The deposed Honduran president Manuel Zelaya and his wife spent Christmas eve in the Brazilian embassy, in Tegucigalpa, capital of Honduras, after more than three months holed up in the place.
First Lady, Xiomara Castro, in a statement to BBC Brasil, admitted that this Xmas was not “just like other ones.” and described the celebrations as having “some limits, but in a spirit of resistance.”
“We will spend the holidays here this year, in the Brazilian embassy, where they opened the doors for us three months ago. Of course, it is not the same. There is not the same happiness, the same holiday spirit that is so characteristic of Christmas,” she said in an interview on the telephone.
“We would like to have our family here with us, the children, our mothers, grandchildren, and everybody just stay a little while so we could all share some of the food made at home. Unfortunately this does not depend on us.”
Xiomara Castro said that she and her husband hoped that the government of Honduras would authorize the rest of the family to join them.
Zelaya and some 60 supporters took refuge in the Brazilian embassy on September 21, almost three months after he was removed from office. At the moment, the Zelaya group consists of only 13 people.
According to the Brazilian diplomat in charge of the embassy, Francisco Catunda Resende, things are almost normal now: the embassy is clean, the bathrooms all work and hygienic conditions are acceptable. And, in spite of the guests, some emergency consular activities are being carried out on a regular basis.
Catunda was on duty Christmas eve. He says he has not been informed of any special commemorations by Zelaya and his family. He reported that Zelaya has received a lot of phone calls from people wishing him well, showing “solidarity with his resistance position.”
The Brazilian diplomat says that Zelaya remains determined “in his battle to reverse the coup that removed him from the presidency.” But, Catunda added, he no longer demands to be returned to office.
Zelaya is firmly standing by his position not to resign until January 27 when his term of office expires and Porfirio Lobo takes office as the new president of Honduras after being elected in the Nov 29 election.
According to Xiomara Castro, on that day, Jan 27, “corresponding measures” will be taken by Zelaya and his supporters.
Francisco Catunda confirms that efforts are underway to allow Zelaya to travel to the Dominican Republic where further negotiations can take place. But he did not give any more details.
Even so, says Catunda, the Brazilian government has never asked the deposed president to leave the embassy. On the contrary, Brazil’s official policy has always been that he can stay as long as he likes, concluded Catunda.