The Burmese military dictatorship has found a new cash cow and shouldn’t be missing all the dead water buffalo left by Cyclone Nargis too much, if the assertions in the articles below are true. I’m not a numbers person, but these articles had some interesting statistics…. So, does this mean, if you go into Burma to do relief work through government-approved channels, the exchange rate is going to create an incredible profit for the SPDC (military government)? Money coming in through government channels is worth 6.7 kyat per $US, but money changed on the black market (non-government channels) is worth 1000 kyat (or more) per dollar. I am way out of my economic depth here, but it just seems so WRONG that they can block aid, drag their heels, perpetuate suffering and death for thousands of people, and then still make a profit!
Trying to understand, but probably never will!
From the Japan times: “The Rape of Burma: where did the wealth go?” http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/eo20080502a1.html
From Open Democracy: “Burma: cyclone, aid and sanctions” http://http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/burma-cyclone-aid-and-sanctions