Responses to the Coup d'etat in Honduras on Sunday June 28, with special emphasis on producing English-language versions of commentaries by Honduran scholars and editorial writers and addressing the confusion encouraged by lack of basic knowledge about Honduras.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Padre Andres Tamayo under attack

This may be one of the most newsworthy actions I have seen yet, because it encapsulates so much that is wrong with the de facto regime. Many correspondents are reporting, and the pro-coup El Heraldo confirms, that Padre Andres Tamayo has been notified that his naturalized Honduran citizenship has been revoked.

For anyone unaware, Padre Tamayo, parish priest for the community of Salamá in Olancho, is an internationally recognized leader of the fight for environmental and social justice in Honduras, awarded the Goldman Prize in 2005.

Padre Tamayo has been an active leader of resistance to the de facto regime. He organized a bus caravan that tried to reach Tegucigalpa from Olancho on June 29 in order to protest the coup, and was fired on by soldiers in the town of Los Limones to prevent them continuing. He led a contingent in the march on Tegucigalpa in early August.

He has also been quoted as calling for an electoral boycott, peaceful resistance to the ugly attempt to force the Honduran people to vote in the unfree election that they are destined to experience in November if matters do not change.

And for this, he was threatened with loss of citizenship. Because Padre Tamayo was born in El Salvador.

Now, Honduras has relatively open naturalization laws, especially for people from other Central American countries. And by now, Padre Tamayo has spent 22 years of his life in Honduras.

But this regime wields the Constitution like a lethal weapon.

Last month, we reported on the threat to Padre Tamayo's citizenship, including the possible constitutional and legal grounds that the de facto regime might use to prosecute him, which are thin.

And now, the threat has been realized. The reports we have received indicate that lawyers for the resistance intend to fight this action legally. It is unclear what process, if any, was actually followed to revoke his citizenship.

The information provided also says that Padre Tamayo has been removed from his parish. That is not something the State can do; it is an action coordinated by the Church hierarchy in Honduras. The unsavory relationship of the Honduran Cardinal with the coup, a relationship he tries hard to deny, is thus made more blatantly obvious.


John (Juancito) Donaghy said...

I think Padre Tamayo's parish in Olancho is in the diocese of Juticalpa. If he was removed it would have been done by the local bishop. The cardinal has no official jurisdiction over priests in another diocese and cannot more them (though he can influence the bishop to move someone.)
Some reports say that Padre Tamayo is a Franciscan. I don't think that is the case. If it were, his Franciscan superiors could move him; but reading the statement of the Honduran Franciscans I doubt they would have done that (unless there was intense pressure.)
The Honduran Franciscans' statement is at

Anonymous said...

Brother John tells me, and I'm pretty sure (*) he's right, that the Cardinal could not directly remove Father Tamayo, that his bishop would have done that. But of course bishops don't normally directly oppose the wishes of their ecclesiastical superiors.

(*) There are apparently means to override the normal institutional chain of command. Supposedly the US church has adopted the standard that if a priest becomes "notorious" he can be removed at will. I don't know about Honduras but would be surprised if it's really different.

--Charles of MercuryRising

RAJ said...

Thanks to both of you for these comments.

The Honduran blogs I consulted for details all say that Padre Tamayo was relieved of the parish of Salamá, where he has served for 12 years. English language sources associated with his receipt of the Goldman Prize also describe him as the parish priest of Salamá, which is described as in the Juticalpa area.

The report on these events in Vos el Soberano specifies that he was removed by the bishop of his diocese, Mauro Muldoon.

As a Roman Catholic by birth and 13 years of schooling, I did realize that bishops are responsible for such changes. I am sorry the wording made it seem I meant the Cardinal directly did this. But I find it difficult to imagine that the Cardinal's support for the coup is unrelated to this change.

RNS said...

Cholusat Sur (TV Channel 36 in Tegucigalpa) is reporting that the de facto government has the military out looking for Padre Tamayo in order to arrest him and take him to a border and deport him. Micheletti is reported to have said that this order is "legal".

