So, Honduras held an election and the US will recognize it. This might seem to be a good conclusion, but think about what this means in terms of the structure of power in Honduras–suppose the elected president does something that the military doesn’t like, what will they do? This episode tells them that if they overthrow him and eventually hold elections then everything will be fine. This is a terrible precedent.
It also sends a bad signal to the rest of Latin America and they see this:
With the exception of Panama and Costa Rica, no other countries in the region have publicly said they will join the United States in recognizing the vote.
“They really thought he was different,” said Julia Sweig of the Council on Foreign Relations, referring to Latin America’s view of Mr. Obama, adding, “But those hopes were dashed over the course of the summer.”
This is why those countries feel the US did not follow through:
The administration suspended some $30 million in assistance to Honduras, but continued the bulk of its aid — worth hundreds of millions of dollars — saying it did not want to punish the majority of Hondurans living in poverty.
The United States was slow to criticize human rights abuses by the de facto government, but swift to scold Mr. Zelaya for political stunts that culminated with his sneaking back into Honduras, where he remains camped inside the Brazilian Embassy.
As an aside, this article includes this stupid statement:
Mr. Zelaya, once a darling of the Honduran upper classes, fell from favor when he began increasing the minimum wage, reducing the price of fuel and allying himself with President Chávez. His critics say he crossed a line when he defied the Supreme Court and pushed a referendum to change the Constitution so that he could run for another term.
Since he did not actually push a referendum to change the constitution so that he could run for another term, you would think the article might mention this.
Also, look at the willful blindness that Assistant Secretary Valenzuela exhibits:
QUESTION: So is it not a legitimate concern that by recognizing the election, you could be encouraging further coups?
MR. VALENZUELA: No, because I think that we have to make absolutely clear that any country that encourages a military coup, or if a military coup takes place, they run the risk of actually being suspended from the Organization of American States, of not being recognized by the Organization of American States.
and then if they wait a couple months everything will be ok according to the US–ok he didn’t explicitly say this but it’s what he implies. He sounds ok here:
And by that, I mean that – what are the additional steps that need to be taken? A government of national unity needs to be formed. The congress has to take a vote on the return of President Zelaya to office. And another element of the San Jose Accords that I think would be very, very important as Honduras moves forward to try to reestablish the democratic and constitutional order is the formation and the structuring of a truth commission, which was also contemplated in the original Tegucigalpa framework and San Jose Accords. And the truth commission would be a body that would look into the incidents and the situation that led to the coup, but at the same time, as the accord says, I think – I was thinking about it in the Spanish version of the accord – it also will provide the elementos, as it says in the accord – the elements to help the Hondurans make the necessary reforms to their constitutional process and to bring about a fuller reconciliation of the Honduran people.
but if you go down further you see that he will not commit to not recognizing the government if they don’t follow through (wow is that a triple negative?). Also, note that he doesn’t seem to think it’s important that Zelaya doesn’t think the process so far has been legitimate.