Responses to the Coup d'etat in Honduras on Sunday June 28, with special emphasis on producing English-language versions of commentaries by Honduran scholars and editorial writers and addressing the confusion encouraged by lack of basic knowledge about Honduras.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Statement of the Central American Cultural Studies Congress

Delegates to the second Central American Cultural Studies Congress recently held at the Universidad de Costa Rica, in lieu of the original planned venue of Tegucigalpa, endorsed the following statement against the disruption of constitutional government in Honduras in a special final session featuring scholarly discussion of the coup and its causes. As noted here previously, Honduran and Central American academic opinion is strongly against this reversion to authoritarian rule. It is no accident that the victims of the Honduran regime include teachers, most recently, Roger Vallejo, fatally wounded by gunshot to the head during protests in Tegucigalpa, who taught at the Instituto San Martín.

As the signatories reiterate, the events in Honduras are part of a larger regional process through which democracies that have failed to extend benefits to the clase popular, which could be inadequately and misleadingly translated "working class", but actually is better thought of as extending to all those disenfranchised everyday people who were the projected beneficiaries of constitutional reform in Honduras.

These scholars also emphasize, as I will continue to do in upcoming posts, that there was no completed judicial process prior to the illegal expatriation of President Zelaya that could have served as a legal basis to remove him from office. I have come to believe that the reason for the de facto regime ordering President Zelaya's removal was, quite simply, that they had no viable case against him that would have risen to the level necessary to procedurally remove him from office. They did not want to wait out the rest of his term and risk there being a mobilization of a larger popular movement that, in the November elections, might have upset the long-term hegemony over the presidency shared by the Liberal and National parties, if only by giving a third-party candidate a sufficiently large number of votes to make it harder to claim a clear mandate to govern.

But for now, I simply wish to reiterate a second point of this blog: that cultural policy is central to what happened in Honduras. As much as the economic spoils and threats to political hegemony motivated the authors of the coup d'etat, so too did their discomfort with the changing complexion of the country: with the increasing visibility of indigenous people, african-descendant people, women, sexual minorities, people whose families were recent and not-so-recent immigrants to the country. Scholars, academics, and intellectuals are at risk in this authoritarian regime not solely when they protest and risk being killed, but when they speak out. We need to be as angry about stifled voices as we are about those whose lives are lost.

Declaration Against the Coup d'Etat in Honduras by the Central Americanist Academic Community

The academic community that the undersigned represent, university professors and officers, researchers, essayists, literary writers, artists, students of the MA and PhD in distinct Central American, Latin American, European centers and those of other regions, would like with this declaration to energetically and publicly reject the civil-military coup d'Etat carried out in Honduras and demand the immediate return to a democratic regime under the principles of national constitutional order and jurisprudence and the international treaties in force for the country and the region.

It is unacceptable from every point of view, illegal and contrary to the most minimal rules of democratic coexistence that, taking advantage of military force, a democratically elected President of the Republic has been made prisoner, deported, and removed from his office without there having been completed any prior judicial process.

The unanimous international condemnation of this act of violence makes manifest the consensus that exists in regard to the obligation that the powerful groups in any country have, whether they may be economic or military, to respect these minimal norms, without which what we have is the usurpation and abuse of political power.

Honduras, like many Latin American countries, is passing through the difficult process of consolidating and deepening democracy as a mode of existence that wishes to respect and promote the rights of the clase popular, historically exploited and maginalized, in societies dominated by elites that lack the capacity or the interest to administer resources and direct institutions with benefits deserved by everyone.

The events that occurred in Honduras constituted a complex and controversial episode in this process, inasmuch as there were in play these aspirations of democratic transition with the resistance of powerful factions, the same that have confused opportunisms of every type with the legitimate aspirations of society.

Restoral of the constitutional order in Honduras constitutes an unavoidable challenge for the democratic transition not only in this country but in many others of the continent inasmuch as they expect to encounter routes to advance toward social equity without deception and with feasible proposals, both of how to guarantee sustainability and the respect of the rights of the citizens.

This declaration comes from the Second Central American Congress of Cultural Studies that has been implicated in this conjuncture because it was to have been celebrated at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras on dates that fell after the coup, and had to be moved to the Universidad de Costa Rica in order to offer better guarantees of security to the participants.

