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Myanmar’s Rulers Hold Tight to Power Amid Cyclone Crisis

In the aftermath of last week's destructive cyclone, the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar has thrown a spotlight on the military junta governing the country. A former U.S. ambassador to Myanmar and professor born in the country examine the country's government structure.

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  • MARGARET WARNER:

    The Myanmar government's refusal to let in enough foreign aid workers is in defiance of international opinion. But that's not a new stance for a country that has been run by the military or a military-run single party since a coup in 1962.

    Over the weekend, the government held a constitutional referendum in most of the country that opponents say will only further cement its power. State TV coverage was dominated by pictures of the reclusive leader, Than Shwe, and other generals casting their ballots.

    Meanwhile, little has been heard from the principal opposition leader, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest on and off since 1990.

    For more on the men in power in Burma, we go to Priscilla Clapp, the former chief of mission at the United States embassy in Burma between 1999 and 2002; and Tun Myint, a visiting assistant professor at Carleton College. Born in Burma, he left in 1988.

    Welcome to you both.