Saturday, September 26, 2009

Why the Brazilian Embassy, you ask.

Honduras President Manuel Zelaya was ousted in a military assisted coup in June this year. He was put on a plane to Costa Rica, purportedly in his pajamas. On his removal from power Zelaya found instant international support. From Venezuela to the USA—yes, the same Uncle Sam who historically supported the army and the big business in that Banana republic*—spoke in favor of Zelaya. But the ground realities were different. The Honduras army, the Supreme Court, and the opposition were together in a strong dislike for Zelaya. These players knew that time was of the essence—the sooner they could pile a lot of dirt on Zelaya’s ouster, the harder it would be for Zelaya to come back to power: elections were announced to be held in November. Zelaya got apprehensive; he HAD to return back to Honduras, in order to remain relevant. So, after two failed attempts Zelaya did manage to finally sneak in on September 21. He is presently in asylum at the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa. Why the Brazilian embassy? Well, it could not be the Costa Rican embassy, since the Costa Rican President Arias has to play his role in negotiations between Zelaya and the opposition. It could not be the Venezuelan embassy as a refuge there would put Zelaya squarely in the “Socialist” camp and would provide an affirmation of the opposition’s accusation of Zelaya’s leanings. And of course it could not be the US embassy. And it could not be the embassy of a small, toothless country of Central America. Brazil is a big, powerful, non-Spanish speaking country of that region. For Zelaya Brazilian embassy made a good choice. An alternative could be the Spanish embassy. No one knows how many foreign missions Zelaya was in touch with and what his plans B—Z was, had the Brazilian embassy not welcomed him.
[Other logistics were also important. For example, the embassy in which Zelaya would take refuge had to be physically large.]
But no matter how Zelaya ended up at the Brazilian embassy, his return has thrown a monkey wrench in the opposition’s scheme. Now all bets are off and the game is on.

*Traveling in Honduras one sees a poor population living amidst a modern highway system. It does not take too long for the traveler to figure out what is happening. The highway system is not for the poor people of Honduras, it is for the bananas to quickly reach the ports.

[Photo courtesy of the Kuwait Times.]