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magbana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-09-09 07:07 PM
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LATAM Experts Call on Clinton to Oppose Early Elections Option in Honduras
For Immediate Release: July 9, 2009
Contact: Hector Perla, 310-985-1673; Dana Frank, 831-600-5525; Suyapa
Portillo Villeda, 626-403-0514; Forrest Hylton, 347-742-4401

Latin America Experts Call on Clinton to Oppose Early Elections Option
in Honduras

Anything Less Than the Urgent Restoration of Zelaya to Office "Would
be an usurpation of the will of the Honduran people" They State in
Open Letter

Santa Cruz, CA - Over 35 scholars and experts on Latin America sent an
open letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today urging against
the idea of early elections in Honduras as a possible resolution of
the current crisis resulting from the June 28 military coup d'etat.
Stating that "Anything less than the urgent restoration of President
Manuel Zelaya to office would be an usurpation of the will of the
Honduran people," the signers urged Clinton to enact forceful
sanctions on the coup regime to ensure Zelaya's prompt reinstatement.
The signers include Harvard emeritus professor John Womack; scholar,
author, commentator, and filmmaker Saul Landau; Central America expert
Hector Perla, and authors and Central America experts Greg Grandin and
Dana Frank, among others.

"It's supremely important that we not make any concessions to those
who have perpetrated military coups. By doing so, we establish a
dangerous precedent," said Dana Frank, Honduras expert and professor
of history at U.C. Santa Cruz.

The letter also notes that the coup regime has suspended civil
liberties, thus eliminating conditions under which free and fair
elections could take place in the near future. The signers also debunk
the pretext for the coup - Zelaya's supposed plans for reelection - by
pointing out that it would be almost impossible for Zelaya to be
reelected before his successor assumes office next year, and that
Zelaya stated before June 28 that he did not seek reelection.

The full text of the letter follows:

July 9, 2009

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Clinton,

We, the undersigned, are concerned by proposals by some in
Washington's foreign policy circles to push for early elections as a
solution to the crisis instigated by the illegal and anti-democratic
coup d'etat in Honduras. Anything less than the urgent restoration of
President Manuel Zelaya to office would be an usurpation of the will
of the Honduran people. Following resolutions by the United Nations
General Assembly and the Organization of American States calling for
Zelaya's immediate and unconditional return to office, the U.S. must
ensure his prompt restoration by enacting forceful economic sanctions
against the regime.

Each day that the illegal coup regime remains in office further
jeopardizes the capacity for Honduras to enjoy free and fair elections
in November, let alone in an earlier time frame. Elections currently
would take place under a coup regime that has suspended civil
liberties, and where the conditions for free elections do not exist.
Such an election would not have international legitimacy. Democracy
has to be restored before a legitimate election can take place. It is
also important to avoid making concessions of any kind to the coup
government, as it would create a terrible precedent, showing other
anti-democratically minded and power hungry individuals that it can be
worthwhile to carry out a military coup in order to advance their
political agendas.

Since illegally seizing office by abducting the president at gunpoint
and putting him on a plane to Costa Rica, the coup regime has
suspended civil liberties and treated the Honduran people as the
enemy. They have revoked freedom of the press by imposing a media
blackout, assaulted and detained journalists, clamped down on
protests, detained hundreds of supporters of President Zelaya, and
killed at least two people by firing on demonstrators.

The regime claims it acted in order to prevent an unconstitutional
move by President Zelaya to extend his term. Yet an examination of the
facts reveals this to be a dubious excuse for an assault on democratic
institutions and the rule of law. President Zelaya's proposed survey
would have been a non-binding poll of public support for an additional
ballot - on whether a constitutional assembly should be created- in
the November elections. The actual question read: "Do you agree that,
during the general elections of November 2009 there should be a fourth
ballot to decide whether to hold a Constituent National Assembly that
will approve a new political constitution?"

Zelaya was not running for reelection in November, nor would he have
been able to. Therefore, Zelaya's successor was always slated to be
elected in November, to be inaugurated in January. Zelaya had also
stated before June 28 that he did not desire reelection. Possible
reelection was not the reason the military carried out the coup. They
opposed Zelaya's policies, and they have at times been honest about
their true motives: "It would be difficult for us, with our training,
to have a relationship with a leftist government," Honduran army
attorney Col. Herberth Bayardo Inestroza explained following the coup.
"That's impossible."

There is one legal, just, and democratic solution to Honduras' current
crisis: the swift restoration of President Zelaya and the imposition
of economic sanctions-trade as well as aid, on the illegal regime. We
call on the U.S. to take the lead in ensuring this outcome.


Marc Becker
Associate Professor of Latin American History
Truman State University*

Blase Bonpane
Office of the Americas

Michael Brun, PhD
Dept. Economics
Illinois State University

Ron Chilcote
Professor Economics
University of California Riverside

Aviva Chomsky
Professor of History and Coordinator, Latin American Studies
Salem State College

Noam Chomsky
Professor of Linguistics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Jaime Concha
Professor of Latin American Literature
University of California, San Diego

Luis Duno Gottberg
Associate Professor, Hispanic Languages and Literature
Rice University, Houston, TX

Steve Ellner
Professor Political Science
University of Oriente, Venezuela

Professor Raul Fernandez
Social Sciences
University of California, Irvine

Dana Frank
Professor of History
University of California, Santa Cruz

James Goldfarb Devine
Professor of Economics
Loyola Marymount University

Greg Grandin
Professor of History
Director of Graduate Studies
New York University

Mark Healey
Assistant Professor of History
University of California, Berkeley

Daniel Hellinger
Professor of Political Science
Webster University

Forrest Hylton
Assistant Professor of Political Science/Int'l. Relations
Universidad de los Andes (Colombia)

Misha Kokotovic
Associate Professor
Department of Literature
UC San Diego

Saul Landau
Professor Emeritus
California State University, Pomona

Jorge Mariscal
Director, Chicano/a-Latino/a Studies
University of California, San Diego

Luis Martn-Cabrera
Assistant Professor of Literature
University of California, San Diego

Gilda L. Ochoa
Associate Professor of Sociology and Chicana/o - Latina/o Studies
Pomona College

Tanalis Padilla
Associate Professor of History
Dartmouth College

Diana Paton
Reader in Caribbean History
Newcastle University, UK

Hector Perla
Assistant Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies
University of California, Santa Cruz

Deborah Poole
Professor, Anthropology
Johns Hopkins University

Suyapa G. Portillo Villeda
CFD Fellow, History Department
Pomona College

Gerardo Renique
Associate Professor, Department of History
City College of the City University of New York

William I. Robinson
Professor of Sociology and
Global and International Studies
University of California-Santa Barbara

Dr. Victor M. Rodriguez
Professor, Department of Chicano and Latino Studies
California State University, Long Beach

Dr. T.M. Scruggs
School of Music
University of Iowa

Victor Silverman
Department of History
Pomona College

Steve Striffler
Doris Zemurray Stone Chair in Latin American Studies
Professor of Anthropology
University of New Orleans

Christy Thornton
Director and Publisher
North American Congress on Latin America

Miguel Tinker Salas
Professor of History
Pomona College

Mark Weisbrot
Center for Economic and Policy Research

John Womack, Jr.
Professor of History, Emeritus
Harvard University

Stephen Zunes
University of San Francisco

*Institutional affiliations are listed for identification purposes only.

Los Angeles, California
Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
"Cuba - Un Paraso bajo el bloqueo"
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