Thursday, July 2, 2009

Venezuela Archbishop Criticizes Ousted Hondura President's Supporters

From Catholic News Service:
Venezuelan prelate criticizes world leaders who back ousted Honduran

By Catholic News Service

CARACAS, Venezuela (CNS) -- The vice president of the Venezuelan bishops' conference said international organizations that have called Honduras' interim president "illegitimate" are hypocritical.

Archbishop Baltazar Porras Cardozo of Merida called the United Nations and the Organization of American States "a club of leaders who defend their own interests, ignoring those who have a greater plurality and represent all the sectors of the population."

Archbishop Porras said that corruption, narcotrafficking and ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya's desire to change the constitution to remain in power ostracized him from his own people. The archbishop also said that coups are caused by presidents who want to perpetuate themselves in power and use power unreasonably.

Archbishop Porras also criticized what he called unreasonable Venezuelan government involvement in Honduras' internal affairs.

Many governments -- including the United States and Venezuela -- have criticized the June 28 military coup that ousted Zelaya. The military acted on the orders of Honduras' National Congress, whose leader, Roberto Micheletti, was named interim president.

The World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank have cut loans to Honduras, and some European countries recalled their ambassadors. On July 1, the Organization of American States gave Honduras 72 hours to reinstate Zelaya.

However, Micheletti said the country would not reinstate the deposed leader.

Venezuela's Catholic leaders have long had a hostile relationship with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who recently won a referendum removing his own term limits. They have accused Chavez of abusing his powers, weakening the nation's democracy and violating human rights. In 2002, some church leaders supported a military-backed coup that put Chavez out of office for 48 hours.

A report from VHdaily also reports:
According to Porras, coup d'etats take place when governors of nations believe that because they are in power they can administer and carry out things at their whim. In the case of the Honduran public powers, the Archbishop maintains that they have acted in accordance with their country’s Constitution and laws.

It is a question of double moral standards, Porras states, which is an immorality and a transgression against fairness ... "a thing is not good or bad just because it agrees with what one thinks or doesn't think."

Meanwhile, CNA reports that Hondura's bishops deny accusations they were involved with the coup, excerpt:
Tegucigalpa, Jul 2, 2009 / 10:27 am (CNA).- The executive secretary of Caritas Honduras, Father German Calix, said the Church in that country rejects accusations that it was complicit in the ouster of President Manuel Celaya. In contrast, Fr. Calix noted that the Church has been urging dialogue and that the deposed president respect the constitutional requirements for a referendum on constitutional reform.

In an interview with Religion Digital, Father Calix, who is a close advisor to Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, said the Church completely rejects accusations of complicity in the ouster and that ten days before the incident the Church was calling for dialogue and consultation with the people.

In a statement on June 19, he noted, the bishops urged authorities to consult with the Honduran people and to ensure that any kind of referendum or reform take place in accord with the country’s laws and constitution. The bishops would be willing to assist in this kind of dialogue even now, the priest said, despite all of the criticisms that because it did not side with the deposed president, it was somehow involved in his ouster.

The Honduran bishops also make a point frequently missing from reports on the ouster:
“The interesting thing about this coup,” the priest stated, “in which the military was just briefly the visible face, because later they turned the power over to civilians, was that it was produced among members of the same Liberal Party.”