Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez of Tegucigalpa urged Honduran president Porfirio Lobo to recognize the widespread violence and growing poverty afflicting the country.
“Our homeland is bleeding painfully,” he said on Feb. 3, “because of the ferocious violence, because of the growing poverty and lack of respect for life, the breakdown of the family, corruption in the police force, the impact of the drug trade subculture, unstoppable migration and religious confusion.”
Cardinal Maradiaga made his comments during the celebration of the 265th anniversary of the discovery of Our Lady of Suyapa, the patroness of Honduras. President Lobo, as well as other government officials, took part in the event.
“We must not be overcome by evil, but rather we must overcome evil with good,” the cardinal noted during his remarks. “We cannot live in fear and held hostage in our own homes, tormented by a collective psychosis consisting of fear, insomnia, nightmares and mourning.”
Honduras is becoming one of the most violent countries in Central America and one of the most dangerous for journalists, according to the organization Reporters without Borders. Since Lobo took office in January of 2010, more than 17 journalists have been killed.
Over 6,700 people were murdered in Honduras from January to December of 2011, according to data from the National Autonomous University of Honduras.
Despite this, Cardinal Maradiaga said Honduras is not “the worst country” or “the most violent,” but he said the country needs to recover its “legitimate self-esteem, knowing that the majority of the Honduran people want what is good and want to respect life.”