Saturday, July 04, 2009

The Honduran crisis and the Catholic Church

Through Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez, the Catholic Church in Honduras has issued a statement about the crisis (only in Spanish). It concludes that no coup occurred, that Zelaya should not return to the country, and that the presidential elections should not be moved up.

It does call for dialogue where everyone listens calmly to each other, but given the above I am not quite sure what the basis would be for dialogue. It is rather like the flip side of Insulza traveling to Honduras to talk while saying beforehand that he wouldn't negotiate.

One of the more interesting developments of the past day or so is the redefinition of "unilateral," which is also mentioned in the statement. If every single country in the world is united against a particular action, it is "unilateral."

17 comments:

Gabriel 2:05 PM  

I keep asking, what is Zelaya going to return to, assuming he can? Is he going to come back and abolish the SC and Congress?

Justin Delacour 3:40 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Justin Delacour 3:42 PM  

I keep asking, what is Zelaya going to return to, assuming he can? Is he going to come back and abolish the SC and Congress?

Try developing some basic analytical capacity, Gabriel. Zelaya couldn't possibly rely upon the OAS and the rich countries for help in returning him to power and then turn around and abolish the country's political institutions. Anybody with eyes that see understands that that's just not in the cards.

Anonymous,  3:44 PM  

Don´t believe it. They were forced to sign it. I saw it on Telesur, soi it must be true.

Gabriel 4:11 PM  

Justin,

If you want to be taken seriously as an analysts you really need to learn to debate without insulting those that disagree with you.

As for the Zelaya, of course he could do that. Just look at all he's done in the last few months. If he managed to come back and he managed to get the security forces to support him, that's exactly what I expect him to do.

But since the latter is not likely I still wonder and ask, what is Zelaya coming back to? The Attorney General still plans to prosecute him.

Doug 4:14 PM  

Greg -

How do you see this squaring up with the message put out by the bishop of Western Honduras, Monseñor Santos? They seem quite at odds.

The link is is hereif you need it: http://hermanojuancito.blogspot.com/2009/07/message-of-diocese-of-santa-rosa-de.html

Greg Weeks 4:22 PM  

Doug, that is interesting--there may well be splits within the Church itself in Honduras.

Doug 6:29 PM  

Greg -
It could simply be Differences between the Urban and Rural Church. Rodriguez is the Archbishop of Tegucigalpa whereas Santos is Bishop of Santa Rosa, overwhelmingly Rural.

Justin Delacour 6:33 PM  

If he managed to come back and he managed to get the security forces to support him, that's exactly what I expect him to do.

I don't even believe you when you say that you would "expect" Zelaya to shut down the country's institutions, Gabriel. I think you make disingenuous claims to that effect because you think it furthers your objective of upholding a coup against a leader you don't like.

But if you do really "expect" that, I'd chalk it up to willful ignorance on your part. Any person with some basic sense would recognize that the opposition to the coup among moderate governments (and even center-right governments) is precisely what makes it extremely unlikely that Zelaya would jettison the country's political institutions. Zelaya knows quite well that his fortunes now rest on governments that would quickly abandon him in the event that he were to move to shut down the country's political institutions.

Doug 6:40 PM  

Greg -

John Donaghy has the English translation of the Bishop's Statement.

hermanojuancito.blogspot.com/2009/07/this-statement-of-honduran-bishops.html

Gabriel,  8:01 PM  

Justin,

Please. Just look at what Zelaya has done these past months. He stormed a military base with a mob!

Of course he would try to remain in power any way he could. Look at what Chavez and Ortega have done.

I'm sorry, no one can be that naive. What more must Zelaya do to make his intentions clear?

Luckily it seems the rest of Honduras doesn't want another Chavez, so with any luck Zelaya won't be more than a memory soon and the next president can focus on trying to fix the many problems that country has.

John (Juan) Donaghy 8:40 PM  

There are some splits in the Honduran Catholic Church. It's not a rural/urban split, per se. Some is a question of style - the Cardinal is fairly diplomatic.
The diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán is fairly progressive, though there are some differences among the priests. The bishop and the priests have also been very outspoken on the mining issue. Interestingly the Santa Rosa statement was read by the bishop and it was a joint effort with the priests and the Diocesan Pastoral Council. (It was a consultative process.)
I will be talking with folks about this, but - because of my position - I will have to be a little 'diplomatic'. Yet I spent all yesterday getting the Santa Rosa statement out to the world.

Abby Kelleyite 9:00 PM  

At least the Church recognizes legal error on both sides: (a translation, not mine, of point 4 follows):

4. “No Honduran can be expatriated or 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.

Justin Delacour 9:40 PM  

I'm sorry, no one can be that naive.

Ah, yes. Zelaya has fooled Obama, Insulza, and even Felipe Calderon as to his evil plot to jettison Honduras' political institutions over the six months.

It's a good thing we have Gabriel here to set us all straight.

RAJ 3:05 AM  

Abbey Kelleyite has pointed out an important nuance in the Cardinal's statement, which is left without any conclusion there but can be compared to the Bishop of Santa Rosa de Copán's statement. Both are drawing attention to the illegality of the forced removal of Zelaya from the country, which contradicts constitutional guarantees.

More, I think when you read the Cardinal's statement in the original Spanish it is actually incoherent. The first part simply repeats that the Honduran governmental branches have made determinations that mean President Zelaya was not really President by Sunday morning. It repeats that all three branches of government are operating (an argument used by the de facto government to claim what occurred was not a coup, by redefining a coup as something that disrupts the separation of powers and their continuity as such.)

But they never in their statement endorse the coup itself. Nor do they actually draw conclusions from what they cite as legal opinions of the government.

The Cardinal's publicly reported remarks urging Zelaya not to return are, of course, much more clear.

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