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Le dictionnaire

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NŪHAK PHŪMSAVAN (1916–2008)

One of the main architects of the Lao communist movement. Born into a family of modest means in Mukdaharn province in northeast Thailand, he began his career as a truck driver in a Chinese-run transport company operating from the Mekong River area to eastern Vietnam. His fluency in Vietnamese and Thai facilitated his work. He was married twice, first to a Lao and then to a Vietnamese. Between 1941 and 1945, he set up his own transport business crossing the Annamese Chain. His life changed directions in Da Nang in the heady days of mid-1945. While on business there, representatives of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) won him over to the nationalist cause and Nūhak suddenly found himself in Hanoi discussing revolutionary business for perhaps the first time in his life. In September or October 1945, he returned to Savannakhet and teamed up with Prince Suphānuvong, who was building the Committee for an Independent Laos there. Nūhak joined the Lao Issara and the prince sent him back to Hanoi, where his knowledge of Vietnamese and communications between Vietnam and Laos made him an excellent go-between. By 1947, he had returned to central Laos and become president of the Lao Issara Committee for the East. He worked closely with ranking Vietnamese leaders in Inter-Zone IV (Lien Khu IV) and became a member of the Indochinese Communist Party in 1947. He participated in the Lao Resistance Government and Pathet Lao national front. He served as minister of Economy and Finance in the new government. In 1953, as Vietnamese armed forces struck deep into Laos, Nūhak moved to Sam Neau with other government leaders to administer the resistance government on Lao territory. In 1954, he travelled on a DRV passport to serve as the Pathet Lao’s delegate to the Geneva Conference. However, international opposition was such that the Chinese and even the Vietnamese dropped their request. Nūhak observed the conference from the sidelines. See also INDOCHINESE FEDERATION; ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE FOR THE FRONTIER; ADVISORY GROUP 100; CAMBODIAN RESISTANCE GOVERNMENT; COMMITTEE FOR EXTERNAL AFFAIRS; HOANG VAN HOAN; KAISON PHOUMVIHANE; METIS; NGUYEN KHANG; NGUYEN THANH SON; PARTY AFFAIRS COMMITTEE.