Thursday, July 23, 2009

Trujillo Diocesan Communiqué

Communiqué of the Diocese of Trujillo

to the Honduran People in the face of the political and social crisis
we are living in Honduras

“Therefore, put on the weapons of God to be able to resist the ill-fated day and remain firm in spite of everything. Gird yourself with the belt of truth, clothe yourself with the armor of justice, and put on the sandals of zeal in order to propagate the Good News of peace.”
Ephesians 6, 13-15

As a diocese which has historically made a preferential option for the poor, we wish to share these thoughts in the search for TRUTH, which is so needed in order to put aside certain intransigent attitudes and facilitate dialogue which we all ought to practice in regard to making the common good real.


1.1. Historical Antecedents

The present crisis is the result of a series of violations of the Constitution and of the laws which have happened in the last decades which were caused by the political class and at times forced [on the country] by groups of the economic powers. There is a concept that sums up all these attitudes: CORRUPTION. In our diocese of Trujillo, this corruption has abetted all the negative consequences which provoke the problem, never resolved, of land ownership; for example, the old Regional Military Training Center (CREM) [and] the Campesino Movement on the Valley of Sico-Paulaya, which has cost several human lives, the threats to the Garifuna to expropriate their land ,and the ownership of the best lands in the hands of a few. This reality has unleashed inequality and violence in our region. In addition, the presence of drug trafficking has seriously deteriorated the life of the population and has acquired such strength as to raise the fear that Honduras is being converted into a drug-state.

1.2. Current antecedents

The actions of June 28 are the result of a series of clashes of the executive power/branch with the legislative and judicial branches/powers [of the government] and of the actions of Mr. José Manuel Zelaya contrary to the decisions of the Supreme Court of Justice and the Supreme Electoral Commission. They are also the result of the lack in Honduras of a constitutional tribunal to solve the confrontations which can happen among the three powers of the state. Nevertheless, we condemn the expatriation of Mr. José Manual Zelaya brought about by the Armed Forces. Equally we condemn dictatorial attitudes which violate the freedom of the press and manipulate the means of communication, electrical outages, and the restriction of individual guarantees, etc., because they are illegal attempts against the Constitution of the Republic and the rights of citizens. The interpretation of the legality and illegality of these actions have divided the Honduran people. And, not only that, we find ourselves divided by the different ways of conceiving democracy, of holding opinions about the need or lack of need to reform the Constitution or write a new one. [We also condemn] antagonistic attitudes which ought not be allowed to break up the unity of Hondurans.


1. The majority of the population has stopped believing in the authorities because of the extent of corruption with which these authorities act or which they simply permit. The lack of true political leadership is a cause for concern and in this situation the populism of Mr. Zelaya has had a strong impact on a good part of the people. Populist steps do not always directly benefit the people. In many cases it happens that the government, instead of coming near the people in order to assist them, is served by the people in order to be the one who is assisted.
2. There does not exist in the political class, in general, the will to confront the grave problems which debase the population, especially the poorest.
3. From the time of it approval in 1982, the Constitution has been violated on many occasions and neither the organs of the State which ought to avoid this nor the people have acted in its defense. But in the last few years the consciousness of the citizens has been changing in regard to respect for the [Constitution] and the right to real participation in democratic life as the demonstrations of these days reveal.
4. Inevitably, the economic crisis has had an impact on Honduras. Nevertheless, the government of Mr. Zelaya did not pose a strategic plan to hold it in check nor have the groups with economic power been willing to sacrifice their profits. The current political crisis will cause our economy to crash even more.


Once the first confrontations between the partisans of the return to power of Mr. Zelaya and those opposed to it were past, demonstrations have been happening in a more orderly way. And only in this climate will it be possible to dialogue. It is not possible when one part acts with violence. Nor does dialogue have to be dependent on the number of persons there are on each side nor by hidden interests. When TRUTH is sought, this will not be found exclusively with one group and, at times, not even with the side that has more people. The manner in which we overcome the present crisis and the consequences which it will leave us depend on the ability to dialogue at all levels.

A point of agreement in all the population is the need to respect the Constitution and to not permit it to be violated. In the year 2004 the National Congress of the Republic eliminated all immunity in the face of the law. The current crisis also allows us the lesson of the need and the right which the people have to participate in framing the laws by which they should be governed and not only the obligation to comply with the laws. As Jesus affirmed, “The Sabbath is made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Cfr. Mark 2:27) and thus the human being has been created not to comply with the laws but the laws are to serve the dignity of the human being.

The crisis also leaves us with the lesson that the growing political consciousness of the citizens is a force which neither the political parties nor members of the government have valued. This consciousness among the citizenry has reminded us that it belongs to all of us to resolve the problems of our fatherland. We acknowledge that we are part of the international community, but nevertheless we are conscious that we Hondurans ought to be the protagonists of our future.

Article 5 of the Constitution of the Republic says:
“The Government must be based on the principle of participatory democracy which is at the heart of national integration, which implies the participation of all political sectors in the public administration [government] to ensure and strengthen the progress of Honduras based on political stability and national reconciliation.”
The present crisis has be converted into the opportunity to go forward and make real a real and participatory democracy, going beyond a merely formal democracy which is merely electoral and representative.

It is their responsibility to provide impartial and objective information in order to come close to the TRUTH. Lately we have seen partiality in the news, the repression of some means of communication and the suspension of the right of free expression.


a) It is urgent to develop a National Plan, fruit of a national consensus, which includes a social compact. The efforts of the government and of all its institutions, as well as organized civil society ought to be working toward this. Dialogue which facilitate this national plan has to be transparent and be made known to the whole population.

b) It is necessary to enter into a legal process where the people are consulted about possible and necessary Constitutional reforms in order that citizenship participation be real in our democracy. It ought to be a necessary condition for the candidates in the next elections, even if they are moved forward, to declare their intentions in regard to bringing about this process which ought to be started during the first year of the next government [administration].

c) There shall be a guarantee for the future of the Nation that the pertinent institutions of the State investigate if there exist acts of corruption not only in the government of Mr. José Manuel Zelaya Rosales and earlier governments but also in state institutions for the purpose of construing responsibilities.

d) We ought not waste our energies in the battle over whether or not Mr. Zelaya returns as president or if Mr. Micheletti goes or not, but in wagering on making Honduras a better nation. We will only achieve this if we – the citizenry and the political class – begin to share a vision of the county that will be for the good of all and if we exercise the moral right to veto so many corrupt leaders and politicians.


