Monday, July 06, 2009

The Cardinal and the Coup

The media outlets that are bothering to cover the coup in Honduras in any detail were, in most cases, quick to imply that Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez's public request that ousted President Manuel Zelaya stay out of the country for the time being was another illustration of the old Latin American model: the Catholic Church siding with the wealthy elite to keep the poor in their place. This cliche is probably most famously developed in Eduardo Galeano's Open Veins of Latin America, which has regained some notoriety of late with Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez's gift of the book to President Barack Obama.

The truth about the Church's role in Honduras is more complicated than the secular Left's talking points make it out to be, though. If you actually listen to what the Cardinal says, which you may do below thanks to the wonders of YouTube, you will see that his primary concern is to avoid the seemingly inevitable violence that would break out if Zelaya returned to that highly charged environment. In addition, he advocates for his country's people when asking that the international community resist any calls for "blockades, which will only hurt the poor."

Leading up to the coup, it is clear that the Church was strongly opposed to Zelaya's attempts to lengthen his term as president and change the country's constitution. However, "a priest working closely with Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras" has reported that the Honduran Church had hoped to deter Zelaya's play for a dictatorship without resorting to measures like a military coup. He says:
[T]he coup is not the solution within a life in democracy. The coup does not resolve the political problem that has emerged over the last decade in the exhaustion of the system of political parties in Honduras; there has been a traditional bi-party system since the last century, since 1920 or so…These parties need to reform themselves, but these reforms should not should not via a caudillo, authoritarianism, nor a coup d’etat…
Lost in ALL of the reporting, so far as I can tell, is the influence Cardinal Rodriquez carries in the region. He is only the second cardinal from Central America and was widely considered "the top candidate to become Latin America's first pope" at the time of Pope John Paul II's death, and -being 20 years younger than Pope Benedict XVI- still could be. In fact, at least one betting website apparently lists him as the odds-on favorite to succeed Benedict. So this is a story that could be a lot bigger than just Honduras, or even Central America.

Check out the video, aired all across Honduras, and decide what you think about the Cardinal's intentions:

1 comment:

juan pueblo said...

i don´t know if the cardinal agreed or knew but... half hour after the military started to shoot and kill innocent people on sunday 5th july, the COUP GOVERNMENT of micheletti, started the NATIONAL CHAIN of TELEVISION AND radio SHOWING the very same video you have in your site!!! calling for PEACE !!! please, i do not know who is the sheep and the wolf here????? in spanish blog people are revealing that CARDINAL RODRIGUEZ is the son of a GENERAL of the dictator TIBURCIO CARIAS ANDINO in the 40´s or 50´s. I REALLY HOPE he is not as they say "LIKE FATHER LIKE SON" but know, i have a different opinion of him... DEMOCRACY is not won with bullets but with dialogues