Koh Tral on the table

The Kiriroom - Kos Tral Range.

The Kiriroom – Kos Tral Range.

Unfortunately Jeff Mudrick of The Diplomat closed down the interesting discussion on the Kos Tral issue (see “Cambodia’s Impossible Dream: Koh Tral“.) There are several comments with different arguments in different tones. My last comment was not published, so I do it here in my own home. I have to clarify that my observations are not along with any political party at all and I understand that any position can be used for political purposes, but sovereignty cannot be an object of political interests, although it is a historical fact in different countries and regions.  Continue reading

Koh Tral in Cambodian sea platform

It is true the historical Cambodian ambivalence over territorial claims on Koh Tral / Phu Quok as well as the use of such claims on political and nationalistic grounds that rest authority to those claims. However, Cambodia has the right to request a technical review of its claim over the rights on its encroached sea platform.

According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea “every State has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles” (UNCLS, art. 3) Continue reading

Cambodia since 1999, a video documentary

I share this video documentary by Teleantioquia about Cambodia. It is in Spanish, but you can understand most of the story. We are doubling it in Khmer and English… coming soon. A good resume of what is Cambodia, its history, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Kampot, Kep and Sihanoukville and how I see Cambodia since 1999.

Albeiro Rodas in Cambodia – Part 1, Teleantioquia, 2014.

Albeiro Rodas in Cambodia – Part 2, Teleantioquia, 2014.

Albeiro Rodas in Cambodia – Part 3, Teleantioquia, 2014.

Albeiro Rodas in Cambodia – Part 4, Teleantioquia, 2014.

Government toughens position on protests

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Freedom Park after cleared from protesters by security officers, many of them in civil aspect and sticks.  Photo Arjay R. J. Stevens (January 4, 2014)

Phnom Penh. Cambodian security forces evicted protesters from the Freedom Park this weekend after the tragic events of Friday where at least 4 civilians died and many others were wounded during a workers’ protest to claim for higher salaries. The situation is tense in the capital after the government banned all public demonstrations and the Phnom Penh Municipal Court summoned the two main leaders of the opposition party, Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha on charges of “incitement to provoke criminal acts and provoke social unrest.”  The two political leaders, who went into hiding Saturday, should appear in Court by January 14, according to official sources.

Continue reading

Let’s preserve historical remnants in Kep and everywhere

An old edification in Bokorville, another former French village at the top of the Bokor Mountain, today a place of reconstruction with big development plants. Photo Al Rodas 04.16.2010.

An old edification in Bokorville, another former French village at the top of the Bokor Mountain, today a place of reconstruction with big development plants. Photo Al Rodas 04.16.2010.

The upcoming Kep Expo Project is speaking very good about preservation of historical remnants in Kep Province and Cambodia. In this short documentary by Radio Australia we can see that there are people who worry about the protection of the national historical heritage. For me it would not be exaggerated to request the inclusion of Kep Town and Bokorville, as well as many other French colonial places around the country, as Unesco World Heritage Sites and there are many reasons why.   But in order to do so, it is needed an urgent plan of protection before some other groups of people without any historical conscience and the hurry for dollars, will end with the demolition of most colonial old villas of Kep. One thing we have to understand is that the Cambodian past does not end in the Angkorean period. Contrary to it, there are several remnants before and after the Angkor period that fit the complete historical picture of Cambodia. Continue reading

Cambodian young man looks for his Algerian father

Kol Said Dona holds the only two photos he has from his Algerian father, Chaffai  Said, a former UNTAC policeman. Now he is looking for him after 18 years without news.

Kol Said Dona holds the only two photos he has from his Algerian father, Chaffai Said, a former UNTAC policeman. Now he is looking for him after 18 years without news.

Kol Said Dona, 18, is a Cambodian student of journalism at Don Bosco Kep. His mother, Kol Syvong,  36, works as a farmer in Kompong Trach District, Kampot Province. He was born on 18 February 1994, one year after the United Nations Transition Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) finished its mandate. It was the first time that UN established a direct administration on an independent State. It came from the Paris Peace Accords of October 1991 where UNTAC became the government from 1992  to 1993 with the mission to prepare democratic elections. It included 15,900 military, 3,600 civilian policemen, 2,000 civilians and 450 UN volunteers from 33 nations. Continue reading

Remembering Vann Nath

Vann Nath and Albeiro Rodas 8th March 2009

On 8th March 2009 I got the privilege to visit Mr. Vann Nath, the famous S-21’s painter survivor in his house of Phnom Penh. He would pass away two years after, on 5th September 2011. I got this opportunity thanks to a team of television journalists that were doing a kind of show and requested me to be their journalist guide throughout the Khmer Rouge regime history. To be frank, it was a very superficial approach and it is not even worthy to mention who they were, so the only thing I appreciate is the opportunity to meet persons like Vann Nath, Bou Men, the chief of the S-21’s prison and many other activities.  Continue reading

Cambodia on its way

In 2012 Cambodia reached 14 million 952 thousand 665 persons, following the statistics of Index Mundo, which prevents that this estimate takes into account ‘the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS.’  Most Cambodians are by now 22 years old, being males younger the women. 32.2 percent of Cambodians are under 15 years old and 3.8 percent are older than 65. Cambodia continues to be a country with a very young population that is growing, though the unemployment rate is low with 0,2 percent as January 2012. In 2012 there was an estimate of 20% of Cambodians living in cities, but it is probably that such percent grew very much during the last year if we see how Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Battambang and Sihanoukville are growing so fast. Continue reading

A Modern Historical Novel

Is a Cambodia a novel inspiration country? Evidently yes, with its troublesome past as a victim of the domino theory during the Cold War. Devastation, nightmares, terror and… Pol Pot. After the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime, Cambodia did not see an end to an even more complicated conflict, once more touched by internal and external interests, elements that molded what is Cambodia now. This political novel of William MacDonalds mixes many elements of that legacy of conflicts in a modern context. An imaginary story that touches reality in several points.

‘Guilt swarms over Cambodia. It is in the billions of dollars of aid that flow into Cambodia’s struggling economy, in the thousands of foreign aid workers that labor in its tiny capital, in the countless charity offices in its provincial towns, in the endless efforts to improve its medieval politics. Emily has come as part of the guilt,’ – After Pol Pot, a Modern Historical Novel.

The cradles of the Khmer nation

Kbal Romeas caves are located in Kompot Province and they belong to the first evidences of human settlements in the Southeast Asian region.

In the beginning was the Kbal Romeas Cave. Nobody knows for how long it was inhabited. Archaeologists found marine shells and ceramics at the site dated 5370 BC. Carbonnel and Delibrias dated the place to the New Stone Age in 3420 BC, corresponding to the Neolithic Revolution. The amazement of the Angkorian temples makes to neglect other historical – and pre-historical – times of the Khmers. The grandeur of Angkor did not come from night to day – Phnom Penh wasn’t built in a night. It is actually the result of a long historical process. The lovers of Angkor must study the previous date with careful attention to understand the process. Continue reading

An apostle of the refugee camps to honor forever

Fr Pierre Ceyrac at the Khmer Refugee Camp Site II in Thailand by 1985. Photo courtesy websitesrcg.com. 

Too many organizations must receive recognition for their commitment to the people during the most troublesome moments of the Cambodian history like the time of civil war and conflict. The Cambodians of the unforgettable refugee camps in Thailand keep by sure a good memory of those institutions and their members spending their times and resources to support the most needed. Continue reading

Lonely… ‘Khmer’

Hua Hin. Visiting ‘Amazing Thailand‘ from the ‘Kingdom of Wonders.’ I got the 2010’s edition of Lonely Planet about Thailand (13th edition, January 2010) to read in my 12 hours bus travel from Sihanoukville to Bangkok. I have to recognize that I admire the work of Lonely Planet. It is real original and well documented. Then it is made upon the research of writers living or working in the country. The history of Thailand, according with this 2010 edition (p. 29-40), is a complete resume. I noticed only a great absent: Cambodia. Actually, it is a pity that the use of references is poor in the article. It is  said, for example, that a ‘modern linguistic theory and archaeological evidence‘  – which ones? – ‘suggest that the first true agriculturists in the world, perhaps also the first metal workers, spoke an early form of Thai and lived in what we know today as Thailand (p. 29).’ How can Lonely Planet say it? From where this conclusion came?  Continue reading

A Khmer Experiment

Sihanoukville. Raquel Vásquez has a Business and Law degree from Carlos III University, now enrolled in a postgraduate program in Defense and Communications. From her original Spain, she has been in countries like India, Singapore, France, Israel and Cambodia. Cristina Trenas is a filmmaker with studies in economics and journalism in the same University, but also in Paris and Washington. These two brave Spaniard girls made the team of a… Cambodian Experiment !!! Continue reading

Young people talk about the Case 002’s first hearing

Sihanoukville (06.27.2011). Students of the social communication & journalism department of the Don Bosco Technical School followed the first hearing of Case 002 for the prosecution of four surviving senior leaders of the Democratic Kampuchea regime (1975-1979). Continue reading

Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge four on trial

Euronews. The UN-backed trial of the top surviving members of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime has finally got under way in Phnom Penh. The four defendants include the now 84-year-old Nuon Chea, or Brother Number 2, the chief ideologist behind Pol Pot’s “Killing Fields” revolution.

An evening with the Khmer Rouge

A Cambodian student of communication in Sihanoukville, takes note at the moment of national prosecutor Mrs. Chea Leang addresses the ECCC at 15:00 on June 27, 2011, during the first hearing of Case 002 for the prosecution of four senior Khmer Rouge leaders.

What do you know about the Khmer Rouge senior leaders to be prosecuted?

Sihanoukville The University of California made a survey this week with 1,000 Cambodians if they knew the names of the Khmer Rouges senior leaders to be prosecuted by ECCC. Only 10 percent could say the names. The students of journalism of the Don Bosco Technical School of Sihanoukville made their own survey asking 210 persons of the school campus the same question. None of them could say the full names and they did not know when the prosecution will start.