“Be reconciled with God!” 2 Corinthians 5: 20

We exhort the Honduran people to put aside attitudes of rejection and accept the paths of RECONCILIATION. Reconciliation does not mean ceasing to apply justice or renouncing the pursuit and defense of what we believe is the TRUTH. Reconciliation consists in being able to sit around the same table to continue to find paths we can walk as brothers/sisters and fellow citizens, toward a better future for everyone.
We urge the people of our diocese of Trujillo, in the departments of Colón and Gracias a Dios not to close themselves in by an obsession with a person, or political party or ideology, but
  • to struggle to improve the quality of education.
  • to seek conciliatory positions in the search for solutions of land ownership.
  • to dialogue with the government about the need to improve the road systems.
  • to demand from the government a plan for the cultural, economic, and social development of the Moskitia.
  • that the respective authorities guarantee the security of citizens and that they act in accord with the law to stop the presence of drug-trafficking in the region.
  • that they return to the problem of deforestation in our departments not only decommissioning wood already cut but also stopping the cutting of our forest reserves and the destruction of the environment.
And we remind the Christian people to pray always and in every moment since we ought to be instruments of harmony, peace, and unity.

Given in the city of Trujillo, July 10, 2009

The extended presbytery, Diocese of Trujillo, Honduras

Spanish text at <> and <>

There were also a few phrases referring to groups or events that I am not familiar with.
Suggestions to improve this translation are most welcome.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Trujillo Diocesan Communiqué (partial)

About July 6, the priests and men and women religious of the diocese of Trujillo in northeastern Honduras issued a communiqué .

It begins:

“As a diocese which has historically made a preferential option for the poor, we wish to share these thoughts as a search for truth, which is so needed to put aside certain intransigent attitudes and facilitate dialogue which we all ought to practice in regard to making the common good real.”
… We exhort the Honduran people to put aside attitudes of rejection and accept the paths of reconciliation. Reconciliation does not mean ceasing to apply justice or renouncing the pursuit and defense of what we believe is the truth. Reconciliation consists in being able to sit around the same table to continue to find paths we can walk as brothers/sisters and fellow citizens, toward a better future for everyone.

It ends:
… “We urge the people of our diocese of Trujillo, in the departments of Colón and Gracias a Dios not to close themselves in by a person, or political party or ideology, but to struggle for our real problems:
  • Improve the quality of education.
  • Seek conciliatory positions in the search for solutions of land ownership.
  • Dialogue with the government about the need to improve the road systems.
  • Demand from the government a plan for the cultural, economic, and social development of the Moskitia.
  • That the respective authorities guarantee the security of citizens and that they act in accord with the law to stop the presence of drug-trafficking in the region.
  • That they return to the problem of deforestation in our departments not only decommissioning wood already cut but also stopping the cutting of our forest reserves and the destruction of the environment.”

La Patriota, an independent Honduran newpaper, reported in an on line article on July 20 that the document also comments on the coup directly. Even though I have not been able to get a copy of the actual statement to verify it, this is a translation of most of the article by María Orbelina López.

The present crisis is the result of a series of violations of the Constitution and of the laws which has happened in the last decades caused by the political class and at times forced [on the country] by groups of the economic powers, explained the Diocese of Trujilo through a communiqué.

After reviewing a series of acts of corruption which unleashed inequality and violence, it indicated that the events of June 28 are the result of a series of clashes among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches/powers [of the government] and the Supreme Electoral Commission, as well as the failure of the Constitutional Tribunal to solve the confrontations which can happen among the powers of the state.

Nevertheless, “we condemn the expatriation of Mr. José Manual Zelaya brought about by the Armed Forces because it is an attack against the Constitution of the Republic and the rights of Zelaya as a citizen. Equally we condemn the dictatorial attitudes which have been imposed on the population: violation of the freedom of the press and manipulation of the means of communication…”

The interpretation of the legality and illegality of these actions have divided the Honduran people. Also we find ourselves divided by the different ways of conceiving democracy, of holding opinions about the need or lack of need to reform the Constitution or write a new one. We should [not] convert antagonistic attitudes into irreconcilable [attitudes], and these ought not be allowed to break up the unity of Hondurans.

Further on, the communiqué notes, The majority of the population has stopped believing in the authorities because of the extent of corruption with which they act or which they simply permit. The lack of political leadership is a cause for concern and in this situation the populism of Mr. Zelaya has had a strong impact on a good part of the people.

Finally, we have seen the partiality of the news about the repression and the censure of some means of communication and the suspension of the right of free expression. This is not the way for us to understand each other and be able to dialogue.

From the time of it approval in 1982, the Constitution has been violated on many occasions and neither the organs of the State which ought to avoid this nor the people have acted in its defense. But in the last few years the consciousness of the citizens has been changing in regard to respect for the [Constitution] and the right to real participation in democratic life as the demonstrations of these days reveal.

Roe this diocese this crisis has left us with great lessons to learn: it is not possible to dialogue when one party acts with violence; all the population feels the need to respect the Constitution and not let it be violated; the need and the right which the people have to participate in the framing of the laws by which they are governed and not only the obligation to obey the laws.

At the same time it notes that the growing consciousness as citizens is a force which either the political parties nor members of the government have valued. We have proved that the intervention of other countries is neither objective nor without personal interest. We Hondurans ought to be the protagonists of our own future.

[The communiqué] proposes the need to enter into a legal process in which the people can be consulted about the possible and necessary constitutional reforms. It ought to be an absolutely necessary condition that all the candidates for the coming elections declare their intentions in order to bring about this process which ought to begin in the first year of the next government.


The first part of this blog was translated from an article found at

Central American Dominicans Provincial Statement



To all the communities of the Dominican Province of Saint Vincent Ferrer in Central America, to the Dominican Family in Central America, to the parish and pastoral communities which we accompany with our work and to all men and women who work for justice and peace in the world.


1. The arrest of the president of the Republic of Honduras on June 28 by the Armed Forces of that county, the violation of his home, his expulsion from the national territory, and the way this was carried out have presented themselves as the culmination of a series of conflicts which were happening in our brother country and to the outburst of a serious human and institutional crisis and a crisis of civilized living together which threatens the peace of the whole region.

2. The events which preceded such a serious breakdown of the social and political order are not limited, as has been presented in some news sources, only to the proposal of the president to conduct a consultation with which he was trying to obtain backing for [his proposal] to set up in the coming general elections in November a fourth ballot box in which the citizens would have to vote if they wanted to change the political Constitution. A series of conflicts had been building up between president Zelaya and various economic sectors during the last few months. The restructuring of the profit formulas for the international oil companies, the importation of generic drugs from Cuba at cheaper costs than those offered by the national and international pharmaceutical companies, the decision to raise the minimum wage – one of the lowest of the Isthmus – from $182 to $291 [a month], measures that favored the environment, vis-à-vis the mining companies, were some of the governmental measures which caused deep discontent among various private business groups who perceived these events as opposed to their interests and who were putting together a front against those who were governing.

3. From the moment of the removal of President Zelaya, not the least of the serious conflicts generated is the discussion on how to interpret the events as well as the polarization around such interpretations. While international leaders and organisms, such the General Assembly of the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights and other organizations, categorically speak of a coup d’état [golpe de estado, in Spanish] and condemned it, the defenders of the same [event] consider it to be a “legitimate succession” in power in conformity with the internal laws of Honduras. All this has created confusion in sectors of the Central American population in [regard to] news reports.

4. This has produced the International isolation of Honduras, the suspension of financial aid, the withdrawal of ambassadors of various nations – all of which raises the fear that, as is customary, this injures, to a great extent, the poorest and weakest, because the more powerful groups always have ways and resources to protect themselves from every type of crisis. The confrontation between the defenders of the institutional order and those who accept the de facto regime has reached the shedding of blood with the shooting by the military on the demonstrators who were in favor of the return of the President.

5. While those who broke up the institutional order consider that the increasing and dangerous influence of the governments of Venezuela, Nicaragua, and other members of ALBA was being brought to bear in Honduras, other sectors of the people and various analysts point to possible plotting, at least an ambiguous attitude, to put it moderately, by the US government in the face of the coup.


The call of history [History knocks]

6. As Dominicans we see in our Latin America the living testimony of the martyrs who have taken seriously their vocation to be witnesses of the truth. They summon us, as the Order of Preachers, above all, to take on the vocation of announcing and denouncing. This call is much stronger when human life and social living together are at stake.

7. But we are clear that the obligation to express our opinion, an obligation we share with the Church, ought to be founded in the ethical-religious level, not in the scientific-technical order. In these very days Pope Benedict XVI reminds us, citing earlier church teaching, that “The Church does not have technical solutions to offer and does not claim ‘to interfere in any way in the politics of States.’ She does, however, have a mission of truth to accomplish, in every time and circumstance, for a society that is attuned to man, to his dignity, to his vocation.” (Caritas in veritate, n. 9). Therefore our judgment in this moment cannot be either in the field of juridical-legal analysis or in the field of social-scientific analysis, neither of which belongs to us as Church.

8. Therefore, convinced that they are based on principles drawn from the Church’s Social Teaching, we present the considerations which we offer below in dialogue with other sectors of Church and society, looking to bring light to the action which is required in the face of the crisis in Honduras.

The criteria

9. In the first place, it is necessary to remember that in this conflict which originated in Honduras one finds groups with diverse ideologies, political partisanship, and social and economics interests and that, therefore, one must respect and start from the existence of this plurality. Nevertheless, one must insist very emphatically that one cannot accept the vision, as some have said, that there exist “two groups [bands],” “two parts,” in reference to the democratic institutional order, while the international consensus endorses the [political order] in terms of the conception of democracy and the defense of human rights. In terms of justice, institutions, and defense of human rights, it is not fitting to accept [the notion of] two “groups [bands]” nor some sort of negotiation under the penalty of destroying the premises needed for living together amidst the diversity of persons.

10. The Church has been forceful, in this respect, defending the identification and the proclamation of the rights of humans as one of the forces most relevant in responding effectively to the essential demands of human dignity (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 76). Likewise [it has been forceful] in affirming that the ultimate source of human rights is not found in the mere will of human beings, in the reality of the State, or in public powers, but in the very human person and in God their Creator (cf. Pacem in Terris). Therefore, it is completely unacceptable – as has been done in the “dismissal” of president Zelaya – to have recourse to or to apply any national legislation that does not conform to or is not subordinate to these rights. It is even much less acceptable to shield oneself in “states of exception” to commit actions which fail to respect human dignity. It is clear that Christians appreciate the democratic system to the extent that it assures the participation of all its citizens, gives them the possibility to elect their leaders and hold them accountable, and to replace them in a peaceful manner (cf. Centesimus annus, 46).

