Simon Schwartzman, 04/20/2016
The Latin American Studies Association (LASA) prides itself on its mission to serve as a forum for scholars and practitioners of diverse academic and political perspectives to discuss and debate issues of relevance to Latin America. Moreover, LASA is highly respectful of the political and social processes in each country in the region. For this reason we would never consider disqualifying a reputable academic from participation based on his or her political position. We now feel obliged to reiterate this policy, given that we have received opposing petitions to rescind or reconfirm our invitation to Dr. Fernando Henrique Cardoso to participate in LASA ‘s 50th Anniversary Congress in New York City this coming May. Cardoso is scheduled to participate in a presidential panel along with other speakers that will debate the challenges that have faced the development of democracy in Latin America over the past half century. Those who request that we cancel our invitation base their petition on the public position that Dr. Cardoso has taken in recent Brazilian political events, most notably the contested impeachment of the current President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff. Those who request that we reconfirm our invitation to Dr. Cardoso argue the same reason as their principal rationale.