Former president Manuel Zelaya returned to Honduras on Saturday, May 28, 2011, amid celebratory cries from his supporters and skepticism from his opponents. Zelaya was removed from office almost 2 years ago through a coup d'etat.
After refusing to reinstate Zelaya in 2009, Honduras was suspended from the Organization of American States. Now, Zelaya's peaceful return paves the way for the country's re-entry into the organization, as settled in ‘The Cartagena Accord,‘ an agreement signed by Zelaya and his successor, Porfirio Lobo.
The Latin Americanist blog explains:
The pact, which was facilitated by the Colombian and Venezuelan governments, also permits for the country's planned return to the Organization of American States (OAS). According to the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza claimed that Honduras “has already met the necessary conditions for its reentry into the organization”. Reinstatement could come as soon as next month.
Several bloggers wrote anticipating the ousted president's return. Belén Fernández in PULSE blogged about the rhetoric used by Zelaya's opponents:
Despite the accord, golpista rhetoric continues in the same broken-record fashion as always, and the first person I spoke with upon setting foot in the capital city informed me—as though it were urgent news and not something I had been repeatedly informed of for four months in 2009—that Zelaya had sought to remain president for life.
La Gringa’s Blogcito described the expectant atmosphere that was felt before Zelaya’s return:
Tomorrow, May 28th is the big day. The second coming of the messiah, or at least that is how the return of the former president Mel Zelaya is being treated in some quarters. I don't know how Zelaya could possibly live up to the expectations. For that, I am sorry. Not sorry for Mel, but sorry for the people who think that his coming will somehow change their lives or prospects.
On May 28, ‘La Gringa’ periodically updated a post on the day’s events.
3:00 p.m. This crowd has been waiting for four hours to see their leader! Some have been waiting since 6 p.m. yesterday. I guess Insulza [Secretary General of the Organization of American States] and the other dignitaries waiting to welcome him have been waiting a few hours for their lunch, too. Total lack of respect for everyone, most of all the pueblo that he claims to represent. It's all about Mel. Always has been.
In Nacer en Honduras [es], a blogger under the pseudonym Árdegas criticised Zelaya’s government, but added,
En mi opinión, es positivo que Mel venga a Honduras. No hay por qué temer. Con su venida se le bajará el perfil internacional al drama del “golpe de Estado”. Se cierra un círculo y se derrumba el mito de que Mel es un perseguido político.
El ex-presidente Zelaya causará cierta agitación con su venida, al principio, pero luego dejará de ser una novedad, aunque siempre mantendrá cierto liderazgo entre sus seguidores incondicionales.
But some Hondurans were not as optimistic. While waiting for Zelaya’s arrival, the blogger behind MelWars [es] argued that the former president's return will cause division among the people:
A partir de Hoy, Honduras tendrá dos presidentes, dos tipos de pueblo, y el fraccionamiento será absoluto, una brecha demasiado grande como para sanarla, está divisón será permanente, de eso ya no cabe duda.
In a follow-up post [es], the same blogger echoed his previous concern:
Recibido como un héroe, entre gritos de ¡Viva Mel! ¡Presidente Zelaya! dando a conocer que él, sigue siendo su presidente, ahora es tiempo de reflexionar ¿Quién es el verdadero presidente de la nación?
From a different perspective, Guillermo Paz (@Guille_Paz) said that Zelaya is not responsible for causing division:
Acusan a Mel Zelaya de crear división en el país pero La división reside en la Intolerancia de la gente al no respetar opiniones de otros
While thousands of Zelaya's supporters welcomed him at the airport, others, like Nelly Suria (@nellysuria) and Marvin Josue (@M_JosuePaz), celebrated his return on Twitter. Oscar Guzmán (@Oscarletto) told Marvin Josue:
Que triste! -.- Gente esperando a Manuel Zelaya, como si fuera un heroe el bigotudo ese!
Under the Cartagena Accord, Zelaya is allowed to participate in Honduran politics, but whether his return will bring a positive or negative change to Honduras –or any change at all, for that matter– is uncertain and something to watch for in the coming months.