The Pathet Lao
left-oriented nationalist group in Laos that took control of the country in 1975. Founded in 1950, the Pathet Lao (Lao Country) movement joined with the Viet Minh, the Communist-oriented Vietnamese nationalist organization, in armed resistance to French rule in Indochina. In 1956 a legal political wing, the Lao Patriotic Front (Neo Lao Hak Xat), was founded and participated in several coalition governments. In the 1960s and early '70s the Pathet Lao fought a civil war against the U.S.-backed Vientiane regime, winning effective control in the north and east. In the spring of 1975 Pathet Lao forces consolidated their power throughout the country. The Vientiane government fell in May 1975, and Pathet Lao leaders formed a new government.
The Lao Issara
English Free Laos, Laotian political movement against French colonial control, founded in 1945. The departure of the Japanese from Laos in 1945 left the Laotian ruling elite divided over the issue of the restoration of French control. The king welcomed the French return, but Prince Phetsarath, the viceroy, and his brothers, Souvanna Phouma and Souphanouvong, were prominent in the noncommunist Lao Issara, which demanded full independence. The granting of limited independence within the French union in 1949 split the Lao Issara, one faction becoming the left-oriented Pathet Lao.
(1902?-95), Laotian prince and nationalist leader who became the first president of the Laotian republic. Born into the royal family, he was educated as an engineer in France. Returning home in the late 1930s, he became active in the nationalist movement and after World War II fought against the French; he was one of the founders of the Pathet Lao, the Communist nationalist movement, in 1950. A minister (1957-58) in the cabinet headed by his half brother, Souvanna Phouma, he was arrested after the fall of the government but escaped and thereafter led the Pathet Lao in guerrilla warfare. He briefly rejoined his brother in a coalition government in 1962 but then continued his armed struggle for another decade. A cease-fire in 1973 paved the way for a new coalition in which the Pathet Lao was the dominating partner. When the monarchy was abolished in 1975, Souphanouvong became president. Citing health reasons, he resigned the presidency in October 1986.
b. Dec. 13, 1920, Na Seng, Laos
d. Nov. 21, 1992, Vientiane
Laotian political leader and revolutionary who was a communist leader from 1955 and, following the overthrow of the 600-year-old monarchy (1975), ruler of Laos.
Kaysone was born in southern Laos of a Lao mother and a Vietnamese father, a civil servant in the French colonial government. Kaysone protested against Japanese occupation of his country during World War II, and while studying law at the University of Hanoi, he became involved with the nascent Indochinese Communist Party. He was sent back to Laos by Ho Chi Minh to join the anti-French revolutionary movement that was later known as the Pathet Lao.
In 1955 Kaysone helped found and became general secretary of what was later called the Lao People's Revolutionary Party. In 1958 he unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the Supreme People's Assembly. After the resumption of hostilities in 1964, he moved the Pathet Lao into caves in the northern mountains, withstanding the United States' carpet bombing of the area. After the disintegration of a short-lived, U.S.-backed postwar government in 1975, he became prime minister of the newly created Lao People's Democratic Republic. He was one of the leaders responsible for allowing King Savang Vatthana and Queen Khamphouis to perish in a detention camp, reportedly in 1981. He kept the country closely allied with Vietnam and isolated from Western influence until the end of the Cold War, when he sought new financial aid by visiting France and Japan in 1989. After a new constitution was adopted in 1991, he became president, and the following year he relaxed some government controls and scheduled elections for the Supreme People's Assembly. He also released most political prisoners, including those army officers from the pro-Western regime held in detention camps since 1975, and he also distanced Laos from Vietnam by improving relations with China.
Born: April 9, 1914, in Phalouka, Moukdahane district, Savannakhet province
Family: Married; two children
Education: Studied physics and math, Leningrad Polytechnic School (1962-67); Higher Party School of the Soviet UnionÕs Communist Party Central Committee
Occupation: Government official
Political Career Member, Indochinese Communist Party (1950); represented Pathet Lao in negotiations (1954); Member, LPRP Central Committee (1955-present); Arrested by Royal Government (1959); Member, standing committee on organization, economics and finance (1963); Member, LPRP Politburo (1972-present): Deputy prime minister and minister of finance (1975); Chairman, drafting committee of the constitution (1989); President and chairman of the PeopleÕs Supreme Council (November 1992-present)
Office: Office of the President, Lane Xang Avenue, Vientiane
More to come .....
