Friday, December 18, 2009
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama wished "Xyoo Tshiab" to the Hmong community in the United States celebrating their new year, and thanked them for enriching America's cultural life.
First Lady "Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to those who are celebrating the Hmong New Year," Obama said in a statement released by the White House on Friday as the president was on his return flight from the Copenhagen climate summit.
Obama said many Hmong came to the United States "in a period of great strife... to build a better life, and through their culture and contribution, they have enriched America as well."
With the festive spirit in mind, Obama said, "I wish those celebrating Hmong New Year a prosperous and healthy new year -- Xyoo Tshiab."
The US Hmong community was outraged two years ago by the arrest in California of aging warlord Vang Pao on charges he was plotting to overthrow the communist government of Laos.
The charges were dropped this September, restoring good relations with Hmong-Americans, although 12 other defendants in the case are still being prosecuted as a result of what many in the community believe was an unfair government sting operation.