This Congress that had been conceived to be celebrated in times of peace, has had to be carried out in an altered context because of the crisis in Honduras and the consequent political tension in the region. The declaration that we sign, nevertheless, does not wish to be a simple protest of the disturbance that in practice the coup d'Etat in Honduras has entailed for regional academic activity, but more than that it wants to be a political action by those who occupy ourselves with Central American actuality in our studies and are especially concerned with the destiny of those societies.

We sign this Declaration as an academic and intellectual community, in San Jose, Costa Rica, on the 24th day of the month of July of 2009.

[details of affiliations, which were provided for identification purposes only and did not imply any position by the institutions, are not provided here, but are listed in full in the original petition.]

Hector M. Leyva
Werner Mackenbach
Beatriz Cortez
Ricardo Roque
Valeria Grinberg
Ligia Bolaños
Patricia Fumero
Alexandra Ortiz Wallner
Leonel Delgado
Carlos B. Lara Martínez
Julio Escoto
Rodrigo Rey Rosa
Arturo Arias
Jorge Roviria Mas
Waldina Mejía
Rolando Sierra
Jeffrey Browitt
George Yúdice
Carolina Pezoa
Julia Medina
Claudia Ferman
Marc Zimmerman
José Antonio Funes
Erick Blandón Guevara
Douglas Carranza
Yansí Pérez
Claudia García
Guillermo González Campos
Bernardo Bolaños
Giselle Bustos Mora
Xinia Zúñiga Muñoz
Roxana Reyes Rivas
Raúl Rodríguez Freire
Reagan Boxwell
Sebastián Calderón
Silvia Gianni
Karen Poe
Pablo Delano
Emilio del Valle Escalante
Peggy von Mayer
José Cal Montoya
Magda Zavala
Teresa Fallas Arias
Ronald Nibbe
Tania Camacho
Magdalena Perkowska
Sandra García
Marisol Gutiérrez
Olga Solano
Mónica Zúñiga Rivera
Edgard Zuno
Henry Vargas Benavides
Robert Rodríguez Delgado
Julio Blanco
Rebeca Alpizar
Grettel Andrade C.
Marcela Carías
Flor Alvergue
Miguel Barahona
Paúl Martínez
Fernando Galindo Rodríguez
Hugo Gil R.
Diana Campos Ortiz
Sofía Vindas Solano
Sofía González Escalante
Ramón Morales
Stéphanie Rodríguez
David Morales
Marlen Jiménez
Marisol Patiño
Alejandra Aguilar
Adriana Corrales
Roxana Morales Bonilla
Mónica Quirós Villalobos
Vera Gerner
Adrián Cruz García
Mario Salazar
Héctor Hernández
Daniel Solano
Ana Elisa Pérez Quintero
Rolando Canizales
Ana Delia Ramírez Calderón
Karol Carmona
Mayra Herrera M.
Elena Arce Salazar
Christina Schramm
Rafael Zamora Chaves
Mariela Richmond
Deybel Chaves Sánchez
Juan Andrés Montero V.
Lorenzo Montiel Z.
Adriana Alpizar
Roberto Pacheco
María del Pilar Rivas D.
María de los Ángeles Ramírez Chinchilla
Ronald F. Chacón Chavaría
Jeffrey Morales G.
Roberto Zúñiga Garro

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The fearful expulsion of leaders for promoting local cultures has been going on throughout Latin America--and even the US-- for a very long time. There was clearly some level of fear of the indigenous populations and a consequent effort to eliminate the native languages and customs. It created some odd bedfellows, with Protestant missionaries and anthropologists promoting the use of native languages for their different reasons, and the Catholic Church being a hidebound opponent of Indian education, especially bilingual education in any form.

By their nature, left wing parties tend to form alliances between small farmers and labor, which the ruling elite finds terrifying, and the small farmers include a lot of indigenous people. The wild card in all this is liberalism, which as Manuel Zelaya said, he joined the Liberal Party because of its libertarian aspect (leave private property alone) and ended up transforming him because of its liberty aspect (the interest in civil society and local control under a national civil rights framework). Through the 20th century, liberalism has been transformational, sometimes for the good and sometimes (probably more often) for the bad because of its tendency to form alliances across ethnic boundaries. In the US, as we know, one of J. Edgar Hoover's greatest fears was of an alliance between the American left and African Americans.

--Charles of MercuryRising