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. ANTECEDENTS OF THE CRISIS
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.
2. ATTITUDES WHICH HAVE ABETTED THE CRISIS
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.
3. LESSONS WHICH WE OUGHT TO LEARN
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.
Second, THE VALUE OF THE CONSTITUTION AND OF THE LAWS
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.
Third, CITIZEN CONSCIOUSNESS
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.
Fourth, THE TRUE STRENGTH OF DEMOCRACY
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.
Fifth, THE COMMUNICATIONS MEDIA
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.
Given in the city of Trujillo, July 10, 2009
The extended presbytery, Diocese of Trujillo, Honduras
Spanish text at <http://juancitohonduras.blogspot.com/2009/07/communicado-de-la-diocesis-de-trujillo.html> and <http://www.esglesiaplural.cat/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=1765>
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.
Suggestions to improve this translation are most welcome.