11. It is clear in the Catholic social teaching tradition that resort to resistance to a ruler, by means of armed forces, is only legitimate when there have evident been certain, serious and prolonged violation of fundamental rights – not when they have [only] been foreseen or supposed as possible; when all other recourses have been exhausted; without provoking worse disorders; when there is a firm chance of success and if it is impossible to foresee better reasonable solutions. None of this seems to have been considered by the authors of the coup d’état in Honduras. Let us quote the following paragraph in the encyclical “The Progress of Peoples” (31). In that text [Pope] Paul VI recalls the enormous dangers of insurrection against legitimate governments because “– except in the case of evident and prolonged tyranny which seriously attacks the fundamental rights of the person and dangerously harms the common good of a nation – [insurrection] engenders new injustices, introduces new imbalances, and provokes new destruction. A real evil cannot be combated at the cost of a greater evil.” The unanimous international condemnation of the coup in Honduras reveals the widespread perception that the change of the institutional order in Honduras creates threats, no only for peaceful and just living together within the country, but also for the fragile democratic system in the region. This, without a single doubt, is a greater evil which could be avoiding and which in every case remains subject to proof with due process.

12. Furthermore, one cannot separate the ethical-religious judgment of the coup from what one must formulate about the general widespread situation of Honduras and the solution of which ought to be made a first priority, not only for Catholics but also for all men and women of good will in the country, in particular those who govern. Let it be enough to recall certain facts: Honduras is one of the countries in this continent with the majority of the population suffering poverty and its effects, with high indices of inequality in the distribution of income per capita and in the concentration of per capita income per household. Only 38.2% of the households appear in the statistics as “non-poor” because they can cover their basic nutritional and other needs. The level of infant mortality averages 23 per 1000, but it is four times the national average in some rural departments [provinces/states]. For this country, the indicator of hope in life lies in even worse state in that education indicators, which, no matter how the scores are obtained, are among the lowest in the region. It is one of the countries of the isthmus which shows the greatest proportion of undernourished children, where low birth weight is one of the factors which precipitates malnutrition at later ages – the result, fundamentally, of prenatal malnutrition – and where relevant advances in the reduction of this indicator are not registered. The effects of malnutrition suffered in the preschool population is seen clearly in the accumulated deficit of stature in school children which exceeds 40%. And it is clear that one of the principal factor which impacts the deteriorated health situation is inadequate access to sanitation and water. Furthermore, a third of those who suffer from HIV-AIDS in all of Central America live in Honduras.

13. Will we Christians – and in particular we Friars Preachers [Domninicans] – be able to say that in Honduras we are announcing the God of life, Jesus who came “that we may have life and life in abundance”? Will Honduran political parties and leaders [be able to say] that they have made the defense of life their principal priority? Will the coup d’état have any relation with this social and economic situation which is so conflictive and unacceptable?

14. Whatever may be the response to these questions, we are convinced that the commitment to accompany the people of Honduras is not limited to this regrettable juncture of the break up of democratic institutions, but is extended to the journey toward overcoming these structural problems. A strengthening of political democracy – so dramatically wounded with the recent coup – will only be realized with the robust construction of an economic and social democracy.

15. But, in this journey, to define what has to be done – as [Pope] Paul VI taught clairvoyantly – this is not our privileged task, nor is it [the privileged task] of the bishops or the Pope. It is the Christian communities who are entrusted with “analyzing with objectivity the situation of their own country, to illuminate it with the light of the unchangeable Word of the Gospel, to deduce principles of reflections, norms of judgment and directives for action according to the social teachings of the Church as it has been elaborated throughout history … It belongs [to them], with the help of the Holy Spirit, in communion with their responsible bishops, in dialogue with all other Christians and all people of good will, to discern the choices and the commitments which are suitable to assume in order to make real the social, political mad economic transformations which are considered to be urgently needed in each case ( Octagesima adveniens, 4).


16. We call all religious and members of the Dominican Family in Central America to reject categorically, based on the principles stated here, the coup inflicted on the Honduran democratic institution and call for national and international support for the restoration of the same [the democratic institution] as soon as possible.

17. Likewise, we are called to effectively express our solidarity with those most in need, the poorest and the most excluded of the people of Honduras, who are also those who have been most affected -- sometimes even manipulated -- by critical situations like the present one.

18. We consider it very important to resume dialogue within the church in order to determine the common points which bring us to an act of commitment for peace, justice, and solidarity with the poorest. We agree with the Honduran bishops in regard to the need to “initiate a true dialogue among all the sectors of society so that we can arrive at constructive solutions.”

19. We also agree with the bishops that it is “necessary to globalize solidarity as a path that can help us overcome injustice and inequality.” We particularly ask the help of the Promoters of Justice and Peace in the continent so that we do not allow any of our countries to repeat again the alterations of democratic institutions which pull our societies back to the lamentable stages of our past history.

20. We ought to collaborate with the effort of civil society and politicians of good will so that the army of Honduras will avoid falling again into the acts which happened in the last few days.

21. As the Dominican family of Central America we can commit ourselves to create spaces for dialogue, reflection, and prayer, along the lines of justice and peace, to strengthen the identification and construction of common interests by means of justice, excluding all forms of violence.

22. it is urgent that our communities, in their reflection and action keep a watchful Gospel attitude, a culture and an ethic which are translated into actions which help prevent the repetition of these types of situations.

Joined with the Council of the Dominican province of Saint Vincent Ferrer of Central America, and the Centers devoted to Research CEDI (Heredia, Costa Rica), and AkKután (Cobán, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala).

Fr. Alexis Páez Ovares, O.P.
Provincial Prior
Central America

Fr. Carlos Flores, O.P.
Justice and Peace Promotor
Central America


This is an unofficial translation; the original in Spanish can be found at

This has been a difficult text for me to translate.
Corrections to the translation are eagerly welcomed.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Honduran Bishops Conference Statement

This statement of the Honduran Bishops Conference, dated July 3, 2009, was read on national television in Honduras, by Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, SDB, in the morning of July 4, 2009.

“Building from crisis”

1. Scarcely three weeks ago, in the Plenary Assembly of this Bishops’ Conference, we clearly stated that social justice, dialogue and consultation within the framework of the law are needs that our people ought to recognize and respect.