Carina said...

Neither the Coup Government nor the Archbishop could move Tamayo. I am not sure why political motives are inferred. Were the goal to change the place then they would have replaced him with someone who thinks very different things, not Fr. Euceda. Two of the last 3 Honduran Presidents have threatened to deport Tamayo, so this is not even a new event. Additionally, it is interesting that no story covers Tamayo's alleged nationalization. Why would a priest change nationalities when it is unnecessary to his work and a rare occurrence anyway? Tamayo never went through the normal process every other person needs to go through. His "citizenship" was a gift from Zelaya, not one via normal legal channels. There must be a reason that part of the story is left out. The other part left out that it is not illegal to make Tamayo leave Honduras.

RAJ said...

Naturalization of Central Americans living for a long time in Honduras is a normal possibility, and the fact that Padre Tamayo, after dedicating decades of his life to Honduras-- as recognized internationally including by the prestigious Goldman Prize-- was nationalized is quite understandable.

The reason political motives are "inferred" is because threats were made repeatedly and publicly against Padre Tamayo by the de facto regime, as published in pro-coup newspapers for his political actions and speech.

Carina said...

If the truth is what you seek then you need to update your Tamayo article per Church hierarchy and changes in Honduras. The Bishop who removed Tamayo (Luis Santos) is on or referenced on the radio and tv all the time here. He isn't just Tamayo's "church superior"; they are of the same mind, religiously and politically, as is Tamayo's replacement at his old parish. The Bishop moved Tamayo for the opposite reasons you imply; Tamayo was moved from duties he was not or could not perform to an position allowing him to minister to the Resistence. One of your other replies here is by a man who was there for the last ceremony and even has photos and stories on the www regarding it an Tamayo (see "The bishop and the resistance
The true church is in the streets"). Anyone outside Honduras interested in the politics of the said bishop and many others need only www search this: "Monseñor Luis Alfonso Santos" golpe. If more information is desired then change golpe to mines or corruption (English or Spanish).

RAJ said...

Carina, I am reluctant to engage with your comments for three reasons.

First, your "facts" are often entirely incorrect. As in this instance. The Bishop of Olancho, Mauro Muldoon, is the person who removed Padre Tamayo from his parish. Padre Tamayo has been interviewed and quoted as saying Obispo Muldoon gave him an ultimatum to vacate his parish of Salamá by August 31 in reaction to his work with the resistance:

El obispo de la Diócesis de Olancho, Tomás Andrés Mauro Muldoon, me dio un ultimátum para que abandonara la parroquia de Salamá a más tardar el 31 de agosto. Está claro que tampoco la iglesia está aprobando mi participación en la resistencia al golpe de Estado.

An interview with Bishop Luis Santos of the Diocese of Copan-- which is far distant from the Olancho diocese where Tamayo worked for more than two decades-- is justly famous for his principled rejection of the coup and the violent repression of Honduran dissidents. There have been rumors linking him to Padre Tamayo, most, as in the case of your comment, intended to imply that Padre Tamayo is lying.

But the truth is clear in reports like those of El Tiempo, on September 17, in which Obispo Santos says clearly he has not been asked by Padre Tamayo nor offered him a parish.

Second, you continue to insist that I am obligated to present your claims or else I am falling short of some measure of "truth" you think you can impose. But what that seems to entail is the kind of Fox News "fair and balanced" approach in which in addition to representing the silenced voices of Honduran academics and scholars, I would be required to report the thin and often entirely illogical arguments offered by pro-coup sources-- including those who deny that they are pro-coup advocates.

Finally, we come to the fact that the comments you offer are all apologies for the coup, even if you have worked out a way to submerge that. So, for example, you argue-- against the facts-- that Padre Tamayo was under the authority of Obispo Santos. And so, you suggest a web search intended, I am sure, to direct readers to some specific site-- likely a blog-- that retails some kind of attack on Bishop Santos. Have fun with that. Meanwhile, please know that I see no point in posting any comments from you and I will decline to do so in the future.

