Thursday, August 13, 2009

More on the Catholic Church and Honduras

Some time ago I mentioned the splits in the Catholic Church in Honduras at the local and national levels. Thanks to a reader for pointing me to stories about Fausto Milla, a Catholic priest (from Santa Rosa de Copán) who in a public mass has called for insurrection (the link has some photos as well). This sort of grassroots effort helps explain why the protests have continued--and even grown larger--as time has gone on.

Right now, the Obama administration seems content to let the clock run out, Latin American governments are not willing to act, and Oscar Arias has the H1N1 virus. Therefore, it may be the Honduran people who ultimately push (or don't push) the situation in one way or another.

Days since the coup: 46
Days until the scheduled presidential election: 108


Nell 4:15 PM  

The Bishops of Santa Rosa de Copan and officials and lay workers of the diocese of Trujillo have both made public statements strongly opposing the coup.

Padre Fausto's call to insurrection doesn't come out of nowhere, and is not a call to violence. Readers who've been following the statements of Zelaya and resistance leaders will know this, but it's probably new information for some:

The Honduran constitution itself contains a right to insurrection; it permits active non-cooperation with illegitimate rulers:

CAPITULO I, ARTICULO 3.- Nadie debe obediencia a un gobierno usurpador ni a quienes asuman funciones o empleos públicos por la fuerza de las armas o usando medios o procedimientos que quebranten o desconozcan lo que esta Constitución y las leyes establecen. Los actos verificados por tales autoridades son nulos. el pueblo tiene derecho a recurrir a la insurrección en defensa del orden constitucional.

That pretty clearly includes the current ruling junta: people who expelled from the country an elected president by military force, produced fake documents like the so-called "resignation letter", held legislative sessions kept secret from and barred to some members and in which non-members were permitted to cast votes for members not present, etc.

Also interesting is the clear statement that elections held under such usurpers are not valid. The 12 UNASUR governments made it clear they're not willing to recognize the winner of elections held under a coup regime that clearly thinks they can run out the clock and have the U.S. government pretend that washes everything clean.

Here is some background on Padre Fausto, including his actual words in San Pedro Sula on Tuesday.

Doug Zylstra 5:14 PM  

Once the Lugar letter came to light, it's been pretty clear that the Hondurans have pretty much been on their own. I'm not at all convinced that's a bad thing. Outside of Wednesday's events, Juan Barahona seems to have been doing a good job of organizing internal resistance and keeping it, as much as possible, non-violent.

I'm not sure how today went in the Universidad Pedagogica, but hopefully they can regroup. That, and some sort of third-party coalition on the political side will help channel energy in a positive direction; although with Marvin Ponce in the Hospital, I'm not sure where that stands.

Having said, I still wrote the State Department this morning again..

Nell 1:07 PM  

@Doug: Thanks for your recognition that it's incumbent on anyone who wants to see this situation resolved in favor of the Honduran majority to act, and to urge our government to act.

It's one thing to recognize that the Honduran people resisting the coup are fundamental actors, and not erase them from view with analysis that deals only with the figures at the top. It's another to figuratively wash one's hands; it is a bad thing for the U.S. government to act as if the violent repression by the coup government isn't happening. How many assassinations, beatings, and illegal detentions are too many to ignore?

Now the police are ignoring habeas corpus orders and the public prosecutors are pointedly ignoring this defiance.

As a result, there are 24 people in the illegal custody of the police right now, and every reason to fear that they may be tortured.

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