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Monday, August 3, 2009

Honduran Coup: Information for Spanish Community Service-Learning Students


by Ann Abbott

Globalization101.org is a great resource for instructors and students. It provides an even-handed and thorough discussion of the basics of globalization and issue briefs on discrete points that illuminate the workings of globalization in one specific region or on a specific issue. Since our Spanish community service-learning (CSL) students deal with many recent immigrations, knowledge about globalization can help them put these population movements into perspective.

I received Globalization 101's newsletter today, and they announced several new and fascinating "news analyses," including one about the Honduran Coup: A Coup in Honduras, A Polarized Society, which analyzes the recent coup and the subsequent international response.

Although smaller in number than immigrants from Mexico and Guatemala, Illinois does have many Honduran immigrants. (You can use US Census data to find information about the number of Hondurans in your community.) If your students work with Hondurans, it is important that they be aware of the stress the might be going through right now. It is a very tense situation, and it is not clear at all what the ultimate outcome will be. People are deeply divided--some supporting Zelaya and others Michiletti--causing arguments even within families. If economic sanctions are imposed, an already very poor population will suffer even more, making the remittances of Hondurans outside of the country even more important.

Here is a possible classroom activity:
  1. Pre-reading. Write the word "Honduras" in the middle of board and make a concept map with all the information your students know about the country and the current situation. (Don't be surprised if students know very little; that observation alone is a good starting point for a lesson.)

  2. During the reading. Have students read the article from Globalization101.org and answer the following questions: Who is the elected President? Who is the acting President? What is the US's stance? What would have been a more democratic reaction to Zelaya's power grab?

  3. Post-reading. Ask students to imagine possible consequences of this on-going situation for Hondurans living in the US (feelings, actions, needs, etc.). Then ask them how they can serve in the community in a culturally-appropriate way now that they know this information (if they didn't before).

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