The armed forces in Honduras have closed the Jesuit-run Radio Progreso, following the ousting of President Manuel Zelaya last month. The military - backed by Congress and the courts - forced Mr Zelaya out of Honduras on 28 June over his plans to hold a vote on possible constitutional change. However, Radio Progreso is still operating on line at radioprogresohn.com where you can also see videos of the military invasion of the radio station and Fr Ismael Moreno SJ, the Director of Radio Progreso, agreeing to close the station down to avoid further confrontation.
Ged Clapson, Communications Officer of the British Jesuits who sent these reports, writes: "Please remember the people of Honduras – including the Jesuits of the Central American Province – in your prayers."
A statement issued on Saturday by the Honduran Bishops’ Conference follows below.
This statement of the Honduran Bishops Conference, dated July 3, 2009, was read on national television in Honduras, by Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, SDB, in the morning of July 4, 2009.
“Building from crisis”
1. Scarcely three weeks ago, in the Plenary Assembly of this Bishops’ Conference, we clearly stated that social justice, dialogue and consultation within the framework of the law are needs that our people ought to recognize and respect.
2. In the face of the situation of the last few days, we refer to the information which we have sought in the appropriate public records of the State (the Supreme Court of Justice, the National Congress, the Public Ministry, the Executive Power [Branch], the Supreme Electoral Tribunal) and many organizations of civil society. – Each and every one of the documents which have come into our hands show that the institutions of the Honduran democratic state are valid and that what it has executed in juridical-legal matters has been rooted in law. – The three powers of the State – Executive, Legislative, and Judicial – are legally and democratically valid in accord with the Constitution of the Republic of Honduras.
3. The Constitution of the Republic and the country’s administrative organs of justice lead us to conclude that:
a. In accord with what is considered in Article 239 of the Constitution of the Republic “Whoever proposes the reform” of this article “immediately ceases to hold his post and remains disqualified for ten years for any public function.” Therefore, the person sought, when he was captured, no longer held the position of President of the Republic.
b. Dated June 26, 2009, the Supreme Court of Justice, unanimously named an already sitting judge who issued an arrest warrant for the citizen President of the Republic of Honduras, who was supposedly responsible for the crimes of: AGAINST THE FORM OF GOVERNMENT, TREASON AGAINST THE FATHERLAND, ABUSE OF AUTHORITY AND USURPING OF FUNCTIONS to the detriment of the Civil Administration and the State of Honduras, the former stemming from the Legal Summons presented by the Public Ministry.
To learn from errors in order to correct them in the future
4. “No Honduran can be expatriated no handed over to a foreign State” (Art. 102, Constitution of the Republic). – We believe that we all merit an explication of what happened on June 28.
5. On June 19 we said that all of us are, to a greater or lesser extent, responsible for a situation of social injustice. – Nevertheless we continue to believe that Honduras has been and wishes to be a people of brothers [and sisters], living united in justice and peace.
a. Therefore it is necessary that we choose decidedly to listen to the opinions of others in such a way that a true dialogue can be initiated among all the sector of society, so that it can arrive a constructive solutions.
b. It is fundamental to respect the calendar of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal what guarantees elections in the coming month of November.
c. It is necessary to globalize solidarity as a way that can help us overcome injustice and inequality. – The international community, with adequate information about our country’s situation can contribute to these proposals.
6. We make a special appeal
a. to those who have or have held [roles of] leadership in their hands: we invite them to not let themselves be led by egoisms, vengeance, persecution, violence, and corruption. – One should always seek ways of understanding and reconciliation, beyond the interests of parties or group.
b. to the social, economic and political groups: we urge them to overcome emotional reactions and to seek the truth. – Now more than ever social communicators ought to express their love of Honduras, seeking the establishment of peace and the serenity of the people, leaving aside personal attacks and seeking the common good.
c. To the population in general: we invite you to continue in an atmosphere of respectful and responsible participation, understanding that we all can construct a Honduras with more justice and solidarity with honest work.
d. to the Organization of American States: we ask that you pay attention to all the was happening outside the law in Honduras and not only what happened starting on June 28. The Honduras people are also asking why the warlike threats against our country have not been condemned. – If the interamerican system is limited to protecting the system of ballot boxes but not to monitoring good governing and the prevention of political, economic, and social crises, a belated reaction in the face of these will be worth nothinge. to the international community.
e. we declare the right we have to define our own destiny without unilateral pressure of any sort, seeking solutions which promote the good of all. – We reject threats of force or blockades of any sort which only make the poorest suffer.
f. We deeply thank our brothers and sisters from many countries who with their gestures of solidarity, supporting and being at our side, provide us with horizons of hope in contrast to the threatening attitude of some governments.
7. The present situation can serve to build and to embark on a new path, a new Honduras. – The confrontation which it is living ought not to serve to heighten the violence but [it ought to serve] as a new starting point for dialogue, consensus and reconciliation to strengthen us as the Honduran family, so that we can embark on a path of integral development for all Honduras.
8. We exhort the faithful to intensify their prayer and fasting in solidarity so the justice and peace may reign.Tegucigalpa, July 3, 2009Signed by the eleven bishops of the Catholic Church of Honduras.
Translated by John Donaghy, based on the text provided in La Prensa on line.
Source: Jesuit Comms
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