Photographers' Blog

Little house, big hell

November 6, 2009, Tegucigalpa
Forty-odd days ago there were forty-odd days still to go, days of uncertainty…

Today we survive inside the Brazilian Embassy while the dialogue to reinstate deposed President Manuel Zelaya is dying. The afternoon ends and the footsteps of Lineu Pupo de Paula – Brazil’s representative to the Organization of American States (OAS) – jogging on the roof echo as the anxious heartbeats of Hondurans awaiting a solution.

Brazil’s representative to the Organization of American States (OAS) Lineu Pupo de Paula runs on the terrace inside Brazil’s embassy in Tegucigalpa October 11, 2009. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

Zelaya appears outside his room and approaches us. “[De facto President] Micheletti says he will resign at 5 o’clock this afternoon if we choose a third person as president,” Zelaya tells us with a smile. ”I proposed Father Tamayo (the priest who accompanies him inside the Embassy) but Micheletti didn’t accept.” One more anecdote that I quickly write down along with so many others in my notepad.

Honduras’ ousted President Manuel Zelaya (L) attends a mass with priest Andres Tamayo inside the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa October 25, 2009. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

In exile with the President

Urgent news flash! Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has returned to the country after 82 days in exile. I kiss my wife and son. “Bye, see you soon.” I rush out without a shower and without socks. The first information places Zelaya in the U.N. building in Tegucigalpa. It must be true.

Fifteen minutes later 50 supporters are cheering victory for Zelaya outside the building. His closest allies appear making gestures of triumph. Zelaya has returned, but it soon becomes obvious that he isn’t exactly there. The lie is a strategy to confuse the de facto state security that had blocked his previous attempts to return. Suddenly one demonstrator screams, “To the Brazilian embassy!” And I follow.

Supporters of ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya gather after learning of his return, outside the embassy of Brazil in Tegucigalpa September 21, 2009. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido