Our friends Joseph Richey and his wife Anne Becher translated this call by a collective of Central American Poetry Festivals in hopes of extending its reach. Please distribute widely and consider signing on, since, as Joseph says “It would mean a lot to those in Honduras and throughout Central America. Sometimes it’s as simple as an acknowledgment that we are attentive to what is going on when these political catastrophes begin.” To sign on in solidarity, please send an email to Norberto Salinas norberto@festivaldepoesiacr.
A Call from Central America:
Quetzaltenango, San Salvador, Panamá, San José, Medellín, July 1, 2009
In response to events in Honduras, both before and after the coup d’etat, the organizers of the following international poetry festivals: Festival Internacional de Poesía de Quetzaltenango, el Encuentro Permanente de Poetas de El Salvador, el Encuentro de Poetas de Panamá, el Festival Internacional de Poesía de Costa Rica y el Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellín, released this statement on July 1st 2009.
I. The coup demonstrates the fragility of democracy in Honduras. In Honduras the powerful economic groups that governed previously in collusion with the armed forces claim unconditional powers and are backing the coup before Congress and in the media, waving a fake resignation from President Zelaya and his Cabinet to justify the installation of a new regime.
II. We repudiate the farce that has been whipped up about the supposed illegality of the non-binding referendum proposed by President Zelaya, to justify the violent coup d’etat against a legitimate government that was elected at the polls. We remember the line by Honduran poet Roberto Sosa: I entered my country’s house of justice and found a snake charmer’s temple.
III. We are concerned about the hubris of coup supporters blocking international and independent news, intimidating the population with the deployment of military force in the streets and curfews, the forced conscription of hundreds of young men into Obligatory Military Service, which was abolished in Honduras during the liberal administration of Carlos Roberto Reina (1994-1998) and the imposition of martial law. All of these actions, in conjunction with the establishment of a new regime, have brought their nation to the brink of a potentially fatal outcome.
IV. If this coup succeeds, it would open the door to other groups from the Americas and other parts of the world, to violate the right to democracy, and to return to dark times that we believed we had overcome.
V. As writers and as organizations that believe in humanity, we convoke poets of the world to raise their voice in defense of human dignity. Renounce every act of violence against the Honduran people.
Our call to international governing bodies and to elected governments: demand that the authors of the coup halt their repression immediately and reinstate Manuel Zelaya Rosales as the legitimate president of Honduras that he is, recognized by the United Nations, and every international organization and government in the world.
Translated by Joseph Richey and Anne Becher
July 5, 2009