Jesuit stand on Honduras events

Communiqué of the Provincial Commission of Social Apostolate, (CPAS) of the Society of Jesus Central American Province in face of the events in Honduras.

We have followed closely and with deep concern the events that since Thursday, 25 June, have led to a coup d´état. It was on that date when members of the armed forces started to walk the streets of Tegucigalpa. On Sunday 28 June, the coup was carried out. The president of the Republic was awakened at dawn by the military and at gun point, was forced to board a plane that took him to Costa Rica, where he appeared before the media with no socks and in his pyjamas.

Since then, Radio Progreso, whose director is our colleague and CPAS member, the Jesuit Ismael Moreno Coto, has suffered the interruption of his programmes threatened by a military patrol. This was so, even though popular gathering at the doors of the radio was ready to defend "the people's voice". Radio Progreso has begun again its programmes, cautiously and under threat with repeated interferences. This has also happened with other radios and key televisions. It is evident that politicians, who in order to enforce their government, have the need to stop plural information, clearly show the doubt that their actions are legitimate.

Radio Progreso has called since Friday June 26, on a "dialogue for negotiation" among the representative institutions in Honduras and members of civil society. A negotiating dialogue as the only reasonable tool to discuss the various proposals and projects for the country. Dialogue and negotiation are democracy's tools. The use of the Armed Forces and the police to suppress those citizens who do not approve a coup d´état are the tools of a fearful power and this is why it has banned the right to demonstrate, to associate, to mobilize, freedom of expression and the physical and mental integrity of the people. These are the tools of a dictatorship.

Radio Progreso has again stated on Friday, July 3, its conviction that "dialogue for a negotiated outcome is the only way to prevent bloodshed". Radio Progreso thinks that the leaders of the Liberal Party have called to help its socially elitist programme and have abused to carry out and support its own civil coup that forces the country through anti constitutional procedures, to an authoritarian and repressive regime that does not guarantee the transparency of the elections next November.

Radio Progreso also thinks that beyond the disputes between two factions of government, "civil society has the right to walk the streets and make its voice heard, not because the government of Miguel Zelaya has been a good one, but because a coup d´état will bring us a much worse political and social illness than what we had with the chaotic administration of "President Zelaya and his group". The Provincial Commission of Social Apostolate, (CPAS) of the Society of Jesus Central American Province, shares the analysis of Radio Progreso, and considers that the path to political freedom can only be guaranteed if the various sources of public opinion can make their own contribution in the search for truth.
The CPAS, therefore, declares its solidarity with Radio Progreso, with the Discussion, Investigation and Communication team, (ERIC), and with the director of both, Fr. Ismael Moreno Coto. S.J., and with all the staff that make their contribution to democracy as citizens in search of truth, with freedom and from the poor people's opinion. These will be the ones who will suffer most in the breaking of the fragile freedoms of democracy in Honduras and in any other Latin American or other country in the world. We want to serve the poor in search of the inseparable peace of justice, the defence of cultural and democratic values that include civil society's participation in public life.

We call upon the love of the country of all those involved in the political dispute in Honduras and call for a dialogue and negotiation to look for ways to return Honduras to a legitimate State, as claimed by all the community of nations and populations.

We request the governments of Mexico and Central America to generously welcome the displaced refugees resulting from this crisis in Honduras.

Francisco Iznardo SJ
Coordinator for the Social Apostolate of the Society of Jesus in the Central American Province.