By Marcela Canavarro, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – In reaction to the news that ousted Honduran President, Manuel Zelaya, has returned to his country and sought asylum at the Brazilian Embassy, Brazilians and Hondurans have posted hundreds of comments on social media websites.
As Brazilians comment on the government’s decision to support Zelaya’s return, Hondurans are using tools such as Twitter to report the country’s political situation and urge the international community to take action.
“The police are trying to enter the embassy, it looks like they might force entry. The Honduran people are ashamed,” posted “Hondurasenlucha” from the capital Tegucigalpa, in the early hours of Tuesday morning, the day after Zelaya entered the Brazilian Embassy.
A few hours later, Brazilian media reported that Zelaya supporters had been dispersed from the embassy’s surroundings and that water and electricity supplies had been cut from the building. A video posted on YouTube shows the area was crowded the day before.
Another activist posted in favor of the the facto government and urged Twitter users to press Brazilian diplomacy, publicizing the embassy’s phone number.
“Let’s call the Brazilian Embassy and tell them to hand Zelaya over to the authorities,” suggested “Activacorp, from Honduras.
After being informed by Itamaraty (Brazilian Ministry of International Relations) that Zelaya was at the embassy on Monday afternoon, Brazil’s Foreign Minister Celso Amorim interrupted his schedule in New York to attend the General Assembly meeting. He also contacted the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), and instructed the Brazilian ambassador in Washington to get in touch with US authorities to make formal contact with the facto government in Honduras.
“We don’t have any formal contacts with the facto government but it would be important to communicate that we hope that everything will happen peacefully. Any threat to the security of President Zelaya or that of his family or our embassy will be in breach of international law,” said Amorim at a press conference at the United Nations, in New York.
Amorim and Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva affirmed that Brazil had not interfered in Zelaya’s return to Honduras and that they were as surprised as the the facto president, Roberto Micheletti, whose first reaction was to deny that Zelaya was within Honduran borders.
Outraged Brazilians took to the internet. The following comments express the range of opinions:
“Why is Brazil getting involved with Zelaya? Let him and Honduras solve their own problems,” complained Carlos Manfrim on Twitter.
“Honduras! Cut relations with Brazil! Send the embassy’s officers back home. Arrest Zelaya! Brazil can’t be serious!” posted Liz Chaves, a Brazilian citizen.
“Was Brazil being Chavist when it gave refuge to Zelaya? I’m definitely not sure about that,” posted by a Brazilian blogger called “feernando”.
“Brazil reacted pretty well, defending democracy. No more authoritarian regimes!” commented Wagner Alves.
According to the national newspaper Folha de São Paulo, Zelaya’s decision to seek support at the Brazilian Embassy was celebrated in Brasília as a sign of leadership in the American continent.
“The choice of our embassy was celebrated as a demonstration of our leadership and the neutral power we exert in the continent,” affirmed government officials according to the publication.