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Grassroots International Among Signers on Honduras Statement

#Articles & Analysis#Human Rights Defense
July 2009


Grassroots International joined other organizations and scholars in issuing the statement below.

For Immediate Release: July 20, 2009
Contact: Dan Beeton, (202) 239-1460

Washington, D.C. – 56 representatives of organizations and academic experts on Latin America and scholars issued the following statement today:

The Obama administration’s recent statements are endangering the lives of Hondurans, including the president Manuel Zelaya. From the Wall Street Journal, July 18, 2009:

“A senior U.S. official said Friday the Obama administration continues to stress to Mr. Zelaya its opposition to him trying to return. The official said Washington fears another attempt by Mr. Zelaya could reignite political tensions while undercutting efforts to find a negotiated settlement. ‘Zelaya is well aware of our position,” the official said.’”

Such statements are very disturbing, especially combined with the fact that the administration has not issued a single warning to the coup government, which has already shot and killed peaceful demonstrators, that such human rights abuses are unacceptable.

In fact, there has not been a single statement from the Obama administration since President Zelaya was overthrown on June 28, condemning the violations of human rights and civil liberties committed by the coup government. These violations include shootings and beatings; arrests, intimidation and deportation of journalists; and the closing of independent radio and TV stations. These abuses have been documented and condemned by the Inter American Commission for Human Rights, by human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, and a report from the Honduran Committee for the Relatives of the Disappeared Detainees.

President Zelaya is, as President Obama has pointed out, the legitimate president of Honduras. He is also a Honduran citizen, and has the right to return to his country. The United States government should be defending democracy in Honduras, and the civil and human rights of its citizens – not trying to make it look as though those who defend these rights are doing something wrong.

The Obama administration’s position puts it outside the consensus of the hemisphere and the world, which has called – through the OAS and the UN General Assembly — for the “immediate and unconditional” reinstatement of President Zelaya. The repeated refusals of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, when asked by the press, to say that the United States government also seeks Zelaya’s reinstatement have further muddied the waters about where the administration stands. Such ambiguity feeds the resolve of the dictatorship to try and run out the clock on President Zelaya’s remaining months in office.

The United States has trained and funded the Honduran army; the generals who led the coup were trained at the School of the Americas in Ft. Benning, Georgia; the Obama administration by its own admission was in discussions with the Honduran military up to the day before the coup. All of this places greater responsibility on the administration to help reverse this coup. Yet the administration has refused to take even modest steps such as freezing the bank accounts of the perpetrators, despite appeals from the legitimate government of Honduras and from civil society.

We call on President Obama to condemn the human rights abuses committed by the dictatorship, and to make it clear that violence against the civilian population is a crime that will not be tolerated by the international community; and to make it clear to his own State Department that the United States government stands with the Honduran people and all other governments, for the immediate and unconditional return of the elected President of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya.


Tim Anderson
University of Sydney

William Avilés
Associate Professor of Political Science
University of Nebraska, Kearney

Nikhil Aziz
Executive Director
Grassroots International

Elizabeth Bast
International Program Director
Friends of the Earth U.S.

Jules Boykoff
Associate Professor of Politics and Government
Pacific University

Oscar A. Chacón
Executive Director
National Alliance of Latin American & Caribbean Communities

James D. Cockcroft
Honorary Editor
Latin American Perspectives

Lauren Coodley
Professor of History
Napa Valley College

Pablo Delano
Professor of Fine Arts
Trinity College
Hartford CT

Arturo Escobar
Professor of Anthropoology
UNC, Chapel Hill

Linda Farthing
Journalist, independent scholar

Mario D. Fenyo
Professor of History
Bowie State University

Luis Figueroa
Associate Professor of History
Trinity College
Hartford, Connecticut

Bill Fletcher, Jr.
Executive Editor

Dana Frank
Professor of History
University of California, Santa Cruz

Gavin Fridell
Assistant Professor, Department of Politics
Trent University

Gilbert G. Gonzalez
Professor Emeritus
University of California, Irvine

Manu Goswami
Department of History
New York University

Greg Grandin
Professor of History
New York University

Peter Hallward
Professor of Modern European Philosophy
Middlesex University, UK

Art Heitzer
National Lawyers Guild Cuba Subcommittee

Doug Hertzler
Associate Professor of Anthropology
Eastern Mennonite University

Katherine Hoyt
Nicaragua Network

Forrest Hylton
Assistant Professor, Political Science and International Relations
Universidad de los Andes (Bogota)

James Jordan
Campaign for Labor Rights

Gil Joseph
Farnam Professor of History and International Studies
Yale University

Chuck Kaufman
Alliance for Global Justice

Benjamin Kohl
Associate Professor and Undergraduate Chair
Geography and Urban Studies
Temple University

Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus (Economics)
Simon Fraser University, Canada

Eric LeCompte
SOA Watch

John Lindsay-Poland
Latin America Program Director
Fellowship of Reconciliation

Florencia E. Mallon
Julieta Kirkwood Professor of History
University of Wisconsin

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

Frederick B. Mills
Professor of Philosophy
Bowie State University

Kirsten Moller
Executive Director
Global Exchange

Robert Naiman
Policy Director
Just Foreign Policy

Diane M. Nelson
Department of Anthropology
Duke University

Héctor Perla Jr.
Assistant Professor of Latin American & Latino Studies
University of California, Santa Cruz

Adrienne Pine
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
American University

Beatrice Pita
Faculty Supervisor for lower division Spanish
Dept. of Literature
University of California, San Diego

Vijay Prashad
George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History and Professor of International Studies
Trinity College

Peter Ranis
Professor Emeritus
CUNY Graduate Center

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

Milla Riggio
James J. Goodwin Professor of English
Coordinator, Trinity-in-Trinidad Global Learning Site
Member, Executive Board of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics

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

Rosaura Sanchez
Professor, Department of Literature
University of California, San Diego

T.M. Scruggs
School of Music
University of Iowa

Kent Spriggs
School of the Americas Watch

Richard Stahler-Sholk
Professor, Political Science
Eastern Michigan University

Miguel Tinker Salas
Professor of History
Pomona College

Steven Topik
Professor of History
University of California Irvine

Alberto Toscano
Lecturer in Sociology
Goldsmiths, University of London

Maurice L. Wade
Professor of Philosophy, International Studies, and Graduate Public Policy Studies
Trinity College
Hartford, CT

Jeffery R. Webber
Assistant Professor, Political Science
University of Regina, Canada

Mark Weisbrot
Center for Economic and Policy Research

John Womack, Jr.
Professor of History Emeritus
Harvard University

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