Mr. Sisavath Keobounphanh was born on May 1, 1928 at Houay Kaleum village, Samneua district, Houaphanh province.
He was admitted as a member of the Indochinese Communist Party on May 1, 1950 and became a member of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party ( LPRP ) on March 22,1955, when it was founded.
Mr. Sisavath, who graduated from a high-level school for political ideology in Vietnam, speaks Vietnamese fluently.
During the national revolution period, Mr. Sisavath participated in revolutionary activities, starting as a soldier in the north-western armed propaganda and strike force in 1947, until he began covert operations for the strike force of the unit for constructing political bases in 1948 together with the late president Kaysone Phomvihane in Xiengkhor district, Houaphanh province.
From late 1949 to early 1952, he became political chief of the Rassavong armed unit before he was appointed head of the military force of the same unit.
From the end of 1954 to early 1955, Mr. Sisavath was on the central committee for the cessez-feu with France.
He was first elected as a member of the Party Central Committee on March 22, 1955 and at the same time he was also appointed to a committee for the central military Party and chief of the central military general staff.
From 1956 to 1960 , he was the Party secretary in Sanmeua Rallying zone.
The current vice president was appointed to a committee for the central military Party for the second time in 1960. At that time, he was also a member of the administration board for the supreme command of the Lao People's Army and the chief of the supreme general staff of the Lao People's Army.
He was re-elected member to the Party Central Committee in 1972.
After the country's liberation in 1975 and until 1991, Mr. Sisavath became Minister to the Prime Minister's Office and the Minister of Interior. During the same period, he was also the President of Vientiane Municipality Administration. Mr. Sisavath was ranked as a General in 1980.
He was re-elected member to the LPRP Central Committee in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth Party's Congress in 1983, 1986, 1991 and 1996 respectively.
Mr. Sisavath was appointed the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry in 1991 before he became the Vice President of the Lao PDR last year.
Katay Don Sasorith
b. July 12, 1904
d. Dec. 29, 1959, Vientiane, Laos
Nick name WILLIAM RABBIT, Lao nationalist and author of eloquent resistance pamphlets in his youth, who later held many government posts, among them that of premier in 1954-56. Katay's 33 years of government service began with a civil service post in the French administration of Laos from 1926 to 1945. Of part Vietnamese descent, he was the chief spokesman of the national resistance movement during World War II, joining with others to form the Lao Issara, or Free Laos, movement, which fought first against the Japanese and then against the French, who tried to reoccupy Laos after the fall of the Tojo government in Japan in 1945. A provisional government was formed, and Katay was named minister of finance; but its triumph was short-lived, and in 1946 he was forced to flee to Thailand, where the government maintained itself in exile. He published a newspaper in which he exhorted the overthrow of the French, and he wrote Contribution à l'histoire du mouvement d'indépendance national Lao (1948; "Contribution to the History of the Lao National Independence Movement"), under his pen name, William Rabbit, adapted from his own name, Katay, which means "rabbit" in Lao.
In 1949 Katay returned to Vientiane and in 1951 he won election to the National Assembly. From then on his rise to power was rapid; when Laos finally achieved independence from France in 1954, Katay was named premier. Always suspicious of the Pathet Lao, the Communist-dominated but overwhelmingly nationalist military organization, he was able to secure U.S. financial support to combat what he termed "foreign Communist aggression." Claiming that the Viet Minh (North Vietnamese Communist forces) were invading Laos through the Pathet Lao, Katay was able to obtain aid from the U.S. government to resist them. In 1955 Katay lost parliamentary support and was forced to give Prince Souvanna Phouma the premiership. The Prince continued an intricate balancing act in domestic politics; both he and the government of Phoui Sananikone came under attack by Katay whenever they proposed compromises with the Pathet Lao.