Shinawatras caught in the country

From Manager, May 26, 2014
Pojjaman Na Pompet, former wife of Thaksin Shinawatra: Because we believed you… that Ai Tou is trustworthy, we have to be stuck like this. None of us have time to escape!!
Caption: It’s him we must blame! [meaning they blame Thaksin for being caught in the country]
On couch against the wall, from left: Yingluck Shinawatra and her son, and the three children of Thaksin and Pojjaman. On couch on the right are MP Yaowapha Wongsawat, believed to be the most influential Shinawatra in parliament, and her husband, Somchai Wongsawat, a former prime minister.

[Here, Thaksin family members lament the fact that, for the first time, they were caught inside the country by the surprise coup. Before other contentious political events, like before the 2009 and 2010 Red Shirt marches on Bangkok, Shinawatra family members were all safely in foreign capitals. The location of the Shinawatras is closely watched as their absence from the country often foreshadows political conflict.

In the cartoon Pojjaman refers to coup leader Gen. Prayuth being “trustworthy.” This refers to the leaked audio clip of Thaksin and the then-Defense Minister in July 2013 in which they discussed ways the government could enable Thaksin to return to Thailand. In the clip, Thaksin implied that he trusted and even made a deal with army Commander-in-Chief Gen. Prayuth.

The audio clip was verified by Thaksin’s son on his Facebook account (which has sometimes functioned as an official mouthpiece for the former premier) and thus was seen as a public signal to politicians that Thaksin was firmly in charge of the government and had made some accommodation with Gen. Prayuth that would allow his return.

This also caused anti-Thaksin forces in the media to begin attacking Gen. Prayuth for his apparent betrayal in assenting to a Thaksin amnesty. Whether this anger at Gen. Prayuth was genuine or part of an overall plan to goad Thaksin into pushing his amnesty is unknown.

Whatever the case, the events of the last six months indicate Thaksin was wrong about the military and was tricked into thinking Gen. Prayuth was assenting to his amnesty and the rewrite of the constitution.] Editor Ron Morris’ book, The Thai Book: A Field Guide to Thai Political Motivations, is available in the Kindle Store.

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