2. In the face of the situation of the last few days, we refer to the information which we have sought in the appropriate public records of the State (the Supreme Court of Justice, the National Congress, the Public Ministry, the Executive Power [Branch], the Supreme Electoral Tribunal) and many organizations of civil society. – Each and every one of the documents which have come into our hands show that the institutions of the Honduran democratic state are valid and that what it has executed in juridical-legal matters has been rooted in law. – The three powers of the State – Executive, Legislative, and Judicial – are legally and democratically valid in accord with the Constitution of the Republic of Honduras.
3. The Constitution of the Republic and the country’s administrative organs of justice lead us to conclude that:
a. In accord with what is considered in Article 239 of the Constitution of the Republic “Whoever proposes the reform” of this article “immediately ceases to hold his post and remains disqualified for ten years for any public function.” Therefore, the person sought, when he was captured, no longer held the position of President of the Republic.
b. Dated June 26, 2009, the Supreme Court of Justice, unanimously named an already sitting judge who issued an arrest warrant for the citizen President of the Republic of Honduras, who was supposedly responsible for the crimes of: AGAINST THE FORM OF GOVERNMENT, TREASON AGAINST THE FATHERLAND, ABUSE OF AUTHORITY AND USURPING OF FUNCTIONS to the detriment of the Civil Administration and the State of Honduras, the former stemming from the Legal Summons presented by the Public Ministry.
To learn from errors in order to correct them in the future

4. “No Honduran can be expatriated no handed over to a foreign State” (Art. 102, Constitution of the Republic). – We believe that we all merit an explanation of what happened on June 28.

5. On June 19 we said that all of us are, to a greater or lesser extent, responsible for a situation of social injustice. – Nevertheless we continue to believe that Honduras has been and wishes to be a people of brothers [and sisters], living united in justice and peace.

a. Therefore it is necessary that we choose decidedly to listen to the opinions of others in such a way that a true dialogue can be initiated among all the sector of society, so that it can arrive a constructive solutions.
b. It is fundamental to respect the calendar of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal what guarantees elections in the coming month of November.
c. It is necessary to globalize solidarity as a way that can help us overcome injustice and inequality. – The international community, with adequate information about our country’s situation can contribute to these proposals.

6. We make a special appeal

a. to those who have or have held [roles of] leadership in their hands: we invite them to not let themselves be led by egoisms, vengeance, persecution, violence, and corruption. – One should always seek ways of understanding and reconciliation, beyond the interests of parties or group.
b. to the social, economic and political groups: we urge them to overcome emotional reactions and to seek the truth. – Now more than ever social communicators ought to express their love of Honduras, seeking the establishment of peace and the serenity of the people, leaving aside personal attacks and seeking the common good.
c. To the population in general: we invite you to continue in an atmosphere of respectful and responsible participation, understanding that we all can construct a Honduras with more justice and solidarity with honest work.
d. to the Organization of American States: we ask that you pay attention to all that was happening outside the law in Honduras and not only what happened starting on June 28. The Honduras people are also asking why the warlike threats against our country have not been condemned. – If the interamerican system is limited to protecting the system of ballot boxes but not to monitoring good governing and the prevention of political, economic, and social crises, a belated reaction in the face of these will be worth nothing
e. to the international community: we declare the right we have to define our own destiny without unilateral pressure of any sort, seeking solutions which promote the good of all. – We reject threats of force or blockades of any sort which only make the poorest suffer.
f. We deeply thank our brothers and sisters from many countries who with their gestures of solidarity, supporting and being at our side, provide us with horizons of hope in contrast to the threatening attitude of some governments.

7. The present situation can serve to build and to embark on a new path, a new Honduras. – The confrontation which it is living ought not to serve to heighten the violence but [it ought to serve] as a new starting point for dialogue, consensus and reconciliation to strengthen us as the Honduran family, so that we can embark on a path of integral development for all Honduras.

8. We exhort the faithful to intensify their prayer and fasting in solidarity so that justice and peace may reign.

Tegucigalpa, July 3, 2009

Signed by the eleven bishops of the Catholic Church of Honduras.

Translated by John Donaghy, based on the text provided in La Prensa on line,
The text can also be found at <>

Message of the Diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán

Message of the Diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán

The diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán, faithful to the mission of announcing the Kingdom of God and of denouncing situations of injustice, asks all Hondurans to take profound efforts to re-establish social peace.
We, the great majority of Hondurans, do no want confrontations in the streets, civil wars, or wars with other peoples.
Therefore we ask the groups who have altered the public order to put all the good will they have into resolving by means of Dialogue the present crisis which has been produced by the social inequality in which we have always lived.

As those who are responsible for guiding the Catholic Church in Western Honduras, we repudiate the substance, the form, and the style with which a new Head of the Executive Branch has been imposed on the People. If President José Manuel Zelaya Rosales had committed something illegal he has the right to a just trial just like every Honduran citizen and in general every human being. Article 84 of the current Constitution says in its text, “No one can be arrested unless by virtue of a written command of the Competent Authority.”

The coup d’etat of June 28 has these consequences: protests of the citizenry in the streets and highways, a climate of insecurity and fear in families because of the limitation of constitutional rights, including:
The right to freedom of movement, freedom of association and to demonstrate, inviolability of one’s home, the right of private property, freedom of the press and of dissemination of ideas and opinions, personal freedom, including the right not to be detained administratively in a police station for more than 24 hours and [the right to] a limit of six days of investigative detention under judicial orders, which would lead to indefinite detentions. All this mentioned above is contained in the Decree about the “State of Exception” which was being drawn up yesterday, July 1, in the National Congress. With this we are coming near to a massive violation of human rights. In regard to this we especially repudiate:
  • The violent manner in which Radio Progreso and other means of communication were silenced.
  • Illegal detentions.
  • The exiling of some countrymen/women.
  • The bloody beatings and wounds.
As the Catholic Church on pilgrimage in the West of Honduras we want to remind the 124 [congressional] deputies of the Liberal Party and the National Party responsible for the Coup d’Etat and presently in power that they are not the owners/masters of Honduras and that no one can be above the law. The present deputies ought to remember that they get their salaries from the people whom they are oppressing. If the plebiscite and referendum had been given institutional status [regulated], as we the bishops of the Honduran Bishops Conference suggested in our communication of June 19, we would not be in this situation. They [the deputies] preferred to be faithful to the economically strong groups, both national and transnational. We hope that in the next elections the People will give them a vote of punishment.

