By Carlos Graffigna, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – Gathering one of the largest voting crowds in the history of the country, Honduras put an end to an election process which caught world attention. From the moment ex-president Manuel Zelaya crossed his country’s border from neighboring El Salvador, walking into the Brazilian Embassy, Brazil was caught in the middle of Honduras’s internal conflict straining relationship between the two countries.
The declared winner of the election is Porfirio Lobo Sosa from Partido Nacional, and except one incident of injured reported by the media, the process seemed to have developed in relative peace.
Ousted President Manuel Zelaya stated that elected authorities are not legitimate because the process was generated by an authoritarian and illegal regime. Elsewhere, Assistant Secretary of State Philip Crowley expressed optimism that this peaceful election allows both the United States and Honduras to stand behind the process and its results.
Brazil, even after waters calm in Honduras and the country finds political stability, will face political challenges. In a speech at the United Nations General Assembly on September 23, President Lula requested to have Manuel Zelaya reinstated as President of Honduras and added Brazil would not recognize the result of any elections as legitimate.
Costa Rican President and Nobel Peace Prize Oscar Arias stated “there are many countries from the international community that accept the elections in Iran, which were questioned, elections we know were not clean, that everybody knows were not transparent”.
Lula’s presidential adviser Marco Aurélio Garcia was quoted by the daily O Estado de Sao Paulo on June 14 as responding “”This comparison, apart from indelicate, is unfounded. The elections in Iran were summoned by the Iranian government, over which there wasn’t any contention. The elections in Honduras were summoned by a government responsible for a coup. If he wishes to make a comparison president Arias should look for a more consistent example.”
Adding to the conflict, Honduras’s interim government lead by Roberto Micheleti, had threatened to open proceedings against Brazil before the International Court of Justice in La Hague, claiming it has allowed Zelaya to issue political statements from inside the Brazilian Embassy, which is consider a violation of internal sovereignty.
Brazil’s diplomacy will be continue to be tested in the next few months, there are interests at stake which go beyond the Honduran conflict, considering Brazil’s desire to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
Most recently in late November, Lula employed that failure to oppose the situation could encourage others to stage coups in Latin America. “If the countries that can … make gestures do not do so, we do not know where else there could be a coup.”
Mr. Zelaya still inside Brazil’s Embassy, and declared in a phone interview with Reuters that he would remain at the Embassy until the Brazilian government would allow it.