INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Ding Dong Ne Win Is Dead.....Finally!

Published: Fri 6 Dec 2002 07:27 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS RANGOON 001558
SIPDIS
STATE FOR EAP/BCLTV
CINCPAC FOR FPA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV BM
SUBJECT: DING DONG NE WIN IS DEAD.....FINALLY!
REF: RANGOON 1555
1. (U) The regime confirmed ex-dictator Ne Win's death with
a brief obituary from the family buried on the second to the
last page of today's State-controlled newspapers. Tucked
between the weather forecast and television schedule, the
obituary was a brief statement that Ne Win died at 7:30 in
the morning on December 5th and, based on his wishes, was
cremated at a private cemetery in Rangoon at 1:30 that
afternoon.
2. (U) There is no indication that the SPDC is planning any
state ceremonies or official recognition of Ne Win's death,
despite the fact that he ruled the country for almost three
decades. The MOFA Americas' Division Director told Poloff he
was not aware of any government plans to honor Ne Win, saying
he only knew what he had read in the obituary. With the
general public's attitude toward the death ranging from
relief to satisfaction, the regime may be assessing the
appropriate official response. The Buddhist custom is for
friends, neighbors and the public to visit the home of the
deceased on the seventh day after the death to offer
condolences to the family and donations to the monks who have
prayed to help his soul into another life. This gives the
regime some time to decide what, if anything, it will do to
recognize Ne Win's demise.
3. (U) Word of Ne Win's death did not spread as quickly as
expected through the streets. By late evening on December 5,
a sampling of the general public indicated that few had heard
that he was dead. When they heard the news, the most common
response was "finally."
Martinez
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