We wish to remind everyone, especially the Armed Forces and the National Police, of the fifth commandment which says” “You shall not kill” (Exodus 20:13). This commandment forbids also beating, wounding, and all abuse of human beings who are created in the image and likeness of God and who are Temples of the Holy Spirit.

We regret every violation of the Constitution of the Republic which those who have governed us have been doing up to now. We reject every threat and meddling of foreign nations in the internal affairs of Honduras.

We Hondurans want PEACE.

No more lies. We want to be told the truth. No more injustice. We want respect for the integrity of the person and respect for human rights. We want to live in freedom. We do not want repression.

The call of Jesus is to live in love. Therefore, no more hatred, no more revenge, no more violence, no more spitefulness.

Jesus says in Mark 4:40, “Why do you have so much fear? How is it that you do not believe?” Inspired by these words of Jesus we invite all of you to trust in the merciful and saving presence of the Lord who accompanies us in our pilgrimage.

Let us intensify our prayer for Honduras.

Let us beg the Lord to grant that we may achieve Peace and prosperity and let us ask our patron, Saint Rose of Lima, to intercede for us.

Santa Rosa de Copán, July 1, 2009
Diocesan Pastoral Council

This message was delivered publicly by Monseñor Luis Alfonso Santos, SDB, bishop of the diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán, Honduras, in San Marcos Ocotopeque, Honduras, on Thursday, July 2, 2009, at 12:30 pm.

Translated by John Donaghy.

Honduran Conference of Men and Women Religious Statement

“The new heavens and the new earth I am going to create will endure for ever…” (Isaiah 66:23)

As the Conference of Men and Women Religious of Honduras – CONFEREH – from our faith in Jesus Christ and his Good News of the Kingdom of God, from our option to accompany the feeling and the march of poor and pilgrim People in the history of Honduras; and in the face of the worsening of the political, economic, and social crisis provoked by the break up of the constitutional order on June 28 (the coup d’état):

We have a special concern about:
  • The situation of a people and of families divided and faced with polarized political and ideological politics and ideologies.
  • The lack of peace, the anxiety, fear, confusion and insecurity which the population in general lives in these moments.
  • The increase of the impoverishment of many Honduran families which deepens the historic inequality and injustice in the country.
  • The paralyzing of many activities which contribute to the development of our country, especially education and the unviersities.
We reject:
  • The rupture of the constitutional order and the limitation of constitutional guarantees for the population.
  • Whatever expression of violence, and the repression of the sector of the population which does not accept and protests what happened on June 28.
  • The control and manipulation of information by some of the media, violating the right to have objective and true information.
  • The repression made against some social alternative media.
  • Whatsoever threat of interference of other nations.
  • The using of and pressure on the working population for purposes and interests of partisan politicians or groups.
We propose and we accompany
  • The forces which will restore an environment of trust, justice, and peace in the population and which promote serenity and reconciliation in families.
  • A true dialogue among the different sectors and organizations in the society, where they lay aside passionate positions of political and ideological confrontation, and where they build beneficial consensuses, especially of benefit to the poor majorities.
  • The social means of communication which present the truth about what is happening to the population in general.
  • The population in strengthening a critical sense and discernment in order to seek new paths which favor the common good.

We encourage the people to maintain hope and the commitment to construct God’s Reign of justice, liberty, and peace. We join with all those persons and organizations which make efforts to restore a democracy which guarantees equality, participation, and the good of all in Honduras. May Mary [the Virgin] of Suyapa, who knew how to read the history of her people in a prophetic manner, intercede for everyone who lives on our soil.

Tegucigalpa, July 9, 2009

The original in Spanish can be found at
and at

Central American Jesuits Social Apostolate statement

"The truth will make us free.

Communication from the Provincial Commission of the Social Apostolate (CPAS) of the Central American Province of the Society of Jesus in the face of events in Honduras

We have attentively followed with deep concern the events which since Thursday, June 25, have cast over the Honduran people the dark shadow of preparations for a coup d’état. In effect, it was on that date that members of the Armed Forces began to be deployed in the streets of Tegucigalpa. Sunday, June 28, the coup was carried out. In the best copy of the old military uprisings we believed we had already overcome, the President of the Republic was awakened in the early hours of the morning by a detachment of the Armed Forces, guns at the ready, and obliged to board a airplane that took him to Costa Rica where he appeared before the means of communication even though he was in his pajamas and without socks.

From that time, Radio Progreso – whose director is our companion and member of CPAS, Jesuit Ismael Moreno Coto – has suffered, first, the interruption of its broadcasting, forced by a squad of soldiers who threatened to destroy their equipment if they were not obeyed. And that [happened] despite the crowd of people at the doors of the station which showed itself ready to defend “the voice of the people.” Radio Progreso afterwards has resumed its broadcasting cautiously but under threat, and its frequency has been interfered with a few times. The same has happened with other radio and television stations, including some cable stations. Evidently some of those governing who, in order to buttress their government, feel the need to obstruct the transmission of information and its pluralism, show clearly the doubt which hounds them over their own legitimacy and the shifting sands on which they are moving.

