Civic and political leaders in New Orleans took steps this month towards support and recognition of the illegal and anti-democratic government of Honduran coup-supporter Porfirio Lobo Sosa. In a meeting reported in the Tulane University newspaper The Hullabaloo, local education leaders pledged cooperation with the illegal government, which violently overthrew the elected government of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya on June 28, 2009. Sosa was installed in office in a 2009 election organized by coup leaders that is still not recognized by many Latin American countries.
According the report in the September 17 Hullabaloo, "President Sosa joined Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Tulane President Scott Cowen and representatives from University of New Orleans, Loyola University, Dillard University, Xavier University, Southern University of New Orleans and Louisiana State University in signing a memorandum of understanding. The memorandum formalizes their commitment to move forward by working together in three key areas: healthcare, public education and student exchange."
Coup leader Sosa - who's daughter is enrolled at UNO - seems especially interested in the privatization of health care and education, and in following the example of New Orleans in firing 7,500 public school employees and ceasing recognition of their union. “We’ve had a huge problem with teachers’ unions,” said Mayra Pineda, former Consul General and current liaison between the Honduran government and New Orleans city officials. “Charter schools are certainly one option to try to solve the union situation.”
Apparently, none of New Orleans' local leaders took the opportunity of the meeting to express concern over the charges that the coup government has assassinated journalists and other opposition leaders. “About 80 percent of our students are from New Orleans, and many, for financial reasons, can’t go abroad,” said outgoing UNO Chancellor Tim Ryan. “So to be exposed to Latin Americans in their classes provides a tremendous learning experience.”