Unknown said...

You sound like someone who thinks clearly and can write very well. I wonder where did you go to school? are you from Honduras or have you live there? Looks like you are someone who like to check your facts and seems to me that you might be a reporter or want to be one. Your blog in regards to "Padre Andres Tamayo" was eloquent and well written. Sounds like your sources were well checked. I wonder how can you be so clueless as to what is happening in Honduras. You are one of those people who love to write pretty article to depict a horrific thing that is happening. In this case a man of god who is being persecuted by a horrible government.
At the core of your blog is the unfairness way on how his citizenship was revoked by the new Honduran government. I just wonder why did he leave El Salvador? Because he found the need to preach specifically in Olancho or was he trying to escape something else? Now he has being removed by the church and thrown out from a different government? He clearly gives the impression that he is someone who looks for trouble and has an unstable track history. Yet his actions seem to indicate that he is more of a revolutionary than a priest. I also wonder why is he so intent in advocating for violence when he should be a man of peace. If he needed a cause to fight for why Honduras? I’m sure there are similar issues in El Salvador where he could have done something. Also, do you think that a naturalized citizen in the United States who might be associated with Terrorism won’t have his citizenship revoked?
Bottom line you are obviously very impartial and seem to favor the return of Mr. Zelaya. I guess you are entitle to your opinion but if you are not Honduran or are directly affected by this crises, just stay out of it. Also I'm always very suspicious of any religious figure who is more interested in instigating people rather than work to bring peace. Seems to me that if he was granted his citizen ship from Mr. Zelaya there is some kind of personal loyalty and Padre Tamayo forgot he was a priest and decided to become something else.

RAJ said...

Two reasons for posting this, even though this blog post on Padre Tamayo is now so old that I must say, what the continuing flood of nasty comments (most of which I do not publish) mainly tells me is that Padre Tamayo really irritates coup apologists:

(1) Oh my. The idiocy-- sorry, pure idiocy-- of the "argument": Roman Catholic priests are sent to work in other countries all the time. Roman Catholic priests follow the directions of their superiors. So no mystery about what brought Padre Tamayo to Honduras. Where he has served in ways internationally recognized as for the good of the people.

(2) But the best thing about this comment, and what wins it some sort of prize for total illogic, is the sheer xenophobia and parochialism it embodies. Padre Tamayo is a Honduran citizen. He has worked in Honduras for more than two decades. But this commentator thinks he isn't a "real" Honduran.

And this lovely, complementary person, who likes how I write (oh I will treasure the insults wrapped in velvet) finally exposes what all those people saying "Are you in Honduras?" mean. The rest of the world has no right to an opinion about events that destabilize our entire global community. Someone like me, who specializes in the study of Honduras and has worked in the country as a scholar and teacher for more than 30 years, has no right to an opinion-- unless, I suppose, it agreed with this person's.

And all the Hondurans taking to the streets to reclaim their freedom, at the cost of tear gas attacks and worse; who write to me giving me information; and who call the radio stations that are another of our major sources; and who, as public intellectuals, continue to write and publish their opinions; they also have no right to speak.

Please. do you think that a naturalized citizen in the United States who might be associated with Terrorism won’t have his citizenship revoked?

Well, actually not. We do not summarily strip citizens-- naturalized or otherwise, no discrimination on that account-- of their rights. Our laws, now resurgent after the vile distortions of the Bush-Cheney administration, call for charges, the presumption of innocence, the right to a trial and a defense, and we have a history of finding people innocent of trumped-up charges of "terrorism".

Of which, by the way, no one has accused Padre Tamayo. The basis for the threat to deprive him of his citizenship was his speaking out urging people not to participate in elections held under the present repression. One thing we do recognize the stench of after eight years of abuse of our system: people who cry "terrorism" are not patriots: they are fascists.

Pretty enough for you?