Foreign Policy Blogs

As ex-president shows gratitude, Lula remains opposed to Honduran regime


In a recent interview Manuel Zelaya, the ex-president of Honduras, singled out Brazil, and specifically Lula, for keeping him alive after being ousted in a military coup. “Brazil saved my life” said Zelaya, who now lives in exile in the Dominican Republic. “Lula, Marco Aurélio and Celso Amorim saved my life because they gave me protection when the army was trying to kill me”, he added, giving credit to Lula’s special foreign policy adviser and Foreign Minister as well as the president himself.

In September 2009, nearly three months after the coup, Zelaya returned to Honduras, where he took refuge in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa. Despite the threat to close the embassy from Roberto Micheletti, who was serving as Honduras’s interim president, Lula continued to offer save haven to Zelaya, and even demanded an apology from Micheletti’s government of “coup-mongers”.

Lula remains steadfast in his refusal to give diplomatic recognition to Honduras, which is now being led by conservative Porfirio Lobo Sosa. Elected to the presidency in November 2009, Lobo has cracked down on dissent in the country, while also passing a law granting immunity to the individuals who carried out the coup.Brazil, along with Venezuela, Argentina and Ecuador, is also working to prevent Honduras’s reintegration into the OAS.

Lula deserves praise for his efforts to isolate Honduras in the wake of the coup. Since the coup many Honduran dissenters, including journalists and political opponents, have been attacked for peacefully speaking out against the government. According to Human Rights Watch, since Lobo took power at least 18 people have been killed for their political views.

Having already saved one Honduran’s life, Lula, along with his political allies on Latin America left, appears intent on saving the whole country.

Photo: Flickr user vredeseilanden