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11.30.2009

Honduras vote coming in...

and it looks like the conservatives have won. The crisis, however, is likely not over, with most South American nations continuing to assert that the election results are not to be recognized.

From the beginning, the Honduras affair has defied conventional political analysis. The term "coup" continues to be used as an epithet, but the course of events hardly fit our conventional imagery of what a coup d'etat entails. Typically a coup involves a military seizing power without any legal justification, installing one of their own as leader, and reluctantly handing power back to civilians after international pressure. The Honduran military stepped in to enforce a decision of the Supreme Court, installed an interim leader from the same party as the deposed Zelaya, and has stood on the sidelines while the interim government organized an election that was then won by the opposition political party. To be sure, the election would have been more convincing had the international community thrown its full support behind it and encouraged all factions to participate. But one has the lingering image that the reaction of the OAS states, rooted above all in their own domestic memories, has exacerbated a bad situation rather than help resolve it.

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