Professor Suyapa Portillo Villeda ’96 Explores Honduran Resistance Movement in New Book

Rethinking Latin American Social MovementsClaremont, Calif. (February 6, 2015)—Pitzer College Professor Suyapa Portillo Villeda ’96 examines the Honduran organized resistance movement and its historical antecedents in a chapter in a new book, Rethinking Latin American Social Movements: Radical Action from Below.

In “Honduras: Refounding the Nation, Building a New Kind of Social Movement,” Portillo looks at the sociopolitical map of the resistance movement in the Central American country and provides a historical context for the development of the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP), a grassroots coalition which formed after the 2009 coup d’etat that deposed elected President Manuel Zelaya.

“I contend that the resistance movement is different from what has been seen in Honduras before because of the involvement of new sectors, which challenge and compete for space along with other marginalized actors now at the center of mobilization (i.e., women, ethnic groups, and LGBTTI communities),” Portillo writes.

Portillo is one of more than a dozen scholars who contributed to Rethinking Latin American Social Movements: Radical Action from Below, which explores the dramatic evolution in Latin American social movements over the past 15 years. Contributing writers examine a variety of cases that highlight significant shifts in the region. The authors consider the variations between movements arising from immediate circumstances (such as Oaxaca’s 2006 uprising and Brazil’s 2013 bus fare protests) and longer-lasting movements (Vía Campesina, Brazil’s MST and Mexico’s Zapatistas).

Portillo is an assistant professor of Chicano/a-Latino/a transnational studies at Pitzer College. A native of Honduras, she writes extensively about the labor movement and gender issues in the Central American country as well as immigration and transnational social movements in the region. Her current research focuses on the Great Banana strike of 1954 in Honduras, exploring how the striking workers influenced the formation of the country’s labor movement and the nation as a whole.

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