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160 the minnesota review Secreto Militar by Roberto Sosa. Tegucigalpa, Honduras: Editorial Guaymuras, n.d. Like many of his colleagues in Nicaragua, the Honduran poet Roberto Sosa is of the Left, an anti-gringo. The recent history of his country he sees as, essentially, a sell-out by its greedy ruling classes to the Norte Empire. He's also a first-rate Uterary critic and journalist , who has pubUshed brief discursive essays on nearly all the major Latin American poets of this century, who has sought to rediscover and publicize works of his Honduran Uterary ancestors and contemporaries. Sosa is a man in his middle fifties, who Uves in Tegucigalpa, the capital, where his work appears in Uterary reviews he edits and, occasionally, in the newspaper press. Though he is beginning to be pubUshed in translation in German, English, as weU as in Spanish outside Honduras, and has a sizeable reputation as a national poet, his books of poetry continue to appear first in Honduras, in the small handsome inexpensive editions of Editorial Guaymuras, in downtown Tegoo. One of Sosa's most recent publications is Secreto Militar (Military Secret), a sequence of brief polemical poems about the bloody history of the Caribbean basin and Central America, and its U.S.-imposed tyrannies. The poems are important for their outspokenness , and for the assumptions they make about their audience's shared animosities toward the U.S. in the Southern Hemisphere. Honduras is a U.S. satrap; and in Tegoo, in the very belly ofthe whale of empire, we are seen as "an enemy ofhumankind'' in Central America, as the Sandinista official anthem has put it. Sosa's sequence begins with a recoUection of the slaugher of 30,000 SalvadoreƱos in 1932 by the Salvadoran military with U.S. gunboats standing by at sea, "a new inferno beneath the sun." It's a poem of bloodletting in which the word "sangre" appears almost as often as definite articles: "the blood is excited ... the maximum trembling splendor of blood ... the smokey eyes ofthe President of the United States injected with blood ..." The last Unes are: "It was the year '32. And there's no forgetting." Subsequent poems in this sequence are wry or bitter about Honduran dictator Carias, about Duvalier of Haiti, about TrujiUo, about the blowing up of Tacho Somoza in Asuncion , Paraguay, in 1980. In "Guatemala Country of Eternal Spring," he epitomizes former dictator, General Rios Mont, the evangelistic murderer of the Quiche Maya, as a "boa constrictor ." This is foUowed by poems about Pinochet of ChUe and Stroessner of the selfsame Paraguay. Parts II and III of "Military Secrets" are almost exclusively about Honduran reaUty, about the "hands of arrogant hidden thieves in its banks," about his birthplace, Yoro, and a beloved teacher who instructed him that the Carias "Constitution was pure baloney." In "Military Secret," Sosa echoes a 19th century Honduran poet who said its history could be inscribed inside a tear: "The history of Honduras can be inscribed inside a bullet, on a gunshot wound, or, better, in a drop of blood." Sosa's earlier poetry was marked by compassion and sensitivity for the plight of the impoverished Honduran masses. He won the International Adonais prize for "Los Pobres" ("The Poor"), which envisioned urban begging children as having the faces of "indignant Gods." His increasing radicaUzation and solidarity with revolutionary movements, his antigringoism and alienated leftism, is a litmus for the deterioration of poUtical reaUty in Central America. Things have gotten much worse over a decade or so. With growing inflation, impoverishment, assassination, the U.S. has launched a bloody and irrational counterrevolution against Nicaragua, has supported Indian genocide in Guatemala, and is proppoing up a corrupt oligarchy in Salvador. After such knowledge, what forgiveness? Honduras is the poorest of all the Central American nations, and, though nominally a repubUc it is still run by the military, the fat cats, and the G-2, who torture and kill "subversives ." It harbors thousands of American troops as a supposed bulwark against Sandinista adventurism, or for an invasion, and it is also a depot for murderous contras in their incursions across its southern frontier. It has murdered refugees from...


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