Pathet Lao, which translates to Land of Laos, was a Communist-backed movement in Laos, with anti-French and anti-Western politics. Created by Prince Souphanouvong, it was allied with the Viet Minh and then involved in the Vietnam War. Its involvement came, in part, from having a significant part of the Ho Chi Minh trail running through Pathet Lao controlled areas.
In May 1959, when the North Vietnamese government decided to create the 559th Transportation Group to built the Trail and support southern insurgents with supplies and personnel, it also created the 959th Transportation Group to support, in like manner, the Pathet Lao.
As an outgrowth of the Communist Party of Laos and the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, the Pathet Lao, has controlled Laos since 1975. The current head of state is President Lt. Gen. Choummali Saignason; the head of government is Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh.