Bishop says wealthy elite behind Honduran coup

Catholic News Service reports that a Catholic bishop in western Honduras said members of the country's wealthy elite were behind the ouster of President Manuel Zelaya.

Bishop Luis Santos Villeda of Santa Rosa de Copan also said the country needs a dialogue between the elite and Honduras' poor and working-class citizens. "Some say Manuel Zelaya threatened democracy by proposing a constitutional assembly. But the poor of Honduras know that Zelaya raised the minimum salary. That's what they understand. They know he defended the poor by sharing money with mayors and small towns. That's why they are out in the streets closing highways and protesting (to demand Zelaya's return)," the bishop told Catholic News Service.

In a July 30 telephone interview, he said it is misleading to consider Honduras a democracy, either before or after the June 28 coup. "There has never been a real democracy in Honduras. All we have is an electoral system where the people get to choose candidates imposed from above. The people don't really have representation, whether in the Congress or the Supreme Court, which are all chosen by the rich. We're the most corrupt country in Central America, and we can't talk about real democracy because the people don't participate in the decisions," he said.


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