Radio Progreso has called from Friday, June 26, for “dialogue for negotiation” between the institutions representative of democracy in Honduras and members of civil society institutions. Negotiating dialogue [is seen] as the only reasonable tool to discern among the diverse proposals and projects in the country. Dialogue and negotiation are the tools of democracy. The use of the Armed Forces, and then of the Police, to repress the citizenry who do not approve the coup d’état, are the tools of a power which fears – and therefore has prohibited – the right of demonstration, of association, of mobilizing, of free expression of opinion, of due process, and, above all, of the inviolability of one’s home and of people’s physical and mental integrity. These are the weapons of dictatorship.

Radio Progreso has again expressed, on Friday, July 3, its conviction that “dialogue for a negotiated settlement is, without doubt, the only way to avoid drowning in bloodshed.” Radio Progreso thinks that the leadership of the Liberal Party has called on the Armed Forces to help its socially elitist project and has misused them, and now also [the same with] the Police, in order to maintain a self-coup [autogolpe] of the civil State which imposes on the country, by anti-constitutional procedures, an authoritative and repressive regime that does not guarantee – although it so is proclaimed – the holding of this year’s November elections and their being clean.

Radio Progreso also thinks that, beyond the disputes, apparently vehement, between the two factions[groups] of government, “civil society has the right to go out into the streets and make its voice heard, not because the government of President Manuel Zelaya has been a good government but because the remedy of a coup d’état brings upon us a much worse political and social sickness than what we had with the improvised and chaotic administration” of President Zelaya and his group.

The Provincial Commission of the Social Apostolate [CPAS] of the Central American Province of the Society of Jesus [Jesuits] shares the analytical evaluation of Radio Progreso and, in every instance, considers that the way toward democratic political freedom can only be guaranteed if the diverse sources of public opinion can make their proper contribution in the pursuit of truth.

The CPAS, therefore, is with no hesitation in solidarity with Radio Progeso, with the Team of Reflection, Information and Communication [Equipo de Reflexión, Información y Comunicación] (ERIC), and with the director of both, Father Ismael Moreno Coto, S.J., and with all the workers who, through these groups, support democracy as citizens who seek truth with freedom from [the standpoint] of the option for the poor. The poor, ultimately, are those who will suffer by the break up of the fragile freedoms of democracy in Honduras and in whatever other country in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as in the world. We wish to serve the poor in the pursuit of peace inseparable from justice and the defense of democratic cultural values, which include participation in the public life of civil society.

We appeal to the love for country of all those implicated in the political dispute in Honduras and we make a plea for negotiation so that so that paths are sought what return Honduras to the Rule of Law, which the entire community of nations and peoples demands.

We exhort the governments of Mexico and Central America is generously receive the refugees and those forcibly displaced from Honduras, provoked by this crisis.

Francisco Iznardo, S.J.
Coordinator of the Social Apostolate
Central American Province of the Society of Jesus

Radio Progreso and Eric-SJ statement

A statement from some Honduran Jesuit ministries

Rationality and dialogue: our proposal
  1. As soon as we can we need to create an environment of calm and civility and it is necessary that reason takes its place in the present environment of passions and political and ideological confrontations. We have already reached the heights of political conflictiveness which puts us in a real dilemma: either we now seek a way out of the political crisis which includes reason, dialogue, and negotiation or we go forward without recourse to ungovernability in which we will all go away as losers.
  2. Already the moment has passed for continuing to throw wood on the fire and it is to our advantage to take a little distance form all that which stokes the postures which radicalize whichever of the poles define the present conflict. We find ourselves in an extreme moment of turning inward in which what alone will save us is wagering on setting of minimum consensuses around the preservation of the institutional nature of the state of law.
  3. This minimum consensus has to start with the absolute rejection of all that has to do with a coup d’etat, whether it be technical or violent, since in a situation of ungovernability the entire society remains exposed to violence and expressions of decomposing which only benefits the sectors that nourish themselves in the shade of instability and the absence of institutional order.
  4. The positions of the two poles continue becoming more radicalized. Neither the president appears to take a step toward dialogue nor is the other sector disposed to step back from its decision to disqualify the holder of the Executive branch. To advance toward a stage of minimum consensus there is the need for the action and presence of other forces which contribute to breaking the logic in which both sectors demonize each other and seek to crush each other.
  5. In the face of this dangerous polarization, it is very important to pass on and keep available as much information as possible for the whole society, since only with an informed population can we advance toward a political way out which is not manipulated and only thus can we hope for a conscientious and civil response on the part of the diverse sectors of the Honduran society.
  6. The deeply radicalized polarization involves in a special way those who lead the three powers of the State, and for this very thing their proposals and decisions now enjoy very little acceptance and credibility. Therefore we consider relevant the need for the intervention of sectors of the society which, from their independent and dispassionate positions, can call together the sectors involved in the present political and institutional crisis with the purpose of seeking, as quickly as possible, a negotiated exit to the crisis created within the powers of the State.
  7. We suggest the need to seek the formation of a Commission of well known actors – in the spheres of politics, law, and ethics – nationals and internationals, as a factor which contributes to opening the dialogue toward a negotiated solution to the present crisis. A Commission which could be made up of representatives of the United Nations and the Organization of American States, perhaps a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, an international human rights association and the president of a prestigious university.
  8. Rationality which comes from the inclusion of all sectors of the society is what the present political moment of unrest is most urging us toward. Reducing closed positions, and looking toward the nation and the common good, far beyond individual groups or sectors is what the nation needs to turn away from the ungovernability and instability of those of us who are victims and to advance toward the recovery of the state of law, democracy and peace which are so lacking, so that we can face the true tasks of the development of our country.
  9. Now we are at a moment - the politicians, the major directors of the powers of the State, the means of mass communications, the churches, the diverse sectors of the civil society – we have to give each one of us a step forward in the construction of an exit of dialogue and negotiation. Tomorrow, no doubt, it will be too late, and we of the present and the future generations will forever lament this.

El Progreso, Yoro, June 26, 2009
Radio Progreso and Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación,
[Team of Reflection, Research, and Communication],
apostolic works of the Jesuits in Honduras.

