.- The Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, said he did not support the ouster of Manuel Zelaya nor did he recognize the legitimacy of President Roberto Micheletti. However, the cardinal called on the deposed leader to be "prudent and patriotic" and for now, refrain from returning to Honduras.
"It is not true that we have recognized the legitimacy of Micheletti. We have explained what happened and what needs to be looked at here is the process and how Zelaya was violating the Constitution," the cardinal told the Argentinean daily Clarin. He added that he does not support military coups and that the Church did not support the ouster Zelaya.
Cardinal Maradiaga also questioned the use of public funds by the former administration, as well as the convening of a non-binding referendum to reform the Constitution, which was one of the causes of the crisis.
"Why so much money for a poll? The security cameras of the Central Bank show that $2 million was withdrawn in cash. Since when do governments do business in cash? This initiative was plagued by rampant corruption. There was no money for the victims of the earthquake, but there was to buy votes," the cardinal said.
Cardinal Maradiaga said that although Zelaya assured him was not a pawn for Chavez, his administration "was maintained by money from Hugo Chavez and thatâs that." He went on to call the actions by the Organization for American States (OAS) in the crisis "a sad chapter." "I have known its secretary general, Jose Miguel Insulza, for a long time and he always acted as a gentleman during his visits to Tegucigalpa. I gave him all of the documentation about this case he never bothered to read it," he said.
"Look at the irony here: a few months ago presidents Chavez, Evo Morales (Bolivia), Rafael Correa (Ecuador) and Raul Castro (Cuba) said the OAS serves no purpose. This is the double standard of the OAS," the cardinal said.
He also stated that the dialogue between the representatives of Zelaya and Micheletti would resume this week, after the first round of talks ended without progress.