[en] Rights Action: Honduran Coup Resistance Alert #32 – Perez Esquivel to Honduran Cardinal

Carde-mal Rodriguez. FOTO: Sandra Cuffe.[play on words. Cardenal/CardeMAL (mal = bad or evil) Rodriguez. Photo: Sandra Cuffe: http://flickr.com/photos/lavagabunda]


Day 27 of Honduran Coup Resistance
July 24, 2009, Alert #32

“We must resist in hope, dear brother Rodríguez, and in this hope, we must
walk the road of the people and not of the oppressors.”

Letter (english and spanish) from Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Nobel Peace Prize
winner, to the Catholic Church of Honduras and Cardinal Oscar Andrés
Rodríguez Message of Bishop Santos of the Diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán (Honduras)

Grahame Russell (Rights Action co-director): 1-860-352-2448 (Connecticut), info@rightsaction.org
Jonathan Treat (journalist in Tegucigalpa): [504] 8877-4161,
Sandra Cuffe (journalist in Tegucigalpa): [504] 9525-6778,

Please re-distribute this information all around.
To get on/ off Rights Action’s email list:
To donate funds to pro-democracy movement in Honduras: see below

* * *

(Translated for Rights Action by Rosalind Gill, RGill@glendon.yorku.ca)

“We must resist in hope, dear brother Rodríguez, and in this hope, we must
walk the road of the people and not of the oppressors.”

The coup d’état in Honduras by the military dictatorship and its accomplices brought death, the detention of hundreds of people, harassment and imprisonment of journalists, confiscation of their equipment and violations of human rights.

This situation leads me to ask Cardinal Rodríguez and the dictator
Micheletti and his followers the following question: Is this want they
intended? To kill defenseless people, to suspend the civil rights of the
people, to detain and repress those who demand their rights and the
reinstatement of President Zelaya?

Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez: your choice to be an accomplice of the
military dictatorship is not the way of the Gospel. You cannot go against
your people, in the name of so-called security and law, to condone violence and repression and serious violations of human rights.

The shepherd who abandons his sheep, permits atrocities and supports
dictatorship to defend his economic and political interests is not worthy of
being recognized as one of Christ’s shepherds by his people.

In Latin America, we have a long and painful history of military
dictatorships with which Church officials have been accomplices. These
regimes have used repression, murder, disappearings and torture to impose their State terrorism.

Unfortunately, Church officials continue to support such regimes in a number of countries. Witness the stance taken by Cardinal Terrazas in Bolivia, who allied himself with and supported those who plotted to bring down President Evo Morales. In Venezuela, Church officials supported the military coup against President Hugo Chávez.

I heard your public statements against the President of Venezuela. You have the right to disagree but not to slander. I never heard you make public statements against US intervention in your country and on the continent, or against the atrocities committed in Columbia and the armed uprising against our fellow people in Ecuador.

Thanks be to God, there are signs of hope for the future of the life and
dignity of our brothers and sisters who are faithful to the Gospel and to
their people and committed to fighting for a more just and humane world.

Many would give up their lives to give Life; the martyrs of the Church teach us how to follow the way of Christ. Do you remember our brother, Archbishop Romero, of El Salvador?

You know full well that Honduras is a country with a long history of US
intervention, supported by economic, political and church groups. Today,
these same power groups, with the US ambassador as an accomplice (he admits he met with the coup organizers) oppose the reforms proposed by President Zelaya and they staged a coup d’état to ensure that the Referendum was not held.

What are you afraid of brother Rodríguez? – Of your own fears? Of a
Referendum to let the people decide what road to take? Are you afraid of the poor, of letting them participate, of their wanting to join ALBA and to not submit to CAFTA because it means more dependency on the US and supports the economic interests of those who have always repressed the Honduras people?

Do not forget that 70% of the Honduran population lives in poverty and 58% lives under the poverty line – this is the result of social and structural

The violence against the people is an attempt to maintain this situation of
social and structural injustice and the situation is out of control. This
dictatorship is like the “sorcerer’s apprentice” – it cannot stop what it
has set in motion.

The international community is demanding the immediate reinstatement of President Zelaya. The EU, the UN, social, political and religious groups, as well as the Brazilian Bishops, Don Pedro Casaldáliga and Demetrio Valentín, are all demanding a return to law and respect for the wishes of the people.

Listen to the voice of Bishop of Copán, of your own country, and the
thousands of voices from all over the continent and the world, that reject
this dictatorship.

If President Zelaya committed a crime, or made any mistakes, the country has a National Constitution and laws in place to determine if he is responsible. But those who support the dictatorship are preventing the law from being applied and support illegal coup d’état to take power. And you try to hide your crimes with words that are empty of content.

You speak of the Law, of the Constitution and of human dignity but you
violate and contaminate them – your response is to repress the people,
causing death and harm.

How can you explain all these contradictions and this lack of values? What
do these atrocities have to do with Christ’s message?

I hope that God guides and enlightens you in your sermons, because you are lost in a labyrinth of uncertainty. How long are you going to act like an
Inquisitor, supporting the hangmen who are spreading terror and have usurped power in your country?

Do you realize that the coup d’état in Honduras endangers democracy on the entire continent?

The people have the right to resist against injustice and to refuse to
cooperate with oppressors and those who usurped power. And the governments and peoples of Latin America have the responsibility not to recognize an illegitimate and repressive government.

Many years of struggle and suffering caused by dictatorships all over the
continent have taught us painfully that it is preferable to die as free men
and women than live as slaves.

For hope always shows us a new dawn for the life and dignity of our peoples. We must resist in hope, dear brother Rodríguez, and in this hope, we must walk with the people and not with the oppressors. You must make a choice, as a man and a clergyman: to serve God and your people or to serve the oppressors and those in power.

There are many questions. You have the answer.

“Only Truth will free us”. May the God of Life guide and illuminate you in
his Peace and Goodness.

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Nobel Prize for Peace

* * *

JULY 2, 2009

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

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

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, in the cathedral of Santa Rosa de Copán, Honduras, on Thursday, July 2, 2009, at 12:00 pm. Translated by John Donaghy (jdonaghy@igc.org)

* * *


UNITED STATES:  Box 50887, Washington DC, 20091-0887
CANADA:  552-351 Queen St. E, Toronto ON, M5A-1T8
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• unequivocal denunciation of the military coup
• no recognition of this military coup and the ‘de facto’ government of
Roberto Micheletti
• unconditional return of the entire constitutional government
• concrete economic, military and diplomatic sanctions against the coup
plotters and perpetrators
• respect for safety and human rights of all Hondurans
• application of international and national justice against the coup
plotters, and
• reparations for the illegal actions and rights violations committed during
this illegal coup

FOR MORE INFO: see series of Honduras Coup Alerts at http://www.rightsaction.org.
Contact Grahame Russell at info@rightsaction.org or Annie Bird at


1 Comment

Filed under ENGLISH, international coverage, international solidarity, news & updates from Honduras, press releases & communiques

One response to “[en] Rights Action: Honduran Coup Resistance Alert #32 – Perez Esquivel to Honduran Cardinal

  1. Just a note to clarify. The statement from the Diocesan Pastoral Council of the diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán was READ by the bishop, but it is a statement of the diocesan pastoral council.
    Also, I think the graphic at the topic of these messages is in bad taste. One of the problems of the past few weeks – even before the coup – was the demonization of the opposition. If Honduras is to find a way out of this injustice respectful dialogue is essential.

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