The president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, the country’s parliament, business leaders, and human rights activists are defending Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga from the insults by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who called the cardinal a “parrot” and an “imperialist clown.”
Recently the cardinal called on Chavez to be open to dialogue and to remember that “he is not a god with the right to arrogantly trample on everyone else.”
President Zelaya of Honduras told reporters, “As head of State I am going to call President Hugo Chavez on the phone to tell him about Oscar Andres Rodriguez, explain who he is and what he means to our country and our people,” he said.
The Honduran Congress approved a motion calling on Zelaya to use appropriate means to ask Chavez to retract his statements. The president of the Congress, Representative Roberto Micheletti Bain, called the cardinal a “symbol for all Hondurans, and we are not going to allow anyone from the left or the right to attack Cardinal Rodriguez.” “We Hondurans, who believe firmly in God, should take strong positions because our Christian sentiments oblige us to do so,” Bain added.
Representative Juan Orlando Hernandez also criticized the statements of Chavez, calling them “an offense against the entire Catholic people and obviously against a symbolic figure for all Hondurans.”