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.
Father Calix pointed out that the bishops were opposed to the idea of allowing the president to run for re-election and that ten days before his ouster they had met with Zelaya to express their view that the people must be consulted on any kind of constitutional reform through a referendum.
During the meeting, the bishops “asked the president to drop his own personal bid for re-election, a request the Church had already made of him beforehand, and he had given his word that he would leave office in January,” Father Calix explained, “but the movement towards a national assembly cast doubt on the president’s statements.”
Father Calix said neither re-election nor the ouster are the solution for Honduras. “Neither of them are, because the Church believes that a coup is not democratic. The coup does not resolve the political problem that has been festering for more than decade.”
The country’s political parties need to be reformed, he said, but not through authoritarian or unilateral decisions by one person, much less by a coup, but rather greater participation is needed in order to seek the solutions to the country’s internal problems.
“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.”