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Charles R. Hale, Director SRH 1.310, 2300 Red River Street D0800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512.471.5551

Forum to Address Implications of Honduran Coup

Posted: October 13, 2009

On June 28, 2009, the Honduran army removed President Manuel Zelaya from power and sent him (at gunpoint) into exile to Costa Rica, while a provisional civilian government was installed with Roberto Micheletti, the president of the Honduran Congress, at the helm.

The first military coup in Central America since the end of the cold war not only ignited political turmoil in Honduras, one of the poorest countries in the hemisphere, it also has led to diplomatic tensions through the region. Considering the enormous impact that the crisis in Honduras has had on human rights and democratic stability, as well as on international relations, the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS) is organizing a one-day forum entitled Military Coup or Constitutional Succession? Foro Urgente on Honduras, which will take place on Monday, October 19, 2009, at The University of Texas at Austin.

The event will bring together guest speakers from both Honduras and the United States to analyze the constitutionality of the coup and its implications for the rule of law and democracy, to discuss the relationship between civil society and the state in Honduras in its aftermath, and to assess the international community's response to the crisis.

Among other distinguished speakers, the event will feature the presence of Mr. Jorge Reina, Honduras's Ambassador to the United Nations.  In July 2009, after being notified by the interim government of President Roberto Micheletti that he was fired, Mr. Reina refused to recognize the legitimacy of the Micheletti administration and continued to occupy his post.  The forum also will feature Michael Shifter, an analyst with the Inter-American Dialogue, a think-tank based in Washington designed to address hemispheric issues, who will discuss the U.S. response to the coup.  An important element of the event will be the presense of two speakers from Honduras, who will provide firsthand accounts of the internal turmoil, overall human rights situation, and civil society resistance to the coup that emerged after Zelaya's exile.  Miriam Miranda, an activist in the indigenous and Afro-descendant movements in Honduras, is one of the national leaders of the Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña (OFRANEH), a group dedicated to promoting the rights of the Garífuna minority in the country.  Dario Euraque was the Director of the Instituto Hondureño de Antropología e Historia until he was fired by the Micheletti government.  He is also Professor of History and International Studies at Trinity College in the U.S.  Finally, professors Zachary Elkins and Jeffrey Tulis of the Department of Government at UT Austin will discuss the legal framework in which the constitutional crisis took place and the future of Honduran democracy.

In addition to the forum, LLILAS is also organizing an informal dinner to discuss the crisis with the local Honduran community and any others who are interested.  The event will take place on Sunday, October 18, at 6:30 p.m., at the restaurant El Mercado South (1302 South First Street).

Complete program of the October 19 forum is available online.

For more information on both events, contact Paloma Diaz at 512.232.2409.

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