Made in Burma


Geraldine Sealey
March 19, 2004 10:15PM (UTC)

The president's supporters getting suited up for the 2004 campaign could be dismayed by what they see on the labels of their Bush-Cheney '04 gear. Newsday reports that the Bush campaign's official merchandise Web site "has sold clothing made in Burma, whose goods were banned by Bush from the U.S. last year to punish its military dictatorship."

Newsday received a jacket from www.georgewbushstore.com embroidered with the Bush-Cheney '04 logo and bearing a label stating it was made in Burma, now Myanmar. "The jacket was sent to Newsday as part of an order that included a shirt made in Mexico and a hat not bearing a country-of-origin label," the paper said. "The imports are potentially an issue because outsourcing has become a hot political topic in the election."

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Also an issue, and perhaps a more important one, is the fact that last year Bush signed into law the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act which states: "The United States will not waver from its commitment to the cause of democracy and human rights in Burma."

"Violators of the import ban are subject to fines and jail, according to the U.S. Treasury Department. Burmese textile workers earn as little as 7 cents per hour, according to the National Labor Committee, a human rights group," Newsday reports.

"If it is true, it is very contradictory because the sanctions were imposed by the Bush administration," said Bo Hla-Tint, a spokesman for the Burmese government-in-exile in Washington, D.C.


Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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