Church of Honduras - coup and Zelaya

The Church of Honduras rejects the coup

but asks Zelaya to respect the Constitution.

June 30, 2009
Patricio Downes

The executive director of Caritas of Honduras, Father Germán Calíx, make it clear that the Catholic Church rejects the coup against the constitutional government of its country, but at the same time demands that the deposed official Manuel Zelaya respect the constitutional requirements for plebiscites and referenda in regard to constitutional reforms. This is a point that had created friction between the Honduran bishops and the president.

In declarations by telephone from Tegucigalpa to “Religion Digital,” Calíx, a close collaborator with Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, rejected the accusation against the Catholic Church in Honduras that is was complicit with the coup. “Niether the one nor the other,” he pointed out, “because ten days before the coup the Church called for dialogue and supported [the idea] that the people be consulted.” Father Calíx added that the bishops are ready to become part of a dialogue commission, called by the
de facto government, but it considered the arrival of Zelaya, planned for this Thursday [but now postponed to Saturday], could be “catastrophic” if an agreement was not reached beforehand.

While Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga was holding continuous meetings to avoid a coup ending up in blood bath, Calíx said that the Church maintains the same posture that it expressed in its document of June 19 [Comunicado de la Conferencia Episcopal de Honduras <]. The Cardinal, president of Caritas International, was unavailable for his co-workers while fully involved in mediating.

In that document the Honduran bishops noted, “Participative democracy which we wish will only be possible under certain conditions. Thus,
we urge the elected authorities to take great for the State of Right [the Rule of Law], which they know how to find, by means of dialogue, the solutions of the present conflict and that they know how to guarantee for the Honduran people the regulation of its constitutional resources, such as the Plebiscite and the Referendum, which, together with other tools, such as the Law of Citizen Participation, permit the consultation of the people in matters of major importance.”

- Would the church participate in dialogue, despite the de facto government?

- If they would call it now, the Church would be disposed to participate despite having received a lot of criticism, especially against the hierarchy, because they consider that it did not put itself on the side of the deposed government and that, by not having spoken in favor of the fourth ballot box [the poll scheduled for June 28 on having a ballot question in November about a Constituent Assembly to rewrite the Constitution] - which is the process that Zelaya had initiated – they accuse the Church of being a participation in the coup d’etat, which has no solid foundation in fact.

Father Calíx this made reference to the possibility of a dialogue commission, which the de facto president Roberto Micheletti has called for. He belongs to the Liberal Party, that same party in which Manuel Zelaya came to power. But until last night they had not set up the mechanism for dialogue to which they would invite the Catholic and Evangelical Churches, as well as the business sector, workers and campesinos [peasants]. Calix commented that
the fomenters of the coup had not taken into account the international front and the strong rejection of the coup in the European Union as well as in ALBA (The Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas), the Organization of American State, and the Rio Group.

- What does the Church think of the coup?

- Before the coup on June 29, the Church issue a communication in which it said that
you cannot make democracy against democracy. And in this moment the Church has done no more than repeat this. Before the coup, it had been suggested and even asked that all the sectors of society could sit together in a great dialogue and let emerge valid and rational ways out of this situation and that it would not just be an arrangement made between politicians but a consensus among the different sectors of society and that it was necessary to take into account that the political crisis came upon us gradually because the democratic system had not been capable to make the jump to social justice for all the country.

-Did you say to Zelaya that you were opposed to the reelection proposal?

-Yes, some ten days before the coup the bishops met with president Zelaya to let him know that the Church agreed with the desire for the people’s participation and that the participation of the people ought not to be limited in public destinies and in the fixing up of public policies. But it ought to de done
within the existing legal framework, since there are already structures like the plebiscite and the referendum with a lot of experience in South America. And there the president was asked to put aside all personal desire for continuity or reelection, a message which he had already received beforehand from the Church and he had given his word to hand over power in January, which could be certain as the word of the president, nevertheless the movement which he was generating around a national assembly put in doubt his affirmations, because the assembly was going to have the legal right to choose him as president and , in that case, he was going to have the option to perpetuate himself in power or change the constitution in over to be again elected president.

- The slogan was “neither the one nor the other,” neither reelection nor coup?

Neither of the two, since
the church does not consider the coup was the way out for life in a democracy. The coup does not resolve the political problem which has been coming along slowly during a decade in the exhausting of the party system in Honduras, where a two party tradition exists since the last century, from 1920 more or less, in some case in some cases recalling including still the ideals of that epoch. Those parties need to be reformed but the reforms cannot come through the way of party bosses [caudillos] and, even less, through a coup d’etat, but it is necessary to open spaces for the renovation of the parties, to open up for greater participation, and to seek political solutions to problems which are internal. The peculiarity is that the members who supposedly carried out this coup d’etat – where the military are only the visible and fleeting hand, no more than a moment , because they quickly handed power over to civilians – is that has been brought about among members of the same Liberal Party.

- How do you see the return of Zelaya which is expected this Thursday? [It has been delayed until Saturday.]

Now there’s a lot of commotion, because yesterday and today have been days of confrontation within the social sectors, above all within the popular sectors, and
there has been talk of 70 wounded, with no deaths, thank God, up till now. The coming of president Zelaya could be catastrophic because it would mean mobilization of all these people to receive him, to cheer him, and to escort him and there would be a confrontation with police and governmental forces. It would not be a solution unless – because of international pressure – the government on duty (de facto) would decide to negotiate also with Zelaya. But, definitely, it will only be with difficulty that he will be accepted in the position in which he was by a great part of the population.


This is my translation - corrections most welcome - of an article in Spanish, most of which is an interview.
Items between parentheses [ ] are my additions to clarify points made in the article. The sections in bold were in bold in the original article.

La Iglesia de Honduras rechaza el golpe, pero pide a Zelaya que respete la Constitución