Few countries attract less attention than Laos, and fewer still are as deft at repelling scrutiny. Over the years, the landlocked nation evolved into a perfect repository for secrets. Laos was the site of the CIA's largest paramilitary operation and the most extensive clandestine bombing campaign in history. The U.S. was defeated and Communists took power in 1975, but the tradition of secrecy held firm. Even today, grave incidents which would provoke outrage elsewhere – persecution, abuse, corruption, starvation – are easily shrugged off or quietly ignored. A potent blend of Leninist political theory and shady business practices keep the Communists firmly in power. Despite the end of the Cold War, the government of Laos continues to relentlessly hunt and kill ethnic Hmong people who collaborated with the U.S. more than three decades ago.
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