TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, JUNE 30, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Two Latin American bishops are calling for a return to constitutional order in Honduras after a military coup Sunday ousted President Manuel Zelaya.
The democratically elected president was exiled to Costa Rica under order of the country’s Supreme Court. Roberto Micheletti, who was immediately sworn in as president to replace Zelaya, was supported by the congress.
Those currently in power state that the coup was lawful because Zelaya was pushing for a referendum calling for a new constitution that would allegedly eliminate obstacles to his re-election.
The arrest took place about an hour before the referendum was scheduled to take place.
Protestors at the presidential palace skirmished with the police, and several people were injured.
Bishop Jesús Juárez of El Alto, secretary general of the Bolivian bishops’ conference, appealed Monday for a quick return to the order legally established in the Honduras.
He stated that “every interruption of a democratic process is lamentable.”
The prelate explained that even with its flaws, democracy is believed to be the best system for human coexistence.
Bishop Juárez affirmed that democracy is the best way to maintain peace and tranquility in Latin America, and for this reason, it deserves support from all the peoples of the region.
“The Church,” he stated, “or at least I, personally as Jesús Juárez, bishop of El Alto, want a return to democratic life as soon as possible for the beloved people of Honduras.”
Also on Monday, Auxiliary Bishop Gregorio Rosa Chávez of San Salvador appealed to the faithful to pray for a return to peace in Honduras.
In a press conference, the prelate spoke of the need to pray that everything will return to normal in El Salvador’s neighboring country.
This is a “traumatic moment” for the region, he said, and the Church always “desires that there would be peace in countries, that there would be stability and that there would be hope for the poor.”
The bishop affirmed that he would be following the events with attention from his post in El Salvador, and that he hopes everything will normalize soon.
The Honduran bishops’ conference, upon concluding its second annual assembly June 19, had expressed its concern for the serious political situation that was developing in their country, and issued a call for peace.
Today, the U.N. general assembly denounced the Honduran coup and demanded a return to power for President Zelaya. Meanwhile, Micheletti has stated that arrest warrants have been issued for the president if he returns to the country.
U.S. President Barack Obama released a statement expressing his “deep concern” about the “detention and expulsion” of President Zelaya.
He continued: “As the Organization of American States did on Friday, I call on all political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the Inter-American Democratic Charter.
“Any existing tensions and disputes must be resolved peacefully through dialogue free from any outside interference.”