By allowing ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya to hole up in its embassy, Brazil has thrust itself into the middle of Latin America's most volatile political crisis.
Mexico City and São Paulo, Brazil
On the eve of this week's gathering of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Brazil has thrust itself into the middle of Latin America's most delicate and volatile political crisis.
By allowing ousted Honduran leader Manuel Zelaya to hole up in Brazil's embassy in Honduras on Monday, just hours after he sneaked back into the country from three months in exile, Brazil has seized a chance to consolidate its position as Latin America's undisputed leader.
"If Brasilia can somehow find the key to peaceful, prompt resolution, they will win major plaudits, and many will begin to see Brazil as the new arbiter of hemispheric issues," says Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas, a consultancy based in New York.
Brazil, along with the rest of the region and the world, has not backed down from slamming the interim government of Roberto Micheletti, who took over the presidency after Mr. Zelaya was arrested and flown out of the country on June 28 over a constitutional conflict. No government has recognized the Micheletti administration, and countries have withdrawn aid to break Micheletti's resolve. But Micheletti has remained defiant.
When a Zelaya colleague phoned the Brazilian mission less than two hours before Zelaya walked through its doors – essentially putting himself under house arrest since he has been threatened with arrest should he set foot on Honduran territory – Brazilian officials apparently did not hesitate.