta Sanchez's Travel Hopes

Saving itself a couple of news cycles of international embarrassment, Vietnam has denied a visa to Orange County Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, who had been traveling in Asia and hoped to enter the country to meet with disgruntled citizens who say they are denied basic freedoms.

“I am extremely disappointed that Vietnam's government decided to ignore my visa application,” Rep. Sanchez said in a press statement. “For years, Vietnam has promised to expand the civil, political and religious liberties of its people in exchange for a greater role in international politics. I strongly believe that elected officials from America and other democracies should have the opportunity to assess Vietnam's progress, or lack thereof, on these issues firsthand.”

According to Sanchez, Vietnam “continues to harass and imprison citizens who publicly criticize the communist government.”
The California Democrat–who is the co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Vietnam and also serves on the House Armed Services Committee–recently concluded her trip to visit various military and security sites in the Philippines, Cambodia, Singapore and Taiwan. 
Sanchez's concerns about Vietnam are actually local. The world's largest concentration of Vietnamese immigrants live in the Little Saigon region of her congressional district. She has won the loyal support of the community over the years (including at the ballot box) because she's been aggressively attentive to their issues. We'll see how she does in November when she may face Republican Van Tran, currently a state assemblyman.
-R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly

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