Julio Pino

Photo courtesy of Kent State University

A Kent State professor who made headlines earlier this semester for his August letter on conflict in Israel and Palestine resigned from the editorial board of Latin American Perspectives, an academic journal that studies Central and South American politics.

Julio Pino, an associate history professor said he received a letter from his fellow editors at the journal, whom he called “Yankee stooges and frightened, flinching pussycats,” near the end of October telling him to apologize and retract his statements. If he did not, he said they would force him to resign from the board.

Pino, who studies Latin American history and economically developing nations, said he strongly opposed retracting his statements and submitted his resignation Nov. 2 to watchdog.org, an organization that published his statements from August, on Nov. 2.

“I wasn’t going to give them that benefit,” he said. “It was my decision (to resign) and my decision alone.”

Pino sent a letter to History News Network, an academic online publication run by George Mason University in Fairfax, Virgina, that was published Aug. 2. In the letter, Pino said he held pro-Israel scholars on the website responsible for the deaths of Palestinians in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

In his resignation letter, Pino directly attacked his fellow editors for allegedly ignoring the deaths of Israelis.

“You heard the screams, my fellow editors of Latin American Perspectives,” he said in the letter. “You saw the anguish in the baby girl’s face.”

As a member of the editorial board, Pino was responsible for reviewing manuscripts submitted to the journal, said Aiskell Roman, coordinating secretary for Latin American Perspectives.

Pino, a convert to Islam, said he believes the reason the journal asked for his resignation is because of its political leanings.

“They won’t admit to this, of course, but they are pro-Israel,” Pino said.

He said he did not want to remain at a publication that censored him.

“It’s gone beyond the issue of Israel,” he said. “If I stayed in contact with them, I would be working for a journal that believes in censorship and censoring members of the editorial board who aren’t toeing the line.”

The journal released a statement addressing Pino, his statements and his resignation.

“(Latin American Perspective) is committed to full and critical discussion and debate both within the academic community and in the broader public sphere, and supports the academic freedom to hold and defend views that may be controversial,” the journal said. “This summer, Pino wrote a letter personally attacking a fellow editor which was also sent to the president of that editor’s university. We rejected those actions as unprofessional and violations of the collegiality we expect from all our editors. A public attack on the journal was his response. We will not engage in a public controversy with Pino and have no further comment now that he has no association with the journal.”

Latin American Perspectives, founded in 1974, is “a theoretical and scholarly journal for discussion and debate on the political economy of capitalism, imperialism and socialism in the Americas,” according to its website.

Contact Emily Mills at emills11@kent.edu.

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