US & World

No Vietnam visa for Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez

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An Orange County Congresswoman has just returned from a visit to several countries in Southeast Asia. But Anaheim Democrat Loretta Sanchez couldn’t get a visa to enter Vietnam — even though she represents the largest Vietnamese-born population outside that country.

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez hasn’t been shy about criticizing the Vietnamese government. She’s called for the release of imprisoned democracy advocates, and she’s co-signed a congressional letter asking Vietnamese internet providers to respect users’ privacy and free speech. She’s even asked the U.S. State Department to re-designate Vietnam as a “Country of Particular Concern” because of alleged human rights violations.

So Sanchez shouldn’t have been surprised that the country ignored her visa application again. It’s happened four times.

Vietnamese Embassy officials said they didn’t formally turn her down; they just wanted more information about who she wanted to see and the exact purpose of her visit. Sanchez said she’d planned to meet with human rights activists.

Three years ago, Sanchez tried to hold a tea party at the home of the U.S. Ambassador in Vietnam for the wives and mothers of imprisoned activists. Government soldiers prevented the women from attending.