LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES ASSOCIATION (LASA) RESOLUTION ON HONDURAS
The Latin American Studies Association (LASA) is the largest professional association in the world for individuals and institutions engaged in the study of Latin America and the Caribbean With over 6,000 members, forty-five percent of whom reside outside the United States, LASA is the one Association that brings together experts on Latin America from all disciplines and diverse occupational endeavors, across the globe. For decades, LASA members have spoken in defense of democracy and human rights in the Western Hemisphere and in support of peaceful and respectful relations among states in the region.
Whereas: the military coup of June 2009 that removed democratically elected President José Manuel Zelaya was an illegal and undemocratic act that ruptured constitutional government in Honduras and was condemned by every multilateral Latin American body, the United Nations, and the European Union; and
Whereas: the United States failed to join the Organization of American States and UN General Assembly in calling for "the immediate and unconditional return" of President Zelaya; and
Whereas: the United States officially failed to declare President Zelaya’s removal a “military coup,” which would have triggered section 7008 of the US Foreign Operations Law requiring the termination of most U.S. assistance to Honduras and took no other decisive actions to oppose the coup and return President Zelaya to office, such as withdrawing the U.S. ambassador, freezing the bank accounts of the coup leaders, and imposing trade sanctions;
Whereas: the United States undercut the attempt of the OAS to resolve the crisis and instead ensured undue U.S. influence by selecting its own mediator; and
Whereas: the United States has continued close relations with the Honduran military, including operation of the Joint Task Force-Bravo located at Soto Cano (Palmerola) Air Base and training of Honduran officers at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC,) formerly the United States' School of the Americas (SOA) at Fort Benning, GA; and
Whereas: the leader of the coup, General Romeo Vásquez, and five other generals linked to the coup are alumni of WHINSEC; and
Whereas: the procedures of the November 2009 election occurred in an environment in which constitutional guarantees were not uniformly respected but was nevertheless legitimized by the Obama administration and praised by the secretary of state; and
Whereas: the violent repression of coup opponents, members of popular organizations, women, and journalists in the aftermath the coup has continued with impunity under the government of President Porfirio Lobo; now therefore let it be
1.) The Latin American Studies Association considers that U.S. policy toward Honduras represents a serious setback for democratic governance in the hemisphere and a dangerous precedent for the future;
2.) The Latin American Studies Association urges the U.S. government to do everything possible to uphold the rights of all Honduran citizens to engage in political activity and of journalists to report freely without intimidation or repression, including full implementation of the protective measures for journalists and members of the political opposition and their families called for by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights;
3.) The Latin American Studies Association urges the U.S. government to respond positively to the critiques of the U.S.- supported official Truth Commission that have been raised by the Honduran Platform for Human Rights to ensure that there is a full, impartial and internationally credible investigation of human rights abuses from the coup until the present;
4.) The Latin American Studies Association urges that the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation be closed.
This resolution will be mailed to President Barack Obama, all members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Arturo Valenzuela, the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times.