How deposed president Zelaya got inside the Brazilian Embassy in Honduras

23. 9. 2009 / Fabiano Golgo

A Brazilian diplomat who is part of my family has just told me how the deposed Honduran president Manuel Zelaya and his wife got to the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa. It was close to 11am on Monday when someone called saying he was from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE). He asked for an urgent meeting with the diplomat in charge of economic affairs at the Brazilian mission, Mr Francisco Catunda. He said the meeting should take place immediately, if possible 5 minutes later.

Even before the Embassy's office manager could reach Mr Catunda, a van with the BCIE logo painted on it arrived at the Embassy's gate and was let in. Seconds later, Manuel Zelaya, his wife Xiomara and his kids emerged from the car.

A person who actually works for the BCIE showed his accreditations and went to talk to Catunda, who in turn called the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ask for authorization to allow Zelaya into the Embassy's actual building. Until then, Zelaya had to wait at the front yard. After a few minutes, his wife told the whole family to go back inside the van to wait.

It took about 17 minutes until Celso Amorim, Brazil's Foreign Minister, called from the United States giving his blessing. The first thing Zelaya did was to ask to make phone calls.

He was given the top office of the Embassy: the Ambassador's office.

What is not clear is how another 30 people from Zelaya's staff entered the Embassy. There were already 5 Brazilians and 8 Hondurans who work for the Embassy there.

Because the electricity and water supply were cut off from the Embassy by the Honduran government, Zelaya, his family, his staff and the Embassy's staff ate only frozen pizzas that were in stock at the premises, supposedly ordered for a diplomatic party that did not happen, because of the coup d'etat. Some food was also passed by wives of the Brazilian employees through a secret passage and by neighbors of the Embassy over the gate. But as from Wednesday morning, there is no food left in the Embassy, nor anyone has been able to cross the blockade from the police around the building.

An Update, Wednesday 23rd September, 20.30 GMT: The Brazilian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Celso Amorim, pressed by journalists about how fast he was reached to make a decision about letting deposed Honduran president Manuel Zelaya into the Embassy in Tegucigalpa, admitted that he had been contacted by a female Member of Parliament before the call from the diplomatic organ, the Itamaraty. He did not specify whether it was a member from the Brazilian or Honduran parliament. Zelaya's wife also contacted a Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs official, minutes before arriving at the Embassy. They used a Venezuelan airplane to land in El Salvador, for which the pilot was fined 30 thousand dollars, then supposedly went through various automobiles through the mountains and 20 police stops.


Obsah vydání | Pátek 26.2. 2010