Pun intended. Remember when President Manuel Zelaya (above, in the hat) was ousted in Honduras? The Supreme Court and the military combined to eject Zelaya when he proposed a controversial referendum designed to extend his power, leading to chaos, violent street protests, and waves of concern across Latin America. While Zelaya himself was no mean shakes -- and later indulged in some weird anti-Semitic comments -- the Obama administration joined with the rest of the international community to condemn the coup and work for a diplomatic solution. Now they've succeeded after dispatching a team of diplomats to the country, and Zelaya will return to office and finish out the remainder of his term, which ends in January.
It's a symbolic gesture, but it's an important one. If the election in Honduras goes smoothly -- doesn't every foreign-policy article these days include the sentence, "If the election in ________ goes smoothly"? -- then Honduras' democratic system will have been reinforced without harsh sanctions, which would mainly affect the people of the state, or military conflict. Affirming democracy in Latin America is a positive step, especially coming from the United States, which does not have a particularly good history in that department. While the White House's domestic opposition will no doubt call this deal a sham or attack the president for helping restore a controversial leader to power, this outcome will likely improve inter-American relations, and that is a win for a relatively green foreign-policy team.
-- Tim Fernholz
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