Burma (capital Rangoon) and neighboring states
Country Comparisons: chart
World Factbook: "Burma, a resource-rich country, suffers from pervasive government controls, inefficient economic policies, corruption, and rural poverty. Despite Burma's emergence as a natural gas exporter, socio-economic conditions have deteriorated under the regime's mismanagement, leaving most of the public in poverty, while military leaders and their business friends exploit the country's ample natural resources. In 2010-11, the transfer of state assets - especially real estate - to military families under the guise of a privatization policy further widened the gap between the economic elite and the public. "
Note Burma's low corruption (CPI) score on the chart.
Most overseas development assistance ceased after the junta suppressed the democracy movement in 1988 and subsequently ignored the results of the 1990 election.
Economic growth rate
2009: 2% of GDP
Living in an urban area
Seventy percent of the labor force in Burma is in agriculture.
Ethnicity and Religion:
Burman 68%, Shan 9%, Karen 7%, Rakhine 4%, Chinese 3%, Indian 2%, Mon 2%, other 5%
Buddhist 89%, Christian 4% (Baptist 3%, Roman Catholic 1%), Muslim 4%, animist 1%, other 2%
Southeast Asia, between Bangladesh and Thailand. Almost as big as Texas. Humid, tropical and rainy. Less so in winter. Burma
Chief of state and head of government: Thein Sein (president, dubiously elected) since 30 March 2011, retired military, Theravada Buddhist.
Burma was administered as a province of India until 1937, when Britain made it a separate, self-governing colony. British rule was not popular and Burmese joined the Japanese in driving the British out. Arrogance by the Japanese drove Burmese against them and toward the end of the war they helped the British drive the Japanese out. Britain gave Burma its independence in 1948.
From 1962 Burma was dominated by General Ne Win, as a military ruler, then self-appointed president and later as a power broker. In 1962 the general created a military Revolutionary Council, which he chaired. He announced that he was on a Burmese road to socialism.
On 4 January 1974 Burma was named Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma. In 1988 protests against economic hardship and political oppression erupted. Demonstrations were violently crushed by army troops who fired relentlessly into unarmed crowds. The world took little notice because of Burma's isolation. sters throughout the country. Thousands were arrested. On September 18, 1988, army chief-of-staff General Saw Maung "staged" another military coup. A civilian, Dr. Maung Maung, was appointed President and he promised free and fair multi-party elections. Elections for parliamentary seats in 1990 gave a landslide victory to members of the National League for Democracy, but ruling military men denied the party power, and rule by military junta continued. The leader of the National League for Democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.
Since 1992 Burma's politics has remained the control of the State Peace and Development Council – the military government – led General Than Shwe. He is described in Wikipedia as having relaxed some state control over the economy, and have having allowed the International Commitee of the Red Cross and Amnest International to make visits to Burma, but also as "often seen as not tolerating criticism," as an opponent of democractization (losing power), and as "sullen and rather withdrawn, as marking national holidays and ceremonies with messages in the state-run newspapers, but rarely talking to the press.
2007: Burma is run by twelve generals in a clique called the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). Differences among the generals and other details about them have been guarded state secrets.
March 30, 2011: Burma military government is officially dissolved. A president of a civilian-led parliament is sworn in.
Copyright © 2009-2011 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.