Honduran Cardinal's Statement

"We Have the Right to Define Our Own Destiny Without Unilateral Pressures"

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TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, JULY 6, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the statement delivered Saturday by Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, archbishop of the capital of Honduras and president of the nation's episcopal conference, regarding the political unrest affecting the country for more than a week.

The translation was provided by the Honduran episcopal conference.

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"Building from crisis" 

1. Barely three weeks ago, in a General Assembly of this Episcopal Conference, we clearly expressed that social justice, dialogue and consultations within the legal framework are needs of our people to be recognized and respected.  

2. Facing the situations of recent days, we have used the information found after searching competent instances of The State (Supreme Court of Justice, National Congress, Public Attorney's Office, Executive Branch, Supreme Electoral Tribunal) and many other civilian organizations.  All of those documents show that all Honduran Democratic Institutions are operating and in place, and the execution of their mandate has occurred in strict adherence to law.  All three branches of the State: Executive, Legislative and Judicial are within democratic legal boundaries, according to the Constitution of The Republic of Honduras. 

3. The Constitution of the Republic and the justice administration organs have us conclude the following:

a. According to Article 239 of the Constitution of the Republic "whoever proposes the reform" of this article, "shall immediately cease performing the functions of his post, and shall remain disabled for the exercise of all public functions during a period of ten years". Therefore the referred person, at the moment of his capture, was no longer performing the duties of the Republic's Presidency.

b. On June 26th of 2009, the Supreme Court of Justice unanimously appointed a Natural Judge, who in turn expedited a warrant for the arrest of the citizen President of the Republic of Honduras, who was charged responsible for the following crimes: AGAINST THE FORM OF GOVERNMENT, HIGH TREASON, ABUSE OF AUTHORITY, AND USURPATION OF PUBLIC FUNCTIONS in detriment of the Public Administration and The State of Honduras; all the above stated as of the Prosecution Requirement presented to this Court on behalf of the Public Attorney's Office. 

Learning from our mistakes to amend them in the future

4. "No Honduran Citizen can be expatriated neither surrendered to a Foreign State" (Article 102, Constitution of the Republic). All of us believe we deserve an explanation of the happenings of June 28. 

5. On June 19 we expressed that we all are more or less responsible for a reality of social injustice.  None the less, we still believe Honduras has been, and wants to continue being, a people of brothers and sisters living united in peace and justice.

a. That is why we deem necessary to hear all opinions, in such a way that a true dialog can be established among all sectors of our society, aiming to reach constructive solutions.

b. It is fundamental to respect the calendar proposed by the Supreme Electoral Court, guarantying free elections on November 2009.

c. It is necessary to globalize solidarity as a path to help us overcome injustice and inequity.  The international community, with proper and accurate information about the situation of our country, can contribute to these purposes. 

6. We make a special call

a. We invite all those who have, or have had, in their hands the conduction of our country to avoid being dragged by selfishness, vengeance, persecution, violence and corruption.  You can always find the ways understanding and reconciliation beyond the interests of any group or party.

b. We exhort all social, economic and political groups to go beyond any emotional reactions and search for the truth. Today, more than ever, all social communicators must express their love for Honduras searching for the pacification and serenity of our people and leave aside all personal attacks in their search for the common wellbeing.

c. We invite the population in general to continue living in a state of respectful and responsible participation, understanding that we all can build, through honest work, a Honduras with more justice and solidarity.

d. We ask the Organization of American States to pay attention to all previous events occurring out of legality in Honduras, and not only to what happened on and after June 28.  The Honduran people are also asking why you have not condemned the belligerent threats against our country.  If the interamerican system limits itself to protect the democracy expressed in the urns but does not follow up on the performance of a good government, the prevention of political, economic and social crises, it is of no consequence to react late after they occur.

e. We manifest to the international community that we have the right to define our own destiny without unilateral pressures of any kind, and searching solutions that promote the common good.  We reject all threats of the use of force or blockades of any kind that only produce suffering among the more deprived population.

f. We deeply thank all brothers and sisters from many countries who, through their solidarity, support and moral closeness, have furnished us with horizons of hope in contrast to the menacing attitudes of some governments.  

7. Our current situation can serve us to help build and traverse a new path towards a new Honduras. The confrontation we are currently seeing should not further induce violence, but rather take us to a turning point on our way to dialog, consensus and reconciliation to strengthen us as a Honduran family advancing in our way to integral development for all Hondurans.

8. We exhort our population of believers to intensify their prayers and take fast in solidarity for the reign of peace and justice. 

Tegucigalpa , July 4th , 2009

[Signed